Vail-area snow-sports sales reflect national record |

Vail-area snow-sports sales reflect national record

CVR Vail Business DT 12-28-09

VAIL, Colorado – Dave Gorsuch has lived here his whole life, and says this winter was one for the record books, in more ways than one.

Record snowfall seemed to put skiers and snowboarders in a buying and skiing mood.

“There’s nothing that makes you look smarter than a lot of snow,” said Gorsuch, who launched the stores that bear his family’s name across Colorado’s ski resorts. “It’s just winter farming.”

Strong snow sports gear sales locally reflect a nationwide trend that saw record sales in the snow sports market, says the Snow Sports Industry Association.

The numbers roll out like this:

• $3.3 billion: Total sales in the snow-sports market in 2010-11, a new record.

• $3 billion: Previous record set in 2007-08.

• 8 percent: Increase in units sold.

• 12 percent: Increase in dollars sold.

In Vail, snow-sports gear sales were up 9.3 percent in February 2011 over the previous February, according to the town of Vail’s most recent sales tax report.

“We had a good year. Our sales were up a bit,” Gorsuch said. “We had a good year last year and we met or exceeded last year’s sales.”

The bar was set pretty low in 2009, at the depths of the recession, Gorsuch said.

Gorsuch was born in Climax and has lived here his whole life.

“This was a winter to remember,” he said.

The SIA show in Denver was upbeat, he said, as was the ski show in Europe.

Michelle Rogers was working at American Ski Exchange on Wall Street in Vail Village when we caught up with her. Like most shops, they kept a close eye on their late season inventory and are now enjoying brisk spring sales.

“Everyone I talk to says it was a pretty good year,” Rogers said.

Most of their gear is half off, she said.

Lovin’ La Nina

American consumers spent $902 million on snow-sports equipment, hard goods like skis, snowboards and gear.

Soft goods sales and apparel set a new record this season with $1.2 billion sold.

Weather helps. La Nina is still dumping snow across the northern half of the U.S., and that helped drive apparel sales up 7 percent in units sold and up 11 percent in dollars sold.

“Keep in mind that snow sports apparel is purchased by many who will never ride a ski lift but want to be warm, dry and fashionable in the worst winter weather,” says Kelly Davis, SIA’s director of research.

Across the western region, which includes Colorado, heavy snow and colder than average temperatures saw sales up 21 percent in equipment dollars sold, 14 percent in apparel and 20 percent in accessories sales, says the SIA.

“People sold well and paid their bills, so that made the suppliers happy,” Gorsuch said.

Gorsuches held their big Midnight Madness sale in March, which was successful, Gorsuch said. They’re still selling.

“We’re open every day, Gorsuch said. “There are a few people around and the weather is supposed to clear up for Mother’s Day.”

“I can’t offer you any bad news. This was a good year,” Gorsuch said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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