Ready for winter? Buy gear and book trips now.

Arlberg Ski Shop and Gorham Bike and Ski saw customers coming to buy snow gear earlier than usual. As ski season approaches, they say buy now.

PORTLAND, Maine – The weather this week might not look like the winter season is approaching, but ski shop workers have already seen an increase in the number of customers coming to prepare for the slopes.

“A lot of people got there a lot faster than in previous years,” said Adam Medeiros, who works at Arlberg Ski Shop in Portland on Tuesday. I will have.

Between ski boot testers, Medeiros said he saw many people interested in starting their skiing or snowboarding careers pass through the store. He said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are looking for new ways to explore the outdoors.

David Palese is the General Manager of Gorham Bike and Ski located in downtown Portland. He said he has seen an increase in cross-country ski sales over the past two years.

“This increase in cross-country ski sales was surprising. We never thought cross-country skiing would be so popular in the United States,” he added.

He also recommends that people place their new starter or plank order as soon as possible. He said manufacturers will be supported this year, so once some products go out of stock it will be difficult to find them this season.

“So really once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Palese added.

The Maine Tourism Association also expects the busy summer and fall to extend into this winter.

“I don’t think we are anticipating any slowdown,” said CEO Tony Cameron. “Anything anyone wants to do for the winter, definitely plan ahead.”

Cameron said there is more to Maine this winter than skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing or snowmobiling. Cities like Portland draw food and drink enthusiasts year round, and more light shows and similar events will always grab attention.

As the state and country continue to suffer from a workforce issue, he said be patient with local restaurants or venues while on vacation or visiting.

“The tourism industry has been one of the main industries in the state of Maine for the past 100 years because of the people who work there,” he added.

Sunday River Resort doesn’t expect a staff shortage this season, according to communications manager Abby Borron.

“People always hope to see their favorite [lift attendant] come back, so I don’t think that’s a big concern for us, ”she said on Tuesday.

The mountain received its first natural snow of the season this week and Borron said it won’t be long before the first trails open. The resort has also extended its snowmaking activity during this off-season.

“There are 125 others [snowguns] through the mountain which has improved our snowmaking capabilities considerably, which is exciting, ”she said. “We will be able to expand the terrain faster than last year and make it a ski mountain for people of all skill levels.

His final tip for Mainers looking to hit the slopes in a few weeks, book ski trips in the middle of the week to avoid long lift lines and expensive lift tickets on weekends.

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