Demand is so high for skis at retail right now that many brands are already selling next season’s models. Rossignol’s S7 has already been sold out at retail for weeks now. The demand for the big, rockered freeride boards is so high that when the brand brought 10 pairs of next years stiffer Super 7 to Cole Sport, in Park City, they sold out that day.
Rossignol has also already begun to ship next year’s standard S7 and Avenger 82ti and will start shipping its new Experience skis next month.
“We decided a year ago that we would take certain models to launch early this coming season,” says Kurt Hoefler, Rossignol alpine division manager. “Obviously it's a good payoff for us because there’s no inventory on the market right now. This is not thousands of pairs, just a few to dealers who want to take a little bit of inventory. I think most will turn into cash by April 1.”
By mid-February Atomic will be selling retailers five skis and seven boots from its 2011/2012 line to fill depleted inventory.
“The product will sell at full price and the margin for the retailers will be great at that time of year,” says Atomic USA general manager, Mike Adams, who noted that the brand is not trying to use the opportunity to actually preship orders. “The biggest appeal will be at resort stores since March is their biggest retail month but we are seeing city shops who are going to backfill orders, too. Retailers can romance it for sure since it is next year’s product.”
Not every brand is going the back to the future route, however.
“Our production has been at such capacity that we really haven’t had the resources to get more than our samples and demos into the country,” says Andrew Couperthwait, Head Wintersports product manager. “And you can get mixed reaction from the dealers when you do this.”
While smaller brands may not have the ability to rush next season’s skis to market, some have stayed ahead of the game with mid-season launches. Colorado-based Liberty had a mid-season release of 2011/2012 skis with 2010/2011 top sheets, amounting to 10 percent of next year’s production run, and sold out of it by December 16. But the brand will not bring more of next season’s product to market now.
“Selling out early in the season is a blessing and a curse,” says Liberty co-owner James Satloff, who noted that the brand will shift product from stores in different geographic regions according to demand and will be ready for early delivery of new product.--Doug Schnitzspahn
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