Despite pandemic, North Smithfield ski shop sees boom in business

Blackstone Valley

NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — A North Smithfield ski shop tells 12 News that they’re seeing a spike in sales this winter.

Ski Shop Plus on Route 146 has been in business for more than four decades. Owner and Manager Tom Crowley said skis, snowboards, googles, masks and other equipment have been flying off the shelves.

The R.I. Department of Health has said time and time again that it is safer to be outdoors during the pandemic, and some Rhode Islanders are choosing to do just that by hitting the slopes during the winter months.

“This year between the snow that’s falling right now, and the fact no one has anything better to do, the ski industry has been out of control,” Crowley said.

Crowledy said keeping their rentals, snowboards and skis fully stocked has been tough with the uptick in business.

He said it’s something he didn’t expect this year.

“Our rentals have been fantastic, we have been selling out every week and a lot of people have been buying because we run out of rentals and they just realize it’s a good investment,” Crowley said. “We’ve reordered goggles at least two or three times, we’ve reordered face masks a bunch of times.”

“The gear is tough to find. There is not much inventory nationally,” he continued. “My snowboard wall is embarrassing, there isn’t much left.”

Skiing and snowboarding are both sports in which people normally wear masks, which Crowley believes makes it a COVID-19 friendly activity.

He said some mountains are making limited time slots for skiers and closing lodges to keep people socially distanced.

“We’re trying to keep everyone as safe as possible,” Crowley said. “Once you get to the mountains, they are really limiting the amount of exposure so if you travel with your party, you ride the lift with your party.”

“Even if you’re a single going up there they try to at least have singles on opposite ends of the lift,” he continued. “As long as everyone is wearing a mask and it’s an outdoor sport, everyone is staying safe and having fun.”

Crowley said some customers have admitted to buying new gear after receiving their stimulus check.

He said there is often a rush to the mountains once the snow starts falling, though during the winter, most mountains are snow-covered all winter long.

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