Thursday December 7, 2023

Two Wintertime Trends for Unique Times

Photo: The Gondola Shop/Design: Alex Brooks
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You don’t need a fancy rink to go ice skating, or a Quebec chalet reservation to enjoy the confines of a gondola with your friends.

Ranging from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, at-home ice rink building kits have seen a remarkable increase in interest.

“COVID sort of triggered everyone to purchase a backyard rink,” Blair Robertson, co-owner of Ice N’Go, told the Wall Street Journal. The Montreal-based company tripled its sales this winter.

NiceRink, a Wisconsin-based company, more than doubled its sales. And Newtown, Mass. company EZ ICE, which can assemble its rinks in under 60 minutes, saw such increased demand it was forced to open additional warehouses and manufacturing sites.

If you’d rather stay seated, some eateries are now incorporating ski gondolas to maintain social distancing guidelines. 

Dominique Bastien, who owns the Gondola Shop in Fruita, Colo., told Fast Company she bought 200 retired resort gondolas several years before the pandemic.

After being contacted by roughly 50 restaurants across the country inquiring about her gondolas, she pounced on the opportunity to pivot from selling to private backyards to providing public dining enclosures.

The gondolas run between $14,000 and $20,000, depending on restoration. While they won’t lift you to a restaurant at the top of a mountain, you can still eat and drink inside one at sea level.

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