Snow sports equipment sales improved 3% last winter

Chris Rusay of Eagle Rock with his dog Wyatt skis down a backcountry slope off Highway 2 in Wrightwood.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

With a flurry of late season snow, the sale of snow sports equipment and clothing rebounded slightly last winter compared with the abysmal season the previous year.

The sale of ski and snowboarding equipment and clothing reached $3.4 billion in the 2012-13 season, up 3% compared with the previous season, according to the latest report from the SnowSports Industry Assn., a trade group for ski, snowboard and apparel retailers and manufacturers.

The numbers represent a slight improvement from the 2011-12 season when participation in snow sports dropped 6% over the previous year because of extremely limited snowfall.


The latest ski and snowboarding season appeared to be on track for another disappointing year until January when heavy snowfall revived sales of skis, snowboards and winter clothing, according to the SnowSports Industry Assn.

“The snowfall got a late start last season, getting underway after the Christmas holiday and that certainly had an effect on both participation and sales numbers,” said Kelly Davis, director of research for SIA.

However, the sale of ski and snowboarding equipment and clothes still fell about 2% below the total for the 2010-11 season when many ski resorts reported the biggest snowfall in decades.

The latest SnowSports Industry report also confirmed a crucial trend in the industry: The sale of snowboards continued to drop last season, falling 7% in total sales compared with the previous year, while the sales of alpine ski equipment grew by 2.5%.

Industry experts have attributed the popularity shift in snow sports to advancements in downhill ski equipment, including easier-to-ride twin-tip skis that are wider and use a “reverse-cambered” design.


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