Sales are booming at shops and resorts as ski season gets off to great start

The ski industry is already seeing some early signs of a busy season with sales of seasons passes and weekend getaways up this year.

Staff say recession is not impacting sales as much as predicted

With lots of snow expected this season, hills and shops say business is booming. (Bill Joyce/Facebook)

The start of the ski season is still a week or two away, but those working in the industry say it's already gearing up to be a busy year. 

Matt Mosteller, senior vice president of marketing of the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, said this season's forecasted snowfall and colder temperatures is revving up skiers and snowboarders.

"We're looking forward to a great, really a peak winter, as cycles of weather look to be the best early cycles in the last ten years, at least," said Mosteller.

He said RCR, which runs Nakiska and Kicking Horse among others, has seen an increase in sales for its season passes and overnight getaways at its resorts — despite tough economic times in Alberta.

"Obviously the staycation, yep, that's really happening, people are doing that, and they're also maybe not doing as much, you know...they've pared that back and maybe instead of five sports or three, they're doing two or one," said Mosteller.

Lake Louise ski resort also reports increased sales over last year.

"We've certainly seen strong sales of our season passes, both in the spring when there was the early bird discount,  and our fall sale we just recently had, so our numbers are a bit stronger than the previous year," said Dan Markham, director of brand and communications.

"The economic situation actually may provide some more time for people to go out skiing than they may have in the past," he said.

Staff at Ski West in northwest Calgary said they were concerned sales would be down thanks to the recession, but manager Eric Reid said they've been running flat out ever since the weather turned cold.

"We were a little bit worried," said Reid. "But we've had cases where guys were laid off and they were given out a package, so we have a few customers who are taking the time to ski all year." 

"It's the entry-level person that's sort of a little quiet now, but that might kick in after Christmas a bit," he said.

Mosteller said RCR may open some of its hills earlier than scheduled because of the amount of snow that's fallen. He said the earliest date the company has opened Nakiska is Halloween.

"Well you never know, sometimes these decisions happen with one storm and the next day you could be, we would let people know on our website we're going, because it can be that quick."