The 2010/2011  snow sports season is underway and equipment and equipment accessories sales  increased through October while apparel and apparel accessories sales  lagged.  Overall, sales from August to October 2010 match sales for the  same period last year with a 1% increase in dollars, but 5% fewer units  sold. 

Apparel sales are down 6% in dollars and in units.  The slump in apparel sales may be due to continuing economic concerns, difficulty  shipping goods from production facilities in China, and warmer weather through  October.  Alpine equipment sales are up 8% in units and 16% in dollars  sold. 


Carryover sales are down across all categories, as retailers started  the season with leaner inventories.   Snow sports specialty shops enjoyed strong equipment sales and an overall increase of 3% in dollars sold. 


Online sales have finally leveled off after four seasons of vast  increases in sales, and chain stores sales are down 14% in units and 5% in  dollars sold through October. 


November weather surpassed expectations for  snow across the country and snow sports sales are highly correlated with  snowfall.  SIA will release November data on January 5, 2011.  

“Sales  are going very well, with an earlier than usual start to the season, and so far  we are achieving, our goals for November, which are aggressive,” said Spike  Clayton of Ski Rack in Vermont.

Quick  Trends

  • Women are buying ski systems.Women’s specific ski systems are up 27% through October and 86% of women’s systems sold have waist widths of 70-79mm.  Women purchased 16,800 systems and 7,100 flat skis so far this season.

  • Alpine equipment sales are at a 10 year high, so far this season, in units and dollars sold.

  • AT/Randonee equipment sales increased 55% in dollars and 62% in units through October.

  • Goggles sales are soaring. Sales are up 32% in dollars sold and 23% in units sold.

  • Insulated apparel were down 5% and in units and dollars in October, which was significantly warmer this year.

  • Reverse camber snowboards, or rocker boards, now make up 55% of all snowboards sold.

  • Cross country boot sales increased 17% in units sold.

Source:   SIA Snow Sports RetailTRAK™ by Leisure Trends Group

Sales  by Region

In Specialty stores where  sales are tracked in 4 distinct regions (Northeast, Midwest, South and West)  a 21% boost in the West, the largest region as well as a 3% increase in the South contributed to a strong Specialty channel while sales fell 8% and 10% in the Northeast and Midwest  respectively.


Snow  Sports Specialty sales reached $284 million, down 2% in units and up 3% in dollars.

  • Alpine  ski equipment sales soared in the pre-season with a 12% increase in units sold  and 20% increase in dollars sold.  Adult twin tip ski sales are up 37% in  units and 45% in dollars sold to $1.8 million. 

  • Snowboard equipment sales decreased 4% in units but fetched higher average prices due to a decrease in carryover equipment.

  • Cross  country equipment sales are up 24% in units and 18% in dollars sold and AT/Randonee sales remain small at 2,600 units total, but sales are up more than 100% in units and in dollars sold. 

  • Apparel sales suffered in specialty shops through October as warm temperatures and a sputtering economy did little to spur sales of parkas, suits and snowboard apparel; apparel unit sales and  dollar sales fell 7.5% in specialty shops.  Accessories sales results  varied with stellar results for goggles and backcountry, but sharp decreases in sales of gloves and hats.

Internet sales reach $162 million, down 5% units and down 1% in dollars. The  Internet channel finally leveled off after five seasons of notable expansion in  the channel.  Internet sales include sales through “clicks  only” establishments that have no brick and mortar shop for customers to visit.  It’s all online as well as online sales in shops with a brick and mortar location and a commerce enabled website for their customers.  Many of the  sales reported come from brick and mortar establishments that are reaching  customers online and in the shop. 

  • Equipment enjoyed 9% growth in dollars sold, while apparel  sales fell 9% in units and 6% in dollars sold.  Keep in mind that a  portion of the downturn in apparel sales during this period may be due to  difficulty getting goods shipped from production facilities in China into U.S.  retail channels. 

  • Accessories sales were up 3% in dollars largely due to  strong sales of goggles, auto racks, and backcountry accessories including  shovels, beacons and probes. 

Chain  Stores reached $76 million, down 4% in units and down 5% in dollars. Chain  store sales are down in in equipment, apparel and accessories through October  this season. 

  • Chain stores sell far less equipment than specialty or online sales channels.  Fewer than 7% of  skis, 15% of snowboards, 3% of Cross Country skis sold in snow sports sales channels were sold in chain  stores through October.

  • Apparel didn’t fare much better with a 6% decrease in  units and dollars sold so far this season. 

  • Some accessories performed  well in chain stores including goggles, helmets, wax and sunglasses.