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Skiing: Sandy dampens early season gear sales

Uncertain snow, looming fiscal cliff make for shaky retail outlook

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Hurricane Sandy had a huge impact on early season ski gear sales. NASA Photo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Coming on the same day that NOAA announced that 2012 will most likely the warmest year ever in the U.S. and a study describing the cost of global warming to the ski industry, another report suggests that the climate disruption from Hurricane Sandy was a factor in an early season sales decline.

SnowSports Industries America announced that sales for the August through October period were down 2 percent compared to last year. For October alone, sales declined 5 percent from 2011.

Sales of snowsports-related gear totaled $616 million, the retail trade group said, acknowledging that Hurricane Sandy caused significant disrutopns in the South and Northeast. Uncertainty in the face of the fiscal cliff, and lack of momentum from the snow-challenged 2011-2012 season presented additional challenges.

In late October, Hurricane Sandy disrupted lives and retail sales with blizzard conditions, severe flooding and wind damage to much of the Eastern Seaboard. In the South and Northeast regions retail was shut down for days. Continue reading

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Skiing: Backcountry gear sales double from last year

Snowsports retail sales on pace for new record

Good snow and a recovering economy are driving snowsports retail sales to new records this season.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Along with skier visits, the industry’s retail sector also appears to be making a nice recovery from the recession, with total sales in January exceeding $500 million for a new monthly record, according to a press release from Snowsports Industries America.

That followed sales of more than $1 billion in December for a season-to-date total of $2.6 billion, 16 percent more than last season. The West led the way, with sales were up 31 percent in equipment dollars sold, 17 percent in apparel and 19 percent in accessories sales.

One of the biggest growth sectors was in the realm of backcountry gear, and more specifically, alpine-touring set-ups, where sales for the year-to-date grew an astounding 102 percent from the previous season. Sales of crosscountry and telemark gear also climbed.

There was also less discounting this year, helping retailers boost revenue.  Alpine equipment sales are up 25 percent in dollars and 14 percent in units sold season-to-date. And the fat-ski boom continues, with sales of alpine boards with waists wider than 80 mm up a solid 50 percent. Continue reading

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