Snow drives strong ski gear sales |

Snow drives strong ski gear sales

Daily Staff Report
Vail, CO, Colorado

LAS VEGAS ” Details from the most recent Snowsports Industries Association retail audit were released this week at the group’s annual convention in Las Vegas. The audit’s findings indicate the snowsports industry is holding strong in a struggling economy.

According to the recent audit, conducted in conjunction with Leisure Trends Group, the snowsports market has grown 13 percent in dollar sales this season compared with August to December sales figures from last season. Heavy snowfall has helped pry open consumers’ wallets and they have spent $1.9 billion so far this season. They spent $541.4 million on equipment, $791.5 on apparel, and $581.9 million on accessories August to December, and snow is still falling across much of the country and in Europe.

Internet sales still are growing, with 44 percent more units sold and 46 percent dollar growth over last season. The increase was driven by higher equipment sales. Alpine skis sales were up 119 percent in units and 102 percent in dollars. Apparel continues to sell extremely well online and accounts for more than 40 percent of all dollars. The Internet is poised to overtake chain stores in units and dollars by March this season.

Driven by heavy snow, Nordic equipment sales took off this season with increases of 39 percent in units and 37 percent in dollars in snow sports specialty shops. Sales of Nordic equipment were up 39 percent in dollars and 42 percent in units online and sales totaling $22.9 million in all sales channels.

Adult twin tip skis now dominate the snow-sports-ski- market with more units sold than any other flat ski type in any sales channel. Sales of twin-tip flat skis were up 32 percent in units and dollars in specialty and an incredible 167 percent in units and 170 percent in dollars online.

Twin-tip systems are doing equally well in terms of growth, but far fewer units have sold. For example, in specialty, 2,418 twin-tip systems were sold August to December for an increase of 241 percent in units, but that pales to the 27,474 adult twin tip flat skis sold in specialty brick and mortar shops.

More than 47,000 adult twin-tip flat skis have sold in the market so far this season.

Those worried that not enough kids are getting on the slopes and becoming lifelong snowsports participants will be glad to hear that 65,800 junior flat skis and 23,097 junior ski systems have sold so far this season and more than 80 percent of them sold in specialty brick and mortar shops. In fact, overall, the top-selling ski model August to December this season is a junior model.

Close to half of all dollars in reported sales so far this season were spent in December after the snow started falling. If the snow keeps falling and the market maintains its current course, sales growth will be in double digits at the end of the season.

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