INCLINE VILLAGE- End of season business is booming for Incline's ski industry. Thanks to last week's early springtime snow storm, local resorts and businesses are looking at a longer and busier spring than they ever expected.
"It's definitely affected our attendance, absolutely," Diamond Peak Ski Resort Manager Ed Youmans said of the storm. "This week that we're just getting through right now has been way beyond our expectations. We were running sort of at or below average for the month of March. But after the last 10 days, we've exceeded our expectations by over 10 percent for the month. It's been a nice little boost at the end of the month."
So far no plans have been made to extend Diamond Peak's season beyond its April 17 closing date, but Youmans said that a change might not be too far off.
"That date was actually set during our budgeting process more than a year ago," Youmans said. "We really don't know what to expect right now because this past week has been so far beyond anything that we would have expected, in terms of skier visits. We're going to see what happens Monday and Tuesday and that's going to tell us where our season is going to go. If it keeps on running strong we'll keep the ski area open."
Diamond Peak isn't the only Incline business trying to keep up with demand. Leith Henry, buyer for the Village Ski Loft, said that unusually high end of season business has nearly drained her store of merchandise.
"Just in the last month or three weeks we've sold through 35 percent of our left over inventory," she said. "It might even be more than that. I'm being very conservative."
The same goes for Porter's Ski and Sport. Lisa Batchelder, manager of the Incline Porter's, said sales of all ski and snowboard merchandise have been outstanding. She said sales were up significantly from the past two years, particularly in the Incline store.
"We're coming out of a drought period - hopefully we are coming out of it," Youmans said. "I think there's been a lot of pent-up skier demand out there that's been waiting out these dry years. We're seeing some of it now and, if we have a good season, we'll see more of it come out next year."