The five-month ski season pumps about $250 million into the state's economy, and employs about 5,000 people on and off the slopes, some as far away as Charleston.
Buddie Clendenin, vice president of Charleston's SportMart Superstore, said the current ski season has been a good one for his store, which sells and offers seasonal leases of skiing and snowboarding gear to Kanawha Valley snow enthusiasts.
"Our sales are weather related," he said, "and thanks to the weather we've been having this year, we're pretty well sold out for this season."
Several years ago, SportMart moved from single-day and weekend ski and snowboard rentals to season-long leases. The leases, which cost about $150 a season for skis, boots and poles, essentially pay for themselves, when compared to renting gear by the day at resorts, if the leaseholder hits the slopes four or five times a year, Clendenin said.
Restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores and motels also benefit from the presence of the ski resorts.
Started by a group of industry officials in 2007, the Learn to Ski and Snowboard program offers discounts on lessons and gear and other incentives to those giving snow sports a try. For more information, visit www.skiandsnowboardmonth.org or www.goskiwv.com.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.