Ski shops still thriving despite lack of snow


BUTTE, Mont. - Every year before the winter season begins snow sports fans can typically be seen gearing up.

But with most of November's snow already gone off the valley floors we decided to head to a local ski shop to see how their feeling about the upcoming season.

"Every year it seems like our winter is getting later and later," said Cody Moerkerke, an employee at Bob Ward & Sons in Butte.

We also asked him how this year's sales going so far compared to last years.

"Really not too bad a lot of people are up keeping last year's equipment and buying pieces and parts for last year's equipment," Moerkerke said.

Even with little to no snow on the ground retailers told NBC Montana products are still flying off the shelves, the most being boots for skiers and snowboarders.

But skiers and snowboarders are not the only ones praying for snow.

We stopped by Two Wheelz in Butte, an ATV dealer that sells snowmobiles and side-by-sides as well.

Matt Krsul is the owner and told me how business has been with his snow machines.

"Based on what we're seeing so far I think the interest is there, people are kind of waiting to see what's going to happen with the snow, it's kind of 'Prove it to me that it's going to snow and we're ready to go,'" Krsul said.

We looked back at last year's snow and double checked with NBC Montana's First Alert Meteorologist Mark Heyka.

He confirmed in 2011, the U.S. saw some of the least extensive snow cover in the past 46 years.

But conditions did improve into the spring season.

Moerkerke told us the late season weather could possibly make up for the slow start.

"The areas are almost starting to accommodate for that with late season openings and you know the skiing into March and April has been excellent the past few years and I can see it continuing to stay that way," Moerkerke concluded.

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