USA TODAY US Edition

Ski industry springs back with late-season snow

- By James Sullivan, BNQT.COM

Late-season snowfall across the country has offered a lifeline to ski resorts despite a sharp decline in overall sales for the industry.

According to a Snowsports Industry of America (SIA) report released Tuesday, retail sales fell 12% in units sold and 4% in dollars sold totaling $3.2 billion through the end of February compared with last year.

Though statistics for skier visits aren’t available, rental shops saw a 30% downturn. That indicates overall sales for lift tickets suffered as well.

The report spans from the early season in August through the end of February, mirroring a lack of snow throughout much of North America. Yet improved wintry conditions in March on the West Coast and this week in New England have encouraged industry officials.

Amelia Richmond, a spokeswoma­n for Squaw Valley in Lake Tahoe, Calif., said the resort received 189 inches of snow since March 1. This week’s forecast calls for an additional 2 to 3 feet, she said.

In Vermont, Killington Resort remains open after getting hit with 19 inches of snow since Monday. “We are definitely going out on a high note here,” spokeswoma­n Sarah Thorson said. “We’re open daily, we’re open this weekend and we just want people to be able to enjoy the snow a little bit longer.”

Online retailers reported an in- crease of 11% in units sold through February, according to SIA. “We had an amazing early season; October and November, we were up 70% year over year in ski sales,” said Dustin Robertson of online retailer Backcountr­y.com. “Since February we’ve had to liquidate our inventory.”

 ?? By Nathan Bilow, AP ?? Spring surge: Late-season snow had people hitting the slopes, including this snowboarde­r dressed for warm weather at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.
By Nathan Bilow, AP Spring surge: Late-season snow had people hitting the slopes, including this snowboarde­r dressed for warm weather at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

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