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Business booms for North Bay ski shop ahead of winter storm

Business booms for Bay Area ski shop ahead of winter storm
Business booms for Bay Area ski shop ahead of winter storm 01:47

KENTFIELD -- The upcoming storm is expected to drop anywhere from one to three feet of snow at the ski resorts, meaning many will be able to open in time for the holidays. For local ski shops, that means big business after some less than stellar years.

Steve Thunen is one of the owners of Uli Seiler Ski Shop in Kentfield. Ever since this storm came into the forecast, they can barely keep up with all the added business.

"The minute the first snow hits, it's kind of like, oh my gosh, I've got to get all my gear ready, except there's only a small number of stores in the entire Bay Area who do this. It's a very specialized line of work," he says.

The shop has been family owned since it opened 50 years ago in 1972. They sell ski and snowboard equipment, and also do rentals and tune ups, but they are best-known for their boot fitting.

"It was really tough in 2013 when the drought was really awful and 2014, it was brutal. When the snow conditions were terrible, instead of going to ski, families, they said, well maybe instead of going skiing, we're going to go to Hawaii, or to Mexico, or to somewhere else," says Thunen.

This year's early snow changes everything.

"We're always worried mother nature will shut us down one day, but it's not today."

The rush of customers started first thing in the morning and never let up.

"If the pass is open, and if my boots are in, I'll definitely be up this weekend," said customer Dillon McMillen. He's going to Heavenly this weekend after seeing the forecasted storm and came into the shop to get all new gear.

"Been off the mountain for a couple years and just getting back, and really excited to be in some powder," says McMillen.

The shop expects to see another rush of customers ahead of the holiday breaks for local schools. Thunen thinks many families will take advantage of the winter break to go up to Tahoe to ski.

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