Despite very vocal opposition from some on the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) trade show committee, including a pointed letter to the industry from Dave Auer, president of Fischer Skis U.S. advocating a later show, the trade show committee has confirmed that the next SIA SnowSports Show will take place Jan. 26-29, 2004, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. The show will again be preceded by the buying group show, Winter Sports Market, organized by Sports Specialists, Ltd. and Ski Merchandising Corp.
During the meeting, SIA unveiled an entirely new branding campaign and graphic look for the 2004 show that marks an historic milestone for SIA, the 50th anniversary of the trade association. The campaign was developed by The Factory Design Labs, a Denver-based company.
The trade show committee made a number of recommendations for the 50th anniversary celebration including a special opening night party featuring industry luminaries and athletes who have shaped the trade association's history. SIA has told SNEWS that plans will be announced as they are finalized.
During the meeting, future trade show dates were also approved and confirmed: Jan. 24-27, 2005; Jan. 23-26, 2006; and Jan. 22-25, 2007. The show will continue to be held in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
According to SIA, the committee reviewed research from the 2003 show that indicated the majority of attendees were satisfied with the length of the show and the hours. The 2004 show again will run four days with official show hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, the final day of the show. The show floor will be open for pre-arranged appointments from 8 to 9 a.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m., Monday through Wednesday. Early morning appointments also will be available on the final day of the show from 8 to 9 a.m.
The show will be followed by a series of on-snow demos and regional indoor shows that are organized by industry rep associations. Representatives from the New England, Eastern, Southeastern, Midwest, Midwestern and Western rep associations reaffirmed their support for the continued positioning of SIA as the kick-off show followed by regional on-snow demos and regional writing shows.
SNEWS View: Despite continued grumbling and threats of saber-rattling from snow-sport industry members, including the email and letter-forwarding campaigning from Larry Abelman of Okemo, SIA is holding firm on the early trade show dates. And good for them. While the early show isn't perfect, it's a darn-sight better than the dying albatross that the vocal opposition seems to remember so fondly as a show that worked. Please -- media stopped attending, retailers stopped attending, and companies were wondering why they were even exhibiting. Does this decision to go early make sense to everyone? No. Is it possible to make a single decision that will ever make sense to everyone SIA serves? Apparently not. While Dave Auer asserts that, "As the president of Fischer Skis U.S. with 30 percent of the U.S. market in X-C skis, I do not want this show at the end of January. Neither does Atomic or Alpina. For us (Nordic) works with an end of Feb/First week of March," we would humbly point out that either the right hand is not talking to the left, or the left doesn't appear to care what the right says. In either case, the Nordic contingent, including members from those same companies that Auer says want later dates, have told SNEWS repeatedly that the early dates are best for them, even though their alpine brethren do not agree. The bottom line is the continued in-fighting amongst SIA members serves only to weaken the entire association and the trade show that provides the majority of funding the association and its members rely on. SNEWS has a solution that will stop all the kvetching -- SIA could stop producing a national trade show completely and leave that to a for-profit entity such as VNU. Don't like that? Neither do we. The other solution is to figure out how to get along, settle your differences, and get to work on collectively promoting and supporting the trade show no matter what the dates are for goodness sake.