Industry Wraps Up the 2015 SIA Snow Show
DENVER, Colo. (Feb. 1, 2015) – Snow Show attendees awoke to find five inches of fresh snow covering the streets of Denver. For an industry driven by snow it was the perfect way to wrap up the 2015 SIA Snow Show and Sourcing Snow at the Colorado Convention Center. Throughout the four-day event, retro looks and nods to the past could be found in both snowboard and skiing – with exhibitors looking to their roots for inspiration on product design, styling and fashion. However, it was apparent the industry is still very focused on the next generations of snow sports enthusiasts.
“It seems like we’re going back to where we were before- regular camber boards instead of crazy camber profiles, which simplifies selling to customers for us and not having something that just looks different but actually works well. I also saw a lot of retro looking outerwear with more muted colors,” Eric Schmidt, Modern Skate & Surf, Landsing, MI.
“Snowboarding is at a point in its lifetime where it is returning to its roots,” said Arbor’s Sean Black “Surfing embodies the roots of our lifestyle.”
“Skiing is and always has been fun, which makes it as appealing now as it was 50 years ago,” commented HEAD/Tyrolia communications manager, Julia Blumenfeld. “The allure of skiing is the same as it has been for generations.”
As in years past, reconnecting and catching up with industry friends was a priority throughout the Snow Show aisles.
“The Snow Show gives us the chance to high-five, reconnect and just see a lot of old friends,” commented Calvin Egbert of Milosport in Salt Lake City, UT, which received SIA’s Mountain Retailer of the Year Award.
“We come to SIA to see, feel and try all of the products we can’t at our regional shows. This is my third year and it gets better every time,” commented Julia Schoepfle, Ski Valley Ski & Board, Beach Haven, PA.
“We had an awesome four days from a sales and industry awards standpoint for us,” commented Matt Berkowitz, Director of Alpine Marketing & Product for Fischer, which won Outside’s Gear of the Show and Skiing Magazine’s Hot Gear award for Fischer’s Profoil.
Before the Show doors opened, thousands of industry members turned out for SIA’s first-ever INDUSTRY + INTELLIGENCE with daylong educational offerings, market intelligence, networking opportunities, keynote speakers and social gatherings. The day included nearly 20 sessions the day before the Show giving retailers, reps and suppliers time to focus on education without cutting into appointments.
“We were thrilled with the level of participation for SIA’s inaugural INDUSTRY + INTELLIGENCE,” commented SIA President, David Ingemie. “SIA always strives to share resources and knowledge that assist the industry in making better business choices and ultimately grow snow sports. We know how demanding schedules are on the show floor and this pre-Show format was created with that in mind.”
“I thought our stores knew a lot about social media, but the social media panel I sat in on was so knowledgeable. I was texting the information back to our managers – it was great information,” said Lisa Hollenbeck, Alpine Shop, Saint Louis, MO.
During INDUSTRY + INTELLIGENCE, SIA Director of Research Kelly Davis delivered her Product Category Overviews to a packed room, giving attendees an overview of the market as well as information about the new NPD data system and SIA’s Downhill Consumer Intelligence Project (DCIP), which touched upon the challenge of marketing to the next generation of snow sports participants.
Reaching Gen Z, born in the mid-2000’s and beyond, is becoming crucial for creating a pipeline of customers for decades to come. The next generation is more than 60 million strong and, according to SIA’s Downhill Consumer Intelligence Project, is already attributed with $200 million in spending power.
“Kids are much savvier consumers than they’ve ever been before,” says Adam Garry, president of Boulder Gear. ‘They are the decision-maker as opposed to an influencer of the decision. They have access to more information on products.”
Here are some of the major trends, broken down by category, found within the aisles of the 2015 SIA Snow Show.
Consumers rarely purchase a jacket just to be worn on the slopes, and in 2015/2016 they’ll find a full range of technical jackets with fresh urban-influenced designs for both men and women. Many brands were showing lines that were inspired by their roots or carried a retro vibe. Classic anoraks, natural fibers like wool and leather and elegant throwback sweaters were found throughout the show.
“We wanted to wake people’s memory of us being the original ski sweater company, so we went behind the black curtain and came out with something revolutionary to shake things up” said Robert Yturri, Obermeyer’s senior vice president of global sales.
“Something Orage has traditionally been known for is poppier colors, and in the past few years we’ve gotten away from that. This year, people wanted to see that again so we’ve gone back to our roots of bright, interesting colors. We’re also infusing a street style into our outerwear that truly performs in mountain environments but looks great off the slopes as well,” said Mike Nick, vice president sales/marketing at Orage.
“Now we’re seeing everything become a lot more abstract – like camo-floral – and fluid softer, organic prints,” says Lane Fowler of NILS. “Maybe it has to do with how everything, even people are becoming more self-aware, more organic and it’s feeding into what we see in fashion.”
Last year’s “polar vortex” had a big impact on the apparel category last season – driving sales of apparel up 4 percent in dollars. And, apparel sales continue to be strong going into the current season — from August-November 2014, total “tops” sales were up 15 percent according to the NPD Group.
Kids’ apparel has been a strong market in snow sports and manufacturers are providing upscale features, just like their parents’ ski/snowboard apparel. Products are also being designed for kids that can be used multiple ways to adapt to changing weather and seasons — two-in-one jackets, urban-inspired designs that are perfect for both school and the slopes.
“To have jackets that serve more than one function is a convenience and financially makes more sense,” said Eider Marketing Manager, Maro LaBlance.
Snowboard brands are turning to the past for the newest designs and enhancing them for performance and versatility to handle both powder and the backcountry.
Camber and camber-dominant hybrids are making a comeback and boots and bindings are leaning toward simple designs but sophisticated technology. The backcountry boom in snowboarding continues to grow, making it nearly impossible to find a snowboard company who doesn’t offer at least one splitboard model in their line.
2015/16 snowboard apparel is finding inspiration in both the streets and the peaks and combines them with essential technical features. Great examples are technical flannels and waterproof hoodies. From a growing interest in board shapes to an emphasis on slashing turns and catching “white waves” riders and brands are tapping surfing for inspiration.
“I wanted to build something that had the grace and fluidity that I find in surfing,” said new CRAFT exhibitor Aaron Leibowitz of Soulmotion in Missoula, MT. “I visited Hokkaido in Japan and I found these riders with this surf inspired style of board, riding in relationship with the mountain. Seeing how well this style does in the trees, the carving it allows for, I knew I had to make one. One of the boards we have here is actually inspired by an old Sims Switchblade. I think it represents a new way forward for snowboarding, inspired by the roots and soul of the sport.”
Go light is the mantra for 2015-16 in skis and flat skis continue to outperform systems in the market but performance is still top of mind. Super-fat powder pigs have apparently seen their day; a narrower, more versatile width is what’s selling. Lightweight is also a factor with alpine boots and bindings as well as improved hike modes for the growing AT hybrid market.
“Customers are primarily switching from tele to AT for backcountry or one boot they can use for resort and backcountry travel,” said Kim Walker, president, Outdoor Divas, Boulder, CO.
There’s also influx of carbon, as well as strategically milled-out cores responding to consumer demands for lighter products, convenient features and more versatility.
“Skis are lightening up all the time with the new technologies that are visual and affect sensations on the snow, like reduce swing weights,” commented Kenny Friedman, Vail Resorts/Beaver Creek Sports, CO.
The Nordic market is having a moment – in fact, cross country ski equipment sales were up 15 percent in dollars last year. Brands are introducing features that allow for going between conventional trail cross-country to backcountry skiing. Minimizing weight and maximizing performance are also top of the list – using carbon and other lightweight, but strong, materials to shave off ounces and increase stiffness.
To address the lifestyle interest in cross country skiing, we are seeing more progressive colors being introduced by the clothing suppliers. Bright colors as well as muted color ranges are becoming more mainstream with neon highlights. Waxless technology continues to be refined for better performance across the classic ski product range eliminating the need for kick wax, streamlining the pre-ski process and get on the snow quicker.
“With the participation growth of over a million skiers in the last 2-3 years, we are seeing more alpine retailers stocking cross country gear. Their customers are asking for it and the suppliers are actively creating complete equipment packages to accommodate this need,” Reese Brown, SIA Nordic Director.
Safety in helmets continues to get amped-up, as riders grow braver in terrain parks and backcountry. Brands are increasingly using technology like MIPS Brain Protection System, as well as their own proprietary technology systems. However, the tech aspects do not take away from the aesthetics – look for new colors and fun fresh designs and colors.
Goggle-makers were focused on improving ventilation and better ways to stay fog-free. One of the biggest trends in goggle and sunglass technology included GPS, digital video, cameras and voice command features. Rimless goggles with interchangeable lenses are big trends as well.
Hat styles for 2015/16 run the gamut, from eclectic and bohemian to luxury and outdoor adventure. This season, texture is emphasized over pattern, companies are connecting with international communities and innovative features are shaping up.
Handwear manufacturers now offer an increasingly wide range of options — from lithium-battery powered hand furnaces to packable feather-light gloves for skinning to backcountry powder stashes. Next season will see new performance features, fashionista appeal and the rediscovery of the natural comfort of leather as well as the simple “work glove” with some modern touches to add to its performance on the hill.
Barefoot-like coverage, gender-specific ventilation zones ad graduated compression are just some of the tech features found in socks for 2015/16. Sock styles are also continuing the retro trend with nods to state roots, protected lands and national history.
Baselayers & Midlayers
Baselayer graphics are trending a bit softer for 2015/16- compared to the geometric and striped prints of previous years. Companies are designing base layers to be comfortable and wearable on/off the slopes. The Midlayer category is seeing an increase in high-tech pieces that can also pass for lifestyle pieces. Lightweight insulation, merino wool, cashmere, fleece and hybrids of various materials are all used in these great looking essentials for layering.
After the industry packs up their booths, samples and supplies they’ll head on out to the On-Snow Demo/Ski-Ride Fest and Nordic Demo at Copper Mountain (Feb. 2-3). Hosted in-conjunction with the Western Winter Sports Reps Association’s (WWSRA) Rocky Mountain Demo and in partnership with Cross Country Ski Areas Association (CCSAA) the two-day Demo, allows snow sports retailers and media to hit the slopes and trails to test next season’s ski, snowboard, AT, backcountry, and cross-country products.
For more information regarding SIA Snow Show events, hotels/travel and exhibitors, go to: SIAsnowshow.com. For 24/7 updates on all things 2015 Snow Show, check SIA’s Latest and follow SIA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We’ll be sending highlights before and during the Show to keep you in the know. Use #SIA15, #SIA15intel and #SIA15demo to join the conversation.
SIA 2015 Snow Show Highlights
INDUSTRY + INTELLIGENCE
Included educational and networking opportunities including the Shmooz job fair, The Assembly on mountain tourism and Product Category Overviews by SIA Director of Research Kelly Davis hosted on the day before the Snow Show, when retailers, reps and suppliers have more time to focus on education.
Colorado officials, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, Vail Resorts, Vail Valley Foundation plus SIA Board Members officially started the Snow Show and celebrated the upcoming 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. Denver’s 9News anchor, Cheryl Preheim officially welcomed the world to Colorado and the World Championships.
The NEW Nordic Center presented by Cross Country Ski Areas Association (CCSAA) and media partners, Cross Country Skier, Ski Post, SkiTrax, Snowshoe Magazine, XCSkiResorts.com offered buyers an exclusive preview of apparel, equipment, accessories and technologies specific for the cross country and snowshoe experience with marketing and merchandising education.
In its third year, Sourcing Snow has become an essential event for domestic and international raw mat suppliers to network with design, production, and product development staff from SIA Member brands creating a unique one-stop shop for all things snow.
Universal Sports Network Film 2015 SIA Snow Show
Co-hosts Nick Gismondi and Ramona Bruland filmed behind-the-scenes at both the Snow Show and On-Snow Demo. The 2015 SIA Snow Show program will premiere on Friday, Feb. 20, from 8 to 9 p.m. (EST) on the heels of 2015 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships in Vail/Beaver Creek.
The Sessions @ SIA
Editors of TransWorld Snowboarding, Snowboarder and TransWorld Business, interviewed industry leaders from their custom built set on the Show floor – adding a snowboard perspective to the mix.
CRAFT @ SIA
Exhibit returned for its second year – featuring craft brands aka: independent, smaller ski and snowboard manufacturers. Each evening the CRAFT area hosted happy hours featuring craft brewed beer.
Protect Our Winters (POW) hosted “burritos and bloodies” with a presentation entitled “CLIMATE CHANGE, NOW WHAT?” by David Roberts, who writes about climate change and energy politics for Grist.org, one of the foremost environmental online magazines. Roberts will provide an anecdotal look at the current state of the climate battle, and an outlook for the challenge ahead in 2015.
Winter on the Rocks
Icelantic’s Winter on the Rocks, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, now in its fourth year, packed the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Headliners included Major Lazer, Damien Marley and Holy Ghost.
Backcountry Experience included the launch of Project Zero’s Backcountry Starts Here campaign, convening retailers, reps, and the media to consider and discuss safety issues surrounding this growing segment of the industry.
OIWC’s Keynote Presentation & Leadership Awards
Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC), with support from NPD Group and SIA, celebrated the impact of women in snow sports at a reception honoring 2015 Pioneering Women Award winner Linda Rodney, sales manager North America with Giro, and 2015 First Ascent Award winner Lesley Betts, Product Manager for snowboards at Burton.
16th Annual TransWorld SNOWboarding Riders’ Poll Awards
Held at Denver’s Ogden Theater, where the Video of the Year, The Legend award to Chris Roach, Men’s and Women’s Rider awards and TransWorld Snowboarding Readers Choice awards were handed out.
Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2014, SnowSports Industries America (SIA) is a non-profit member-owned trade association with a long history of working to support the snow sports industry. SIA, based in the Washington, DC Metro-Area with offices in CO, OR and RI, works year-round with North American snow sports suppliers, retailers, resorts, reps and service providers to develop products and programs for their individual and collective business needs. With member support and industry participation, SIA annually hosts the industry’s largest core winter sports trade show, the SIA Snow Show, along with the On-Snow Demo/Ski-Ride Fest and the Sourcing Snow supplier show. SIA also helps retailers and resorts connect with snow sports participants around the country through Snowlink.com. Learn more at Snowsports.org