They are there. About 5,000 skiers are expected on Christmas weekend in the mountains, according to Patrick Latcham, vice president of sales and marketing at Telski.
“This number will continue until 31st. Then we will have a huge exodus on January 1 and 2, ”said Latcham.
While some of these skiers will bring their own equipment, a large majority will rent equipment from local stores.
Alabamian David Sherrod, who has been skiing and snowboarding in Colorado for 30 years, rents gear because it’s a good way to keep up to date with all the latest gear.
“I definitely rent. The equipment changes so often, and that way I get the latest and greatest stuff. Plus, I go every three years, so if I buy something and use it once every three years it wouldn’t be worth it, ”Sherrod said.
However, visitors like Sherrod should make sure to book well in advance if they plan to rent equipment from local stores, especially during peak season.
Local ski rental shops like Black Tie Skis, Christy Sports & Bootdoctors and Ski Butlers are all registering record numbers through Christmas weekend and New Years.
Ski Butlers, a ski rental delivery service serving more than 50 resorts around the world, has pre-sold at least two weeks in advance at the Telluride branch, explained managing director Brit Ebersold.
“A lot more people are booking months in advance. Many were reserving in the summer so it was really very different. Normally we see bookings at least two weeks in advance, but now we are seeing a trend of more people booking earlier and running out. earlier, ”Ebersold said.
Snow sports have seen a minor decline during the height of the pandemic, but this season there has been an apparent increase in demand. According to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), the national total of “estimated visits for snow sports in the United States” increased from 51 million in 2019/2020 to 59 million visitors in 2020-21. In the Rocky Mountain region, which includes Telluride, visits and estimated visits have increased from about 20.1 million in 2019-2020 to 22.6 million in 2020-21.
While an increase of 2.5 million across the region does not appear exponentially high, many rental stores are experiencing supply chain delays and staff shortages due to COVID. According to Ebersold, the inventory is a little lower than expected “due to our equipment being shipped.”
Sam McNichols, the managing director of Black Tie Rentals, said they were still waiting for half of some of their orders due to supply issues last year. Black-Tie Skis make most of their revenue from delivery, but they have an in-person location in Mountain Village. Over the past week, they’ve had to turn away several families who were looking to rent from their walk-in store because there just wasn’t enough equipment, McNichols said.
“We have tons of advanced skis left – so we have tons for advanced skiers, but our beginner-intermediate skis are completely sold out,” he added.
Black Tie sold out three weeks earlier than usual, just before peak season. Typically, they sell out a week in advance, McNichols explained.
Ebersold and McNichols expect reservations to open and more equipment availability the week following New Years Eve.
With the recent surge in COVID cases in San Miguel County, which County Public Health Director Grace Franklin called an “unprecedented spike” in an update on Wednesday, managers continue to maintain staff safe and healthy by adhering to appropriate protocols, including adhering to interior mask mandates.
Buck Smith, the area manager for Bootdoctors and Christy Sports at Telluride, said one of his top priorities this season is to “make sure everyone stays on top of the COVID security protocol.”
Ensuring the safety of staff and visitors is especially important at stores like Bootdoctors, Christy Sports and Telluride Sports, where a considerable amount of activity is in-store compared to delivery.
“We’re definitely looking at record bookings for this year at all five stores,” Smith added. “We’re going to get to the point this year where we’re going to maybe turn off walk-in visits for clients because we’re going to be very busy.”
Walk-ins are visitors who have not yet made an online reservation. All the stores mentioned offer online reservation forms, which is strongly encouraged. Rental packages offer similar prices at most ski rental stores in Telluride and Mountain Village. Premium plans typically range from $ 64 to $ 84 per day. When it comes to booking, the earlier the better.
Jeremy Williams, who comes from out of state with his wife, paid for and got fitted with boots and skis the day before they left to ski at Telluride Sports in Mountain Village.
“It was a pretty smooth process, but I’m really glad we did it (yesterday) because it would have taken longer if we had done it today,” said Williams.
If you are looking to rent equipment from local stores, make a reservation as early as possible, otherwise you may be out of luck.