Just How Bad Has The Snow Season Been?

By Kelly Davis, SIA Director of Research

The snow sports market starved for snow this season and sales suffered—snowboard was no exception.  Snowboard equipment sales are down 10% in units sold and 6% in dollars sold through February compared to last season.  Margins are down in every equipment category and so are dollar sales.

Inventories are key to assessing the overall damage to the market this season.  For example, alpine ski inventories are up about 40% compared to Feb 2011, not surprising really.  That said, look at snowboard, retailers who cleaned their inventories over the past three seasons, did not jump on the La Niña bandwagon this season, and it looks like snowboard will come out of this better than any other equipment category because of that effort.  Inventories are up 17% in boards, 10% in boots, and 29% in bindings – not fantastic, but not bad for such an anemic snow year.

We get the final data of the season in just under a month – it will be good to get the complete set and get it in the books.  This month just confirms what we already knew – it was a tough season, maybe as tough as any of us will see in our lifetimes.  I hope that that’s true.  Last season may have been the best we’ll see so I guess Mother Nature likes balance.

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Apparel sales were particularly hard hit by warm temperatures, reaching a four-year low in units...