SIA to Expand Research and Programs Based on Backcountry Task Force

SIA recently hosted its first-ever Backcountry Task Force Meeting in Denver, Colo. Representatives from the backcountry community gathered to discuss the current state of the category and safely growing the market.
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SnowSports Industries America (SIA) recently hosted its first-ever Backcountry Task Force Meeting in Denver, Colorado. Representatives from the backcountry community gathered to discuss the current state of the category, while SIA shared current research and facilitated a dialog on growing and improving the backcountry offerings in the marketplace.

Thanks to the daylong discussions, SIA will be pulling together several short-term initiatives based on feedback from the group. In the weeks ahead, SIA will be drafting a guide that will act as a retail prospectus including important backcountry-specific research to help retailers embrace the category and its opportunities.

“It was amazing to see SIA rally together such a passionate and knowledgeable group of backcountry Influencers from the marketplace," said Dean Cummings. "Everyone agreed that the timing was perfect as the category is still growing and we all want to help retailers become both product and safety awareness experts for the benefit of the consumer. Lots of creative ideas came to the surface and I'm confident we'll see some great results,” added Dean Cummings of H20G.

Other plans include expanding the Backcountry Experience exhibit at the SIA Snow Show (Jan. 31-Feb, 3) calling out individual backcountry profiles (i.e.: lift accessed backcountry skiing and snowboarding, pow-seekers/kicker builders and classic backcountry touring, etc.) with examples of specific product and educational safety/awareness needs. SIA will also create a detailed Backcountry Category Summary Report similar to existing Alpine, Apparel and Snowboard Reports.

“Backcountry skiing is certainly a growth opportunity for our industry right now. Whether accessed via chair lift or the trailhead it's still the backcountry and it's our job as an industry to promote the products and knowledge for a safe experience. The group SIA assembled had some great ideas to jumpstart things. I am looking forward to being a part of this as it continues,” commented Mike Hattrup, Director K2 Backside.

SIA's Task Force included thirty of the industry's most knowledgeable, passionate and experienced backcountry experts including guides, athletes, forecasters and legends. All members were in favor of growing the backcountry category, but also shared stories of over-confident, uneducated consumers heading out in the backcountry unprepared – and in some cases – endangering themselves and others.

“We wanted to create a discussion to find out what SIA can do to help grow the backcountry market segment from a safety/avalanche awareness perspective as well as exploring retail opportunities within the category at both alpine ski and snowboard shops,” commented Dave Wray, SIA's West Region Sales/Marketing Manager and Backcountry Task Force Facilitator.

Task Force discussion topics included consistency in backcountry messaging vernacular, lift accessed backcountry and its effect on consumer trends, assisting avalanche centers and helping retailers (both alpine and snowboard) embrace the category, become experts and realize the revenue potential.

“I was thrilled to learn SIA had organized this meeting and is focusing more efforts on backcountry — I wasn't sure what to expect, but I feel like the big issues were covered and I like what I'm hearing about coordinated efforts with manufacturers, retailers and guides,” said Marcus Peterson of Ortovox.

For more information on the presentation or more information on SIA's backcountry research or the Snow Show's Backcountry Experience exhibit, please contact Dave Wray at: or 503-708-1947.

SnowSports Industries America (SIA) is the national not-for-profit, North American member-owned, trade association representing suppliers and service providers of snow sports products with constituents in the retailer, rep and resort communities. Established in 1954, SIA annually produces the SIA Snow Show, the largest snow sports industry trade show, on-snow demo and networking environment globally, while delivering invaluable data/research reports including the Snow Sports Market Intelligence Report, SnowSports RetailTRAKTM and Executive Market Summary. SIA also produces a Supplier Show at the SIA Snow Show called Sourcing Snow; learn more at SIA helps grow the industry with consumer initiatives and websites, and, marketing products, services and programs helping our Members operate more efficiently, bring their products to market and increase participation in snow sports. For more information, check out SnowSports Industries America, 8377-B Greensboro Drive, McLean, VA 22102-3587 (Washington, DC area). Phone: 703-556-9020, Fax: 703-821-8276, Email: