A committee of leaders from 18 snowboard brands and endemic media companies organized by SnowSports Industries America (SIA), the snow sports industry’s member-owned trade association, met this week to review the state of the snowboard category, the buy/sell cycle, snowboard product sales at specialty stores and snowboard participation.
Snowboard Committee members in attendance representing a cross-section of brands included Mike West of 686, Max Jenke of Endeavor Snowboards, Shawn Penrod of Ride, Mikey Leblanc of Holden, Bob Carlson of Arbor, Anthony Scaturro of Flow, Clark Gundlach of Quiksilver, Brad Steward of Bonfire, Scott Keating of Nike, Jared Bevens of Vans, Sasha Dietschi-Cooper of Burton, Dan McNamara of Mervin, Eric Crane of Electric Visual, Jeff Boliba of Burton, Dan Sullivan of Rome SDS, Blue Montgomery of CAPiTA Snowboarding, Chris Engelsman of Grind Media, Adam Cozens of TransWorld Media and Maxx Von Marbod of Nidecker USA.
"From company founders to CEO's, it was an honor to have key players from the snowboard community come together to discuss some major issues within the industry,” said Mike West, founder of 686, chairman of the SIA Snowboard Committee and member of the SIA Board of Directors. “Our discussions have led to taking the next steps on increasing participation through retention and allocating our resources towards increasing healthier sales in retail. Our goal is to work ON snowboarding instead of working IN snowboarding."
The meeting was a constructive opportunity to take a close look at the strengths and weaknesses of the category. "Snowboarders are not afraid of peaks or valleys. Navigating the terrain before us is what we do and we will take these lessons from the mountains to the boardroom as many times as it takes,” said Anthony Sacturro, CEO and president of Flow Sports. “With clear goals, honest cooperation/collaboration and an effective mechanism for change, we can get people stoked to ride and we can fix the internal issues to the mutual benefit all stakeholders.”
Those present reviewed SIA’s latest research about trends in snowboard visits over the past several seasons as well as participation trends by age, gender, region and core focus. Comparing both generational trends and alpine skier, snowboarder and crossover demographics also informed the conversation. With this research as context, the committee reviewed SIA retail and consumer marketing initiatives like Snowlink.com and the Retailer to Consumer Marketing Guidedesigned to increase snow sports participation and sales.
The committee generated many ideas to consider moving forward, such as appointing an SIA snowboard liaison who would develop and execute industry-wide, snowboard-specific programs. It was also suggested that supplier and retailer support of regional snowboard events for families and urban consumers with diverse backgrounds would help get more people riding.
“The SIA Snowboard Committee is filled with talented and diverse people,” said Brad Steward, vice president of brands, action sports at Bonfire. “David Ingemie and the staff do an incredible job of showing the facts, providing us with the implications and keeping us focused on the retailers and riders that are so critical to keeping what's cool about riding front and center in the meetings.”
Many expressed an optimistic outlook for the future. “We are seeing downward trends with visits, but I live in Waitsfield, Vermont and watched a strong year at the resort level. The numbers that they’re going to gather are strong,” said Dan Sullivan, director of sales at Rome Snowboard Design Syndicate and member of the SIA board of directors.
The Snowboard Committee dispersed to address the issues at hand in their own regions and companies. "The three main topics addressed by the committee were bringing new snowboarders to the sport and increasing participation of current snowboarders, the industry buy/sell cycle and how we can make it more efficient for all involved, and increasing sales of snowboard product at retail,” said David Ingemie, SIA president. “The committee came up with a number of action items the SIA staff will review and organize to be addressed by several task forces made up from members of the committee. Stay tuned.”
The mission of SIA’s Snowboard Committee is to expand snowboarding as a sport and to discuss strategic issues, participation, distribution channels, snowboarding vitality and investment in
trade shows. The committee regularly meets to discuss the state of the category. Other committee members not present at the recent meeting include: Chad Perrin of Nidecker USA, Andrew Marinners of Billabong, Tracey Canaday of Never Summer, Bob Gundram of C3, Josh Reid of Rome SDS, Will Howard of Dragon, Dutch Schultz of Volcom, Dennis Leedom of Bern Helmets, Greg Tomlinson of VonZipper, Michael Marxx of Spy Optic.
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SnowSports Industries America (SIA) is a non-profit member-owned trade association that works year-round with North American snow sports suppliers, retailers, reports, reps and service providers to develop products and programs that support 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 and Wintertrails.org.