The winter of our discount tent |

The winter of our discount tent

Our credit cards are still smoking after we bought billions of dollars of winter sports goods last ski season.Sales for the entire winter sport market, including specialty and chain stores, were up 4 percent to $2.3 billion from Aug. 2005 through March 2006, compared to $2.2 billion the year before, according to the Snowsports Industry Association, a nationwide organization that monitors the industry.SIA’s study didn’t find anything earth-shaking: Snowboard sales are up nationwide, in keeping with the industry’s recent trends, alpine gear is selling about even and telemark gear is down.Locally, we’re still snow farmers and when you get a bumper crop like Vail and Beaver Creek did this year, business is good.”Ski rentals are up throughout the industry,” said Tim Baltz of Charter Sports. “Vail’s numbers for last ski season are up 30 percent, and so everyone’s numbers go up. That’s what makes our season so excellent, just like all the other shops in the valley.”Sales at specialty ski and snowboard shops were up 4 percent compared to last season.”Products that touted technology, snowsport as a lifestyle, warmth and comfort drove sales this season,” said Christine Martinez, market research manager for SIA. The SIA retail audit tracks and reports sales in all snow sports product categories. The final report of six that looks at sales through the end of the winter season.Among the findings: • Approximately $260 million in snowsports products were sold online this season, 14 percent of all specialty store sales. Approximately $57 million was generated by downhill equipment rentals, a 15 percent decline from the previous season. Shop services fell 21 percent to $35 million this season.• Specialty apparel sales, including tops, bottoms, suits and snowboard, were up 7 percent compared to last season. By the end of March 2006, apparel sales totaled $582.7 million. Insulated parkas, 42 percent of all alpine apparel top dollars sold, rose 8 percent this season with sales reaching $149 million by the end of March.• Specialty retailers sold a total of $600 million in both equipment and apparel accessories, ending the season up 7 percent over last season. Apparel accessory sales were up 4 percent over last year, totaling $329.9 million by the end of this season. Winter boots were up 12 percent, gloves were up 18 percent, mitts were up 14 percent and neck gaiters were up 16 percent.• Snowboard equipment sales, including snowboards, boots and bindings, were up 3 percent in dollars with sales totaling $206.2 million.• Overall equipment sales – alpine, snowboard, Nordic, telemark and Randonee/AT – ended the season down 1 percent in dollars over last season with sales totaling $616 million.• Snowboards continued to be strong with increases averaging about 20 percent.Specialty store percent change in dollars for the 2005-2006 ski seasonAlpine skis, -16 percentSki systems, +19 percentAlpine skis + Ski Systems, -1 percentAlpine boots, +1 percentAlpine bindings, -22 percentAlpine bindings + ski systems, +7 percentAlpine poles, +11 percentSnowboards, +2 percentSnowboard boots, +4 percentSnowboard bindings, +4 percentInsulated parkas, +8 percentShell parkas, +15 percentSoftshell parkas, +36 percentSnowboard tops, +22 percentSnowboard bottoms, +19 percentGoggles, +9 percentHelmets, +16 percentApparel accessories, +4 percentVail, Colorado

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