SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – Utah is currently at half its normal snowpack for this time of year, and it’s easy to notice with the nearly bare hillsides throughout the Wasatch Front. Businesses that rely on heavy snowfall say they’re bottom line is taking a hit.
Zac Larsen is the owner of Lifthouse Ski Shop which is at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon. He said business has been down around 25 percent over last year.
In a normal bad snow year Larsen said they will still sell gear, but it’s the warm weather that’s hurting sales.
“When your stuff wears out and it’s still warm you can get away with wearing an old pair of gloves or wearing an old jacket,” said Larsen. “You don’t need the base layers.”
Squatters Brew Pub has two locations in Park City, and another two in Salt Lake City. They said both locations have taken a hit, but Park City has been the worst.
“In Park City we’re seeing honestly between a five and 10 percent downturn,” said Hofeling. “Which in the restaurant industry is a very big deal.”
Several skiers and snowboarders told us while it’s the worst year they’ve seen. The resorts have managed to keep the runs nice thanks to snowmaking machines and groomers.
Hofeling said they’ve still noticed a steady stream of tourists, but locals are the ones who seem to be staying away.
Last year brought heavy snow was an ideal year, but some worry this could become more of the norm.
“These sharp declines in the snowfall are making it very, very difficult,” said Hofeling. “Quite honestly I don’t know that I have an answer for you on how we’re going to turn it around.”
Hofeling said the increase of summer events at the resorts has helped to increase overall business. Although the winter is still what they rely on the most.
Larsen said if Utah can get some heavy snowstorms in February and early March they could be OK. Next month is when schools start letting out for Spring break and fresh powder could be a major draw.
Not all of the businesses impacted by the low snow have been with tourism. Contractors who clear snow this time of year note winters like these make it hard on their businesses.