By Laura Murphey
As September turns to October, the country has seen early snow in the Rockies, late summer heat on the West Coast, and scattered weather on the East Coast. Shops across the country have had a wide range of responses when asked about early season snowboard sales. This preseason, it seems as if everything depends on the weather and how hyped locals are from seeing the new snowboard videos.
SNOWboarding Business called 15 retailers at random across the country on October 1 to just get a simple gauge of what’s going on. Here’s what they had to say:
In spite of what has happened in the past year, some shops are charging into the season full force and packed with enthusiasm. In Lake Placid, New York, Mountain Run Snowboard Manager Ed Huber says: “We are displaying product early and re-merchandising the whole store for the season. It’s still a bit early to tell how the season is going to go, but I have a great new sales staff for this year so it should be good.”
Jerry Lewis of Northern Ski Works in Killington, Vermont said that his “sales are pretty much nonexistent. Until the snow falls, nothing much will be happening here.”
New Jersey is also slow right now, but wait until this weekend with the Grenade premier and Quiksilver tour. Manager Scott Cartwright of the Out of Bounds Snowboard Shop in Scotch Plains, New Jersey says, “Sales are a little down, probably somewhere around ten percent off from last year. We also sell skateboards so we have a lot of people coming in the summer time. As far as snowboards, we are out of the Burton Customs, but people have been asking for the Rome boards, which should be shipped pretty soon.”
At Blades Board and Skate in Burlington, Massachusetts, Manager Brett Roberts says, “We have a lot of product left over from last year. Things are pretty normal as far as sales go so we are not really looking to re-order anything in the near future.”
In State College, Pennsylvania, Ski Station Manager George Powell says “It’s really hard to say how sales are doing. I know as far as a product that sells well for us is probably Ride.”
Assistant Manager Tom Fitch of Valley Ski and Bike in Lacrosse, Wisconsin says, “It’s still pretty early in the season and the sales will really depend on the snowfall. We sell a lot of the lower-end K2 boards and Clicker bindings.”
Moving down to Glenview, Illinois, Manager and Buyer Scott Purdy of the Snowbird Ski Shop says, “Everything is great and really busy. I am thinking it’s going to be a good season. We have been selling a lot of kids boards and setups like the Burton Punch and the Charger. But it’s looking like a good season so far.”
On a high positive note Tony Shumaker of Shumaker Specialty Ski and Sport in Flint, Michigan says, “Our sales are up by probably ten percent over last year. We have tripled our orders for this year, especially for 686 apparel. They have been flying off the racks faster than we can get them on. Our number-one selling board is Forum and right up there next to them is Rossignol. We ordered a whole bunch of the Oxygens for a reasonable price-point package.”
In Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Manager Jason Poole of The Click says, “We already have some dusting snow. People are constantly coming in and everyone around here is getting pumped for the season. Sales are up a bit since last year because of 9/11. I think it’s a better year for people to get out and get pumped. Sales are up about ten percent. We always do well with Never Summer, Volcom, Special Blend, and Foursquare. We just had a premier here last week of Grenade’s video Full Metal Edges. Everyone has been watching videos like Pulse that sells well, and they are really getting excited for the snow.”
In Crested Butte, Colorado, Jacob Parr who is a manager for the Colorado Boarder, says, “Everyone is getting fired up and we have had some snowboard sales. We sell a lot of Burton and Never SSummer. The Volcom outerwear for this year is really selling well too.” The Colorado Boarder also carries 686, Lib Tech, and Gnu. Parr also mentioned that business should really pick up in the next month, even though people have already been “pounding on the doors even when we’re closed and just coming in to buy stuff before the season starts.”
At Beyond Waves Mountain Surf in New Mexico, Manager Sam Manera is looking forward to a good season. “We had a very good summer with skateboarding, plus we already have snow! Everyone is really optimistic because our sales have probably doubled and even tripled. We do well with Never Summer, Gnu, Lib Tech, and of course Burton. We do well with a lot of the crossover skate brands like DC and Osiris.” He also said that they’re ordering in the new Gnu snowskates as well as the Premier snowskates even though snowskates are illegal on the mountain so far. The snowskate revolution begins!
In California, Teddy Money of 118 Board Shop in Grenada Hills said, “It’s kind of slow right now but it should pick up in a week or two because of the cloudy weather. Burton is selling well along with Forum. The new denim stuff that is coming out is just killing it though. Business is kind of weird, a bit down from last year because of 9/11.”
On the other hand Jim Babbidge, manager of Fastlane in Burbank, California said, “Business is good. We have sold more than 60 boards so far, which is about normal. Not too much is left over from last year. Our orders have stayed the same because snowboarding growth has basically plateaued.”
In Spokane, Washington Wintersport Owner Darrell Purdue said, “business is a bit slow. It is about the same, probably down by five percent. Lib Tech and 686 sells the best by far. We’re selling some snowboard stuff, but it’s still early.” Purdue also said he just picked up Gnu for this year.