Winter sports retailers ready for powder play
To the delight of ski and snowboard retailers, the thick shroud of snow on Colorado’s mountains has winter sports zealots coming out of the woodwork.
And at BSR Sports, a downtown Glenwood Springs snowboard shop on 7th Street, a snowboard that looks like woodwork is expected to be the hottest item this year.
According to BSR co-owner Debbie Katers, that board is the Arbor S-Series “Woody” – a board with retro-looking wood graphics.
“The construction of the board and the quality of the ride is going to be incredible,” Katers said.
And as step-in snowboard bindings wane in popularity, lots of boarders are expected to move toward high-end soft bindings, she said.
Her husband, Scratch Katers, said he foresees freestyle boards becoming more and more popular.
“That’s turning into a really big part of the industry,” he said.
Although sales haven’t gone through the roof quite yet, Scratch Katers said if the snow continues to fall, a lot of people could be convinced to buy.
“A lot of people have been hesitant to buy during the last two years because they were afraid they’d buy a $400 board and do $100 in damage the first day,” Katers said. “So a lot of riders are saying, `This is the year I’ve been waiting for.’ … I think it’s going to be a great season. I think we’re going to do well.”
But prior to buying a board, Katers warned prospective buyers to do their homework.
“Anybody can make a board that’s graphically pleasing, but you have to know what’s going on on the inside,” Scratch Katers said.
Up the street at Summit Canyon Mountaineering, Steve DiCampo toiled Thursday in the store’s basement ski shop. He steadily worked trying to get through the ever-increasing mountain of telemark skis that leaned against the wall, eagerly awaiting TLC for skis – a tune up.
DiCampo said he’s been busier than usual for this time of year, but he figures the real crush for tune-ups and ski sales will come a bit later in the season, especially before Christmas.
“People are looking,” he said. “We’ve sold a couple of pairs already.”
Summit Canyon Mountaineering deals in telemark and cross-country skis only. That way, they can work with – rather than compete against – the two other nearby ski and board shops.
“We do telemark, backcountry, cross-country and ski-skating,” he said, adding that Summit Canyon also sells snowshoes.
The hot item this year in telemark skis is the female-specific “She’s Piste” made by K2.
“It’s lighter and it’s flexed for a female,” DiCampo said.
A complete new setup of telemark gear generally costs $700 to $900, he said. But the store offers a cross-country touring ski package for $200, including skis, boots, poles and bindings.
A couple of blocks from Summit Canyon on 9th Street and Cooper Avenue, the sales staff at Sunlight Mountain Ski and Bike Shop were extremely busy hawking skis, snowboards and accompanying equipment.
“We’re pretty busy. It makes a huge difference to get the snow,” said store manager Rob Jankovsky.
He said the biggest recent change in skis is the introduction of bindings that slide onto the skis on rails.
“It eliminates dead spots,” he said of the new-fangled fixtures that attach boot to ski. “The shaped skis have stayed about the same.”
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