Governor declares January 'Learn a Winter Sport' month

Posted at: 01/03/2013 5:50 PM
Updated at: 01/03/2013 5:53 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Winter is hitting New Mexico, and more people going down the ski slopes means more money coming into New Mexico's economy.

The New Mexico Department of Tourism announced "Learn A Winter Sport Month" from January 4 through 31. The proclamation is designed to get kids outside and have their families join in the fun of winter sports. Kids get rentals and gear for $30 from Friday through the end of January.

The proclamation happened Thursday morning at Sport Systems in Albuquerque on Montgomery. One family, shopping in the store, talked about getting active in the winter.

"It's a great thing to do to be active in the winter. Lots of people think you just have to stay inside and watch TV or play video games.  And there's so much to do in the winter here," Sylvia Ho said.

Her family recently moved from California and said she could tell an immediate difference in the quality of skiing.

"We just love New Mexico. We think it's so much better than Lake Tahoe because the snow is better. It's not as crowded. It's not as expensive. You don't have to drive forever to get there," Ho said.

New Mexico brought in $477.6 million from winter tourism revenue from 854,963 visits to the varioius ski areas in 2011-2012. And winter jobs in the state total over 2,500.

That money includes people buying gear and Sport Systems sells plenty for ski and snowboard enthusiasts. Duane Kinsley is the owner of the store and said 2011-2012 was huge for them.

"In fact in our 26 year history, last year was a record year for us. Lots of snow. People were excited. It was a great year for us," Kinsley said.

Because the last winter brought in so much cash, Kinsley said numbers have started strong for 2012-2013, too.

"The start of the preseason before the season started, people were excited also. So last year was a good snow year and pre-season were record numbers," Kinsley said.