SnowSports Industries America (SIA) has announced it will work with regional rep associations to launch a National Nordic Test Series that will begin soon after the close of the 2003 SIA SnowSports Show. The Test Series is the brainchild of the SIA Nordic Committee and is intended to allow retailers to test the latest in Nordic gear on the snow conditions where the products will be sold.
The series will officially be introduced at a special "Brats and Beer" lunch on January 30 during the SIA show at Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.
According to Steve Kvinlaug, chairman of the SIA Nordic Committee and vice president of marketing for Alpina, "SIA is currently the only national show where leading suppliers in the Nordic community will exhibit. We are all introducing some innovative new lines in touring, racing, telemark and backcountry products at SIA, but we want the buyers to be able to try the products in their own backyards."
The first Nordic test series demo will take place at Copper Mountain, Colo., February 4-6. Four other sites will host a "Brats and Beer" event, co-sponsored by the Cross Country Ski Areas Association (CCSSA). These include: Sun Valley, Idaho (Feb. 10-12); Minneapolis, Minn. (Feb. 11-12); Mt. Bachelor, Ore. (Feb. 19-20); and Mountain Meadows, Vt. (Feb. 24). Registered retail buyers will receive a free branded backpack with products from presenting Nordic companies at the four luncheons.
SNEWS View: Good for SIA. There is no doubt in our mind or most any other retailer we've spoken to, that a one- or two-day demo at a national trade show is useless for testing, unless of course, that retailer happens to be from the region the trade show is held. This is not to say that Outdoor Retailer's demo is useless. It is a great time for free skiing and snow play and, if treated as the party it really should be, could be a fantastically fun event. As for SIA, lending its marketing/event supportÂ and hospitality to the regionals should go far in helping the rep associations amp up the energy, attendance and efficiency of the respective regional shows. Regional demos are, frankly, the only effective way for stores to make educated and calculated buying decisions. Now, if SIA can just do something about guaranteeing snow across the country when we all need itâ€¦OK, maybe that's asking a bit much.