COLORADO SPRINGS – The Ski Shop is off to its “best ever” start to a ski season, thanks to more snow than average in the months of October and November. “Sales have probably been the best we’ve ever seen,” said owner Rick Uhl.
Ski areas across Colorado are opening earlier than usual and Loveland Ski Area in Clear Creek County says it has had its best early-season snowfall in its 81-year history. Monarch Mountain in Chaffee County is set to open Friday, its earliest opening in 22 years. The sizzling start to ski season is bringing more customers than usual into The Ski Shop. “Things were pretty tight last year, and this year it’s looking a lot better,” Uhl said.
Among the customers in the shop on Tuesday, Jessica Allen, looking to switch this season from snowboarding to skiing. “Last season was kind of scarce as far as fresh powder, so the fact that it was snowing yesterday, Thanksgiving weekend is coming up, got some days off of work — it’s time to go play in the snow,” Allen said.
Uhl says despite technological advancements since last season, equipment and gear has remained around the same price this season before a likely spike in prices next season. “We’ve got WiFi speakers in helmets now so that we can make phone calls, talk to our buddies, listen to music,” Uhl said of some of the technological advancements.
Abundant snow and good skiing conditions are crucial heading into Thanksgiving weekend. National media exposure, word of mouth, and visitations over the Thanksgiving holiday can have a dramatic effect on repeat visitations and new bookings over Christmas and Spring Breaks as well. “A lot of people, they come in from out of state, they come in and if the snow’s not good, then they don’t come back next year, the go somewhere else,” said customer J.D. Murray.
“Thanksgiving is going to be some of the best skiing we’ve seen in probably a decade,” Uhl said.