Businesses cash in on winter snow storms
As the flakes kept falling Monday, there was no business like snow business.
It was all hands on deck for ASR crews as the inches accumulated. Their first priority was plowing tarmacs at the airport, a job that hasn’t been plentiful the past few winters.
“We’ve been sanding quite a bit throughout the previous years,” said Tabb Thoms, the company’s founder. “This year it’s all changed. We’re getting back to a normal Alaska.”
During a typical season, ASR used to hire more than 600 employees. As the snow totals dropped, so did the staffing.
“We’re bringing on more people now but before the snow happened, there was less than 30,” Thoms explained
As the powder piled up, skiers at Kincaid Park were eager to hit the trails. Ariel Graham said she looked at the forecast and made a special trip to Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) to gear up.
“New snow pants, and a new jacket I’d been wanting,” she said. “The snow pushed me to get the new jacket.”
Alaska Mountaineering and Hiking staff stayed busy getting skis in tip-top shape.
“While it’s been nice to get a lot of snow, it hasn’t covered all the obstacles so we’re seeing a lot of edge tuning and general base repair,” Travis Zuber said.
Owner Paul Denkewalter said sales were slow at the start of winter but now business has more than doubled.
“It’s like turning the spigot on or off,” he said. “When we have snow in the winter, things are great. I could be a terrible businessman, but if it snows, it works.”
A number of people said they were excited to have fun in the flurry and wanted to get outside before the temperatures plummet.
Correction: An earlier version of this report incorrectly identified ASR as Alaska Snow Removal, a separate company. This has been amended.