By Laura Murphey
When it dumps, it dumps. In April, the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California received near record amounts of snow, blanketing resorts around Tahoe and even farther south. Kirkwood registered 112 inches of snow on the slopes, just shy of the record 115 inches set in 1982.
Mammoth set an April record with 90 inches, which was more than the resort received in the months of January, February, and March combined this year!
But did all this snow equate to good sales, salvaging a mediocre business season at snowboard shops? A little.
Nor Cal Shops would have rather had snow in January, but none complained when record-breaking snowfall dumped the whole month of April.
Most of the region’s shops sold through most of their remaining inventory with only about a month left of suitable riding conditions. Of course, a slight increase in business in April and the routine product markdowns helped make it all happen.
Some shops felt more of a difference than others did. “It (the snow) increased people coming to Mammoth,” said Wave Rave Buyer Dawn True. “We started putting more stuff on sale and started the sale earlier.”
SFO Snowboarding Owner Kent Uyehara also experienced an unexpected change at his San Francisco store. “With the March climate, it didn’t seem like it was going to snow anymore, but it came back with a vengeance,” he said.
Even though sales were up by 20 percent in April for SFO, Uyehara won’t be adjusting his orders for next season. “I don’t see the economy getting any better in the next six months,” he said. “If we have to, it’s not difficult to reorder.”
Mountain and Surf Manager Aaron Weston had a different take on this. According to Weston, more customers did visit the Sacramento shop because of the heavy late-season snows. But most were there to get their boards waxed, and not buying new product. “A little snow on the ground changes the store a little bit,” said Weston. “But, it didn’t really do anything for us.”
With summer just around the corner, some shops felt most people had already ended their season early because of minimal snowfall during February and March.
Manager Jenn Zweig of Tri City Sporting Goods in Fremont said that sales were up on Fridays, with people preparing for weekends on the snow, but business wasn’t up overall. “It’s a Catch 22,” said Zweig. “(The snow) has helped, but at the same time, people are ready for summer.”
Wendy Woodward, owner of Boards in Motion in Auburn, said that the late snowfall only helped slightly. “With a little bit of snow, we are starting to get back in our groove,” said Woodward. “We sold another dozen or so decks, but people are starting to jump into summer.”