Snowboard sales were up 22 percent in dollars to $68 million in specialty stores, according to SIA’s most recent Retail Audit, conducted by Leisure Trends Group for the August 1, 2000 through January 31, 2001 sales period. Snowboard boot sales were up 12 percent to $45 million and snowboard bindings were up 23 percent to $32 million. In chain stores, snowboard sales were up 31 percent in dollars to $23 million. Snowboard boot sales were up 15 percent to $15 million and snowboard bindings were up 17 percent to $8 million. “Board prices are up. The average retail is $179 this year compared to $157 last season,” said Jim Spring, of Leisure Trends Group.

Overall retail sales of snow sports products for the year-to-date period were still way above the same period in 1999-2000. However, a drop-off is noticeable compared to the sizzling sales numbers of November and December.

As of December 31, sales had shown a year-to-date increase of nearly 18 percent. Although the 10.5 percent increase posted as of January 31 is impressive, it still indicates that the season’s earlier buying frenzy had slowed. “All-store sales through the end of January 2001 beat the same period in 2000, but January sales did not keep pace (with the August-December 2000 numbers),” said Spring. “Limited selection because of low inventory levels appears to have held back sales at specialty stores.”

Specifically, specialty stores in January had a year-to-date increase of 5.5 percent overall for alpine ski equipment. Midfats, twintips and skiboards led the way with increases of 30 percent, 304 percent and 39 percent respectively. January also saw a 13.5 percent rise in alpine boot sales. Nordic equipment was up 13.5 percent. Apparel was 3 percent down overall in specialty stores, due in part to lack of inventory. Some bright spots existed, though, with shell parkas up 13 percent and snowboard bottoms up 7 percent. Junior snowboard bottoms were still very strong, with an increase of 64 percent. Accessories remained a constant hot seller, with an overall increase of 29 percent.

In the chain stores, the story was similar for alpine equipment, with a 1 percent rise overall, but major increases in the midfat, twintip and skiboard categories. Those numbers for chain stores were 45.5 percent, 1139 percent and103 percent respectively. Nordic equipment, however, did not fare well, showing a 23 percent drop over the January 31 season-to-date numbers for 99-00. Apparel in chain stores remained strong, showing a 15 percent increase, with shell parkas up 41 percent and snowboard tops and bottoms up 55 and 49 percent respectively. Accessories were up 10 percent overall; goggles and mitts topped the charts with 86 percent increases for both.