Snow Show shuffle: SIA moves dates again to curb retailer fallout

The Snow Show gets new dates -- again -- following an emergency meeting of SIA officers and the industry's top retailers and reps. SNEWS takes a look at how this late-breaking decision was reached, as well as the new level of cooperation it might help create.
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It’s back to the future for the SIA Snow Show, as dates for the annual wintersports tradeshow were changed for the second time in a little more than a month.

On April 28, 2011, the SnowSports Industries America Board of Directors announced that the 2013 Snow Show would be held in Denver from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3, as of 2013. Previously, SIA had announced the 2013 show would be held Jan.12-15 in order to avoid conflicts with Outdoor Retailer Winter Market and the ispo show in Germany, but that decision was met with considerable resistance from wintersports retailers and reps.

“I just feel like the retailer wasn’t considered in any of this,” Steve Rogers, president of the Sports Specialists Ltd. buying group told SNEWS® when the earlier dates were first announced. Rogers said retailers couldn’t leave their stores during the critical holiday sales period, and might not attend. SIA argued that the new dates represented the best bridge between the rapidly diverging hardgoods and softgoods sales cycles, and also assured that the Snow Show would be the kick-off show for the worldwide wintersports market.

Those conflicting viewpoints came to a head during an emergency meeting of industry representatives held the week of April 18 in Baltimore, Md., where members of the National Ski and Snowboard Retailers Association (NSSRA), of all the winter sports rep associations, as well as the SMC, SSL and NBS retail buying groups sat down with SIA President David Ingemie and the SIA Board.

Immediately following the meeting, the later show dates were put back in place.

“At the end of the day, the voice of the retail community and our sales reps was heard loud and clear,” Rossignol North America President and SIA Chairman Tim Petrick said in a release announcing the newest show dates. “The earlier dates were not going to work for the U.S. retail community, so we needed to find a solution that worked for our customers.”

Talking to SNEWS, Petrick said that at the meeting, the need to revert to the later dates became obvious. “If we don’t have retailers, we don’t have a show,” he said, adding that, “That second week of January is very busy at retail, and we found that the fourth week in January really is a good compromise for all the groups.”

Rogers said the move assures that SSL and SMC will continue to run their buying group shows prior to the Snow Show -- something the earlier dates had put in serious doubt -- while Brent Mohr, president of New England Winter Sports Representatives Inc., said, “The later dates in January are a positive move for our members and the retail community at large.”

Ingemie told SNEWS that he was relieved the later dates were still an option at The Colorado Convention Center in Denver, when the meeting was held. "We're happy that Visit Denver and the Convention Center were able to be flexible and work with us until we were able to get all the stakeholders together for a decision," he said.

And, he added, one of the unforeseen benefits of the meeting was that it created a new sense of cross-purpose between the industry’s many constituents. “SIA has always been a collaborative organization, and we have always been about trying to get as much input as we can,” he said. “It’s always beneficial to have all the elements together in a meeting to achieve this kind of result.”

“I think everybody came out of this with a much better understanding of just how each other’s business works,” said Petrick. “This is not the only time we’ll do a meeting like this, with all of the retailers, vendors and reps.”

--Peter Kray

Send your WinterSports news to Peter Kray at pkray@snewsnet.com. Subscribers can also post WinterSports news releases directly to the SNEWS website. Email us at snewsbox@snewsnet.com to learn about posting your own news releases, getting your WinterSports headlines, or with any other questions or comments.

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