Early snow could be driving sales of ski gear, merchant says

It’s easy to think the sky is falling when bad economic news, high unemployment numbers and housing-market woes lurk at every turn. It’s somewhat refreshing, then, to learn that the sight of falling snow can change all that.

This month, thanks to early snow in the high country and changes in skiers’ attitude, ski sales are shushing along, said Mark Wingerter, store manager of Summit Canyon Mountaineering.

“I think that everybody’s sick of getting nickel-and-dimed and not having any fun,” he said. “They are prioritizing getting out.”

Just this month, sales of skis have topped more than what the store sells all year, Wingerter said. In addition, sales have been strong with other outdoor must-haves, such as sleeping bags, tents, and surprisingly, rock-climbing gear.

“I think that people are going beyond the recession and thinking of the grand scheme of things,” he said.

An estimated 2,000 skiers were greeted with 400 open acres at Snowmass during Thanksgiving’s opening day. Opening day on Powderhorn is Dec. 17, but that date will be moved up if more snow falls. Cross country skiers, though, have been enjoying the early snowfall for weeks on Grand Mesa.

Tony Taylor, co-owner of Gene Taylor’s Sporting Goods, 445 W. Gunnison Ave., said more people than ever are bringing in their skis and snowboards for repairs. A ski swap last weekend brought in droves of snow enthusiasts. People are still thinking about their pocketbooks, but they want to recreate, he said.

“When we start getting snow, it gets people excited,” Taylor said. “It’s amazing how weather makes people do things in the outdoors.”


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