Central Oregon snow sports shops are facing a down year in sales due to the unusual lack of snow in the area this year.
“This is definitely an unusual ski season for Bachelor and Bend. This is the second-worst one I’ve seen and I’ve lived here since the 70s,” Powder House owner Todd McGee said.
At the end of December, business at Powder House — a snow sport gear retail store in west Bend — should be booming. McGee says the lack of snow has led to a lack of sales.
“It has had an impact on us. Our rentals are down. Retail’s down just a little. But our silver lining is our Nordic and service work is up,” McGee said.
The hit is also being taken at one of our local ski areas. Hoodoo announced Thursday it was canceling its New Year’s Eve party due to lack of adequate base.
While the holiday season has been frustrating for snow sport businesses, it’s been great for downtown Bend business.
“Tons of people coming in all through the season so it’s been pretty good,” said Liz Odell, manager of Lark in downtown Bend.
With no powder days drawing people up to the mountains, those folks are doing some shopping.
“It’s good for us because they need something to do. They’re on vacation. They would normally be up snowboarding and skiing, so now they’re down here,” Odell said.
Although McGee has some worries over the lack of snow, he’s remaining positive and looking forward to the first major snowfall he’s certain will eventually come.
“Obviously we’re concerned, but things have been going pretty good. Everybody’s still working full time. We didn’t have to lay anybody off, which I’m very happy with because a lot of my employees have been with me ten to twenty years.”
Business owners say that while downtown Bend has been very busy, it’s still slightly slower than what they’ve seen in the last few years following the pandemic.