As ski resorts announce plans to manage crowds, avalanche equipment sales are soaring, leaving search and rescue teams and land managers bracing for record crowds exploring snowy mountains.
Doug Stenclik is stacking skis and lining up a new point-of-sale system at Cripple Creek Backcountry. He wasn’t planning on opening his Avon and Aspen Highlands ski shops in September, but skiers have been buying early and often.
“It’s not slowing down, only picking up. So it’s real,” says Stenclik, whose online sales of touring and backcountry skis, boots and equipment are up fivefold in August and September at his CrippleCreekBC.com site, which has spurred him to open three of his four brick-and-mortar stores earlier than ever before.
“It’s exciting, but it’s also challenging. There are a lot of people coming in who have never been in the backcountry. I think it’s going to be pretty frightening at the trailhead with how many people are showing up this winter,” he says, “but in the same breath, I have to say this is good. There are more people getting out and enjoying human-powered sports on their public lands and recognizing all the things we love about the backcountry.”