Ski, snowboard shops gear up for snow season

Oct 19, 2021, 5:15 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 5:14 pm

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — Utah resorts should be open for skiing and snowboarding in one month, even sooner if any of the resorts open early due to the recent October storms. But will the gear be here in time?

Despite slowdowns in the delivery of goods, early snowfall always brings a flurry of business.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had an October with this much snow in the mountains,” said Luke Larsen, who owns and operates the Lifthouse Ski Shop with his brother at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Their father, David Larsen, bought the shop in 1978.

Doors to the Lifthouse Ski Shop in Cottonwood Heights. (Jed Boal/KSL TV)

Luke Larsen is pretty sure he’s spent just about every October of his life near the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

“The best thing about October — everybody comes in and asks us what we think the weather is going to do,” he said. “I think they think we have some kind of crystal ball that’s going to tell us what’s going to happen.”

He admits he has no inside information. But Larsen likes what he sees, so far.

“We have a lot of people coming in. I’ve already seen some amazing videos from some of our customers of them skiing really deep snow,” the shop owner said. “Ever since the mountains got whiter on top, traffic has picked up a lot.”

But ski retail stocking has been slowed by the same supply chain issues affecting other industries.

Typically, the shop gets their hard goods — the skis and boots — in August, but all of that was late.

“Luckily, most of our skis and boots have come in. Obviously, there are sizes we’re still waiting on,” said Larsen. “There are a lot of models in different ski companies we’re waiting on.”

The soft goods — the jackets and sweaters — were supposed to arrive in September.

“We are still waiting on probably 80% of that,” said Larsen.

He said they’ve received confirmations of shipment, but they are still waiting on most of the new ski apparel.

“They told us it’s been manufactured,” he said. “It’s just a matter of, most likely, it’s floating on a boat out in the Pacific right now.”

But walking in the store, many customers might not even notice that the new apparel has not arrived.

A ski technician tunes up some skis at the Lifthouse Ski Shop. (Jed Boal/KSL TV)

If you plan to shop for ski gear, and you know what you want, shop early.

Typically, the shop re-orders popular items in January, but this year is not typical.

“This year, it looks like re-orders may not happen. So, what we have in the store may be everything that we have,” the shop owner said.

Larsen said they are especially thankful for their local customers.

They lost a chunk of business in the spring of 2020 when COVID-19 forced the ski resorts to shut down early. But, despite the loss of a lot of tourist traffic, there was a lot of local enthusiasm for skiing that kept the business going.

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Ski, snowboard shops gear up for snow season