The venerable Colorado ritual of preseason ski and snowboard sales will be renewed next week when Christy Sports and Epic Mountain Gear begin selling last year’s inventory at clearance prices to make room for this year’s product lines.
Both retailers, the biggest players in Colorado ski and snowboard sales, say they will be offering up to 60% off last year’s prices. Epic’s sale will begin Monday, while Christy’s Powder Daze will begin Aug. 27. The Epic sale was known as Ski Rex for 26 years, but that name was retired last year.
The roots of the tradition extend back to the 1950s. The popular sales historically occurred over Labor Day weekend, but in recent years retailers bumped up the start. The Christy Sports and Epic Mountain Gear events both will run through Labor Day.
Because of COVID, Powder Daze sales were online only last year. This year, Powder Daze sales will be held at Christy’s Littleton Event Center and its store in Dillon, as well as online. Two Christy locations that typically were part of the company’s Powder Daze sales in the past, Steamboat and Vail, won’t be involved this year. Christy has more than three dozen stores in Colorado.
“Our customers and new customers are going to be stoked at the assortment, the depth and breadth in the deals we’re able to bring forward for Powder Daze,” Christy chief executive Matt Gold said in an interview. “Our inventory is strong. We’ve got a great mix of carry-over product from last year — men’s, women’s, kids, snowboards, skis.”
Epic is tweaking the concept this year, adding a two-week preseason event from Oct. 8-24 at six of its stores that will feature this year’s new equipment lines. Christy will be selling this year’s new gear during Powder Daze.
The Labor Day ski sale tradition began in 1954 at Gart Bros. with Sniagrab (bargains spelled backward). Colorado Ski & Golf got into the Labor Day game in 1994 with Ski Rex, and Christy Sports launched Powder Daze in 2009. Vail Resorts acquired Colorado Ski & Golf in 2010 and renamed the chain Epic Mountain Gear in 2018.
Sports Authority, which had merged with Gart Sports in 2003, went bankrupt in 2016 and that was the end of Sniagrab. Colorado Ski & Golf rubbed it in that year with a downtown billboard depicting the Ski Rex dinosaur mascot and the message, “Bye Bye Sniagrab.”
By whatever name, whether timed for Labor Day or just before, Colorado skiers and snowboarders long ago became accustomed to expect great deals in the preseason sales events. And it wasn’t just big price cuts on equipment and apparel. Savvy consumers knew those events were the place to find multi-day lift ticket packages at many resorts.
That will continue this year. Powder Daze shoppers at the Denver location will be able to snap up deals from Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Steamboat, Monarch, Sunlight, Copper Mountain and Winter Park, and Ikon passes will be selling for $50 off. Loveland 4-Packs also will be sold over Labor Day weekend at Larson’s Ski & Sport in Wheat Ridge.