Poor East Coast Ski Conditions Drop National Ski Sales

Chris Wallner | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Mad River Glen poor conditions! PC: Mad River Glen Facebook Page

Snowsports Industries America recently released their NPD DecisionKey® numbers for August to December 2015 and it found that national sales related to Snowsports are down 4%! Last year, the East Coast experienced a cold and snowy winter, while the Tahoe area experienced a terrible winter. This winter the East Coast is experiencing extreme heat and a lack of precipitation in the form of snow, while the Tahoe area has maintained near 100% average snowpack throughout the duration of the winter. These conditions are attributed to the decrease in the Snowsports market.

“Sales in the snow sports market nationally were down 4% in dollars sold to $2.85B through December 31st this season.  Although the Pacific West was finally getting relief from a four year (or longer) snow drought, retailers in the East and Midwest were suffering from a lack of winter weather and corresponding lack of winter gear sales,”stated Kelly Davis, Director of Research at SIA.

The Snowsports market! PC: SIA

Overall, equipment sales were down on significantly lower sales in the Northeast and Midwest where many specialty retailers saw their sales fall due to unseasonably warm temperatures and lack of snow. Snowboard equipment sales dropped 4% nationally to $176 million, but they saw a 25% increases across the Western United States. Alpine ski equipment sales saw a 3% decrease to $351 million nationally, but sales in the west increased 8%.

Throughout the entire United States, cross country equipment sales fell 22% to $17.5 million, and alpine touring equipment sales dropped 8.3% to $9.6 million, despite the increased interest in backcountry skiing. El Nino seemed to be the answer to tough conditions in California and the west coast, but it didn’t benefit the market in the United States!   

“Outerwear sales including fleece, shell, insulated shell and softshell tops and bottoms finished December down 3% in dollars sold to $1.2B and accounted for more than 40% of all dollars spent in the snow sports market during the 2015 holiday season.  Apparel accessories sales including handwear, headwear, socks and baselayer sales were down 8% to $348M,” stated Kelly Davis.

Snowsports shop! PC: Jay Peak Resort

Sadly, the poor snow conditions in the east has dropped the sales of Snow Sports Specialty Shops 5% to $1.4 billion nationally, which really puts a damper on the productivity of the snow sports-related market. East Coast specialty shops were hit hard this year, where sales fell 16% to $390 million. The Midwest specialty shops were hit hard too, where sales fell 19% to $211 million and specialty retailers in the South saw sales fall 3% to $209 million.

These areas had a tough winter conditions wise, especially the East Coast and the Midwest where unseasonably warm temperatures were experienced. Thankfully a few areas experienced an increase this winter, the West region, which contains the Pacific West and the Rocky Mountain areas, enjoyed a 13% increase in sales to $554 million. Hopefully, March brings lots of snow to the United States, which could salvage this rough season.

“Chain Store Sales decreased 7% to $768M through December. Online Sales were flat to slightly down at $716M through December,” stated Kelly Davis.


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