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News Briefs 2
Author thumbnail By M. Scott Smith, DCSki Editor

Warm weather pushes back resort openings

A few shots of cold temperatures in mid-November allowed several Mid-Atlantic resorts to begin snowmaking, but a long stretch of cold temperatures has yet to arrive. Many resorts are waiting for a sustained blast of cold air before beginning aggressive snowmaking. On Tuesday, West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort pushed back its opening date to November 29 -; but the actual opening date may be later, depending on when cold temperatures return. Snowshoe will delay opening until it’s sure it can open with a healthy number of trails and solid snow conditions.

“We don’t like to get the season going and then have to pull the plug,” explained Snowshoe’s Joe Stevens. “That isn’t fair to anyone involved.”

So far, one resort in the Mid-Atlantic was able to open -; but the opening was very short-lived. North Carolina’s Sugar Mountain Resort opened on Saturday, November 15, but closed after just two days of skiing.

The long-range forecast does not look promising for snowmaking. Last year, sub-freezing temperatures settled over the region by late November, but a sustained run of cold temperatures does not appear in the cards until early December.

Early season equipment sales up

According to SnowSports Industries America (SIA), consumers have been ringing up sales at ski retail shops across the country. In areas where weather has been chilly, retailers are reporting a 10-15% increase in sales over the same period last year. In warmer geographies, SIA reports that sales are running even with last year or down slightly.

“When retail traffic picks up, as the weather turns cold, snow sport retailers breathe a sigh of relief,” said Jim Spring of Leisure Trends Group. “This early baraometer is a good sign and it, along with some more snow, could foretell strong retail sales this winter,” he said. Many resorts in the Colorado Rockies have already received natural snow.

Dealers note that sales of ski systems and boots have been strong, but binding sales have been slow. Boots with soft shells have been strong sellers, and some retailers report that traditional ski apparel is making a comeback after being displaced by crossover and outdoor garments, although traditional ski apparel remains unpopular among the young.

Burton releases iPod accessories

If you don’t already have one, you want one. Apple’s iPod digital music player is expected to be one of the hottest selling gifts this Christmas season, and Burton Snowboards recently announced a new line of gear designed to complement the iPod.

Apple has sold over 1 million iPod players to date. Photo courtesy of Apple.
The slim iPod player, compatible with Macintosh and Windows computers, is capable of holding up to 10,000 songs and integrates seamlessly with the iTunes Music Store, which allows consumers to purchase songs from major labels at 99 cents a song or $9.99 per album. Last year, Burton launched a limited edition Burton Amp jacket, which included a pocket for the iPod and controls on the sleeve capable of controlling the iPod’s functions. Burton Snowboards recently expanded its product line with the Burton Amp Pack, the world’s first backpack with an integrated iPod control system, the Radar 2 Layer iPod Jacket, the first women’s snowboard jacket with iPod control capabilities, and two new men’s jackets with iPod control.

“Whether at the beach, on campus or on the mountain, active iPod users can have control of up to 10,000 songs right from the Amp Pack,” said Stan Ng, a product manager at Apple. “The Amp Pack is one of the coolest accessories we’ve seen for the iPod and really brings a new meaning to on-the-go listening,” he added.

The backpack and new jackets feature SOFTswitch technology, which allows the iPod to be controlled through a soft, flexible control pad built into the pack’s shoulder strap. A secure iPod storage pocket is included, with a headphone port located on the shoulder strap. The jackets are machine washable once the iPod interface module is removed.

Burton Snowboard’s line of iPod accessories will be available in limited quantities this month, available for purchase through Burton’s on-line store at www.burton.com and through select authorized dealers in North America, Europe, and Japan.

Additional information on the iPod can be found at www.apple.com/ipod.

About M. Scott Smith

M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.

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Reader Comments

November 19, 2003
In Utah things have been open since Nov. 6 and I have been skiing since Nov 2. This Friday ALL major ski resorts will be open with 24-50 inch bases and we get more snow Friday.
November 25, 2003
Just great! - That's just what we need is even more people listening to toons while they're snowboarding/skiing instead of paying attention to what they are doing & who they're about to hit. With Ski/Snowboard collisions seem like they're getting more & more frequent I have to wonder why we need more distractions..... Maybe a portable movie player for watching ski videos in your sleeve is next?

Sorry for the rant - but I'm fed-up with having to continuously watch out for the "other guy" behind me or my family.

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