Denver, CO (February 2, 2014) -- After four days of seeing and hearing about the latest innovations and fashion trends for 2014/15 at the 2014 SIA Snow Show and Sourcing Snow, the industry is heading out for the On-Snow Demo/Ski-Ride Fest at Copper Mountain Resort (Feb. 3-4). With close to two feet of new snow, they’re ready to celebrate today’s groundhog prediction— six more weeks of winter.
The entire industry is feeling inspired by hope of athletic victory with Super Bowl XLVIII tonight and the 2014 Winter Olympics commencing in just five days.
“This is an exciting moment for everyone in snow sports,” said David Ingemie, SIA president. “Walking the Show this year, you couldn’t help but appreciate the huge amount of time and talent required to forge innovation on this scale. And there isn’t one ski or snowboard athlete going to Sochi that hasn’t benefited from our industry’s collective determination to innovate.”
The Winter Games are also a boom at the retail level. “The Olympics is really free advertising for us – it creates extra energy around snow sports. This year it’s pretty cool that the U.S. has a really good chance in pretty much all the snow sports events,” said Spike Clayton, owner of Skirack in Burlington, Vt.
Copper Mountain, the new On-Snow Demo/Ski-Ride Fest location, is home to the U.S. Ski, U.S. Snowboarding, and U.S. Freeskiing Teams and the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center, the only full-length training venue of its kind available early season in the world. Copper Mountain also hosted a massive pep-rally to celebrate and officially announce and name the U.S. Alpine Ski Team in November and the Spring U.S. Grand Prix World Cup in the Road to Sochi.
“In the ski industry, we’re in a unique position to help cultivate that excitement. If you are able to capitalize on that excitement, to push it the right way, I think it can really help sell a lot of product,” said ski racing champion and Olympian, Ted Ligity.
In 2014, the industry celebrates the 60th anniversary of its member-owned and industry-inspired trade association, SnowSports Industries America. SIA has thrived and responded to the changing needs of the industry for six decades under the steady direction of its board of directors. At yesterday’s Annual Meeting and after two, two-year terms as board chairman, K2 Sports Sales and Marketing President Tim Petrick handed the gavel to Bob Gundram, co-founder of Capita Snowboards, Union Bindings and Coal Headwear. With the addition of four female board members during the same meeting, a third of Board of Directors positions are now filled by women: Lisa Branner of Venture Snowboards, Wendy Carey of Seirus Innovation, Patty Duke of Point6, Julie Garry of Outdoor Gear, Erin Snow of Erin Isakov, Annelise Loevlie of Icelantic Skis and Rhonda Swenson of Krimson Klover.
The Show continues to forge the way for snow sports business with changes like moving the Sourcing Snow show to the main Show Floor for the full four days of the SIA Snow Show enabling designers to compare textiles and sourcing services from all over the world.
“We’re happy to have Sourcing Snow on the main level closer to our customers,” said David Rubin, of Thinsulate Insulation, Sourcing Snow exhibitor. “As we work on new technologies not only for current season but for next season it’s good to be near our customers who are at the Show. We also are happy that we get a chance to see people who’ve just started or are making changes in what they do. It gives us a chance to source new business and new opportunities that we may have here.”
SIA has also added to the Show’s green features with the SIA Water Bar presented by Mizu, which helped attendees stay hydrated with reusable bottle and saved more than 2,000 plastic bottles.
Here are some of the major trends, broken down by category, found within the aisles of the 2014 SIA Snow Show.
Everywhere on the Snow Show floor, attendees found hybrid down jackets for layering or wearing as a stand-alone piece, which matches what’s currently selling well at retail.
“Many technical-oriented brands are seeing a 20 percent increase of sales in women’s jackets this winter,” said Kelly Davis, director of research for SIA. “Particularly lightweight synthetic or down-insulated models that double as layering or stand-alone pieces.”
“More and more people are wearing insulators as everyday jackets, so we’re designing quilted, wool and fleece that works on the mountain or in town,” said Maro LaBlance, Eider marketing manager.
Next season’s outerwear also draws heavily from military inspiration, aesthetically with an infusion of camo prints and functionally with temperature regulating insulation. For snowboard apparel, streetwear and youth culture is greatly impacting design. In women’s apparel look for longer silhouettes, urban styling, deep colors like Bordeaux and global prints.
“The thing I’m most excited about are the 2014/15 products that I’m seeing – from the materials to the design. It is all really cool. There ‘s a big trend going around with the military style and more retro colors that are bright and more neutral,” John Kiser of evo in Seattle, Wash.
The chatter in snowboards was all about the craft of building decks. Taking a page from the revolution in surfboard shaping, snowboard makers are experimenting with new shape designs. Lines were also being streamlined and rider-influenced development remains key and more manufacturers are adding splitboards to their lines.
“I think there has been a renewed thing in snowboarding with younger companies and rider-only companies that are coming up,” said Cory Llewelyn of Arkade Snowboarding in Salt Lake City. “I love seeing the art in the snowboard products like Nitro Snowboards and the rider-focused companies coming back to the Show like i.N.i. Cooperative.”
In boots, zonal lacing closures or a hybrid of the two plus heat-molded liners are enhancing fit. Boot designers are also tapping into the sneaker world for inspiration, and creating low-profile looks.
Custom bindings are on the rise with highbacks that rotate, dial-in sizing and adjustable canting. Some suppliers are also offering bindings that are compatible with any boot or board.
Product definitions are blending and blurring in the ski category, with skis and boots that are ready for the backcountry and at resorts both in-bounds and out-of-bounds. More ski participants than ever are identifying themselves as “freeskiers” rather than “alpine” though they are still buying twin-tip and flat skis.
Willy Booker, president of Nordica USA, said, “People want a ski that does everything well. There’s still a lot to learn about how to make the skis ski better across multiple snow conditions.”
With 24 percent of skiers reporting they venture into the backcountry, the walk/ski mode in many 14/15 boots help skiers get through the backcountry and the parking lot, and lighter/sleeker skis and bindings are being constructed with crossover appeal in mind.
“Lighter bindings seem to be the way of the future, especially for ladies’ models,” said Joe Rauscher of Joe’s Ski Shop in St. Paul, Minn.
Brands like those featured in the CRAFT @ SIA exhibit inspire the snowboard and ski categories alike, embodying regional inspiration, customized shapes and the spirit of hand-crafted innovation.
This category is growing steadily as suppliers expand high-caliber offerings at lower price points. Carbon-fiber strength and weight that benefits race systems can be seen in more recreational products.
“Every manufacturer is designing skis that are working better and more efficiently in varied conditions,” said Rossignol Nordic division manager Ryan Green. “We’re starting to see World Cup carbon boots now available at retail. They’re precise, powerful and light.”
Snowshoe sales are a strong seller in many regions and will hit 14/15 with increased practicality for walkers, runners, kids and backcountry enthusiasts. Maneuverability, traction, each of use and design aesthetics motivate next season’s designs.
The continuing rise in helmet sales indicates that safety is always in fashion. Manufactures have amped up the style and function of these brain buckets with lower profiles, improved airflow and better protection for a day of racing or at the resort.
“Style is the number-one factor. The helmet is front and center on your head, so it better look cool,” said Josh Walker, brand manager for Bern Unlimited.
Technology integrates with helmets through POV helmet cams, sound-system capabilities and safety functions that digitally store emergency information in case of an accident.
All that’s old is new in eyewear. Sunglass companies are adopting retro styles like cat-eye silhouettes. In goggles, cylindrical lenses are making a resurgence and interchangeable lens technology and photo chromic lenses are hot. Rimless frames and wider lenses are enhancing peripheral vision and driving design. While high-tech features such as GPS heads up display and built-in cameras are a big trend.
“Oakley’s got a new lens that handles low light, the Prizm. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s by far the best flat-light lens I’ve ever seen. Nothing comes close,” said Buzz Schleper, Buzz’s Boards, Vail, Colo.
Florals, rich patterning and ethnic overtones were found in many hat lines. Similar to outerwear, deep saturated colors of reds, tans, blues, browns and golds were popular. For patterns and texture, geometric designs with saturated colors and fair isles designs plus hand-made looking hats with haphazard purposeful irregularities.
Gone are the balloon-fingered days when fattest equaled warmest. Wicking fabrics that started with base layers have now moved into gloves. Technology joins traditional leather designs with high-tech, battery powered heating units, conductive fingers/thumbs for swiping touch screens and integrated wireless remote controls for smartphone or action camera. For those back-to-basic types, the “work gloves” stripped down versions are also making a comeback.
Innovative wool blends and synthetics provide the on-snow comfort in the popular “ninja” body suits and traditional separates. Even though base layers are hidden, style, color, cut and prints are key: colorful, heather and patterned next-to-skin garb is what to look for. Battery-heated technology takes to base layer brands just as it does for gloves. Some take it a step further integrating hoods and facemasks.
Wool blends continue to dominate the market. For this current season wool blends accounted for 70 percent of snow sport sock sales. No longer just in solid basic colors, sock lines now feature geometric lines, color blocking, bright colors and festive prints.
“As far as the real trend I’d say bright and fun colors. Also the melding of function with fashion. It can’t be seen, but it makes you feel good that you have them on your feet,” said Ric Cabot of Darn Tough Vermont. “We’re primarily merino wool and we’re seeing a tremendous growth because people are understanding now the good properties that merino has, whereas five years ago you had to explain to them that it’s not your grandma’s wool.”
This afternoon, the industry will pack it up and head on out to the On-Snow Demo/Ski-Ride Fest at its new location Copper Mountain (Feb. 4-5). Hosted in-conjunction with the Western Winter Sports Reps Association’s (WWSRA) Rocky Mountain Demo and in partnership with Cross Country Ski Areas Association (CCSAA) the two-day Demo, allows snow sports retailers and media to hit the slopes and trails to test next season’s ski, snowboard, AT, backcountry, and cross-country products.
“The On-Snow Demo is what brought me back to the SIA Snow Show. I do three or four days of demoing and then a couple days of skiing and it’s a real welcome break,” said John Wright owner of Trollhaugen Ski & Board Shop, Dresser, Wisc. “I get two days in Colorado where I don’t have to answer phones and where I can be the customer—that’s a real treat.”
During the Demo, the annual Uphill/Downhill Challenge will bring together “the weak, strong and the thirsty“ and raise money for the US Ski Mountaineering Team. The Nordic Demo, also being held at Copper Mountain on February 4-5, will include an opening reception and state of the market presentation on Sunday, Feb. 3, plus an après party and Nordic-focused events and seminars throughout the Demo.
Member-owned, industry-inspired and dedicated exclusively to snow sports, the 2014 SIA Snow Show is scheduled for January 30-February 2, 2014 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver followed by the On-Snow Demo/Ski-Ride Fest at Colorado’s Copper Mountain Resort from February 3-4, 2014. For more information, updates, registration for the 2014 SIA Snow Show, visit SIAsnowshow.com. Exhibiting companies’ top 14/15 products are available to review in the Sneak Peak + New Product Directory at SIAsnowshow.com/sneakpeak.
For 24/7 updates on all things 2014 Snow Show, check back on SIAsnowshow.com and SIA’s Latest and follow SIA on Twitter and Facebook. We’ll be sending highlights before and during the Show to keep you in the know. Use #SIA14 and #SIA14Demo to join the conversation. See all of the SIA Snow Show conversations at SIAsnowshow.com/hashtags.
- SIA -
Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2014, SnowSports Industries America (SIA) is a non-profit member-owned trade association with a long history of working to support the snow sports industry. SIA works year-round with North American snow sports suppliers, retailers, reports, reps and service providers to develop products and programs for 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.
SIA 2014 Snow Show Highlights
Opening Ceremony- Sendoff to Sochi
Special “Sendoff to Sochi” Opening Ceremony led by Doug Lewis, past Olympian and Alpine Analyst for Universal Sports. Lewis named team members and revealed the official uniforms for the U.S. Alpine, Freestyle, Freeski and Snowboarding teams developed by Spyder, Columbia, The North Face and Burton.
THE CRASH REEL
SIA hosted a special screening of the critically acclaimed documentary THE CRASH REEL. Kevin Pearce and his brother Adam took questions from the audience following the movie.
SIA/SOS Hockey Shootout
The ultra-competitive Shootout game benefiting SOS Outreach, featured snowboard/ski industry heads from U.S. and Canada, plus NHL alumni ready to square off before the Show went down at the Pepsi Center following the Colorado Avalanche/Minnesota Wild game.
Universal Sports Network Film 2014 SIA Snow Show
Universal camera crews were roaming the aisles taping interviews for the one-hour TV show 2014 SIA Snow Show. Set to air on Saturday, February 8, at 7PM (EST) with the latest trends, innovations, product lines and fashion from the Show floor.
CRAFT @ SIA
New exhibit featuring craft brands aka: independent, smaller ski and snowboard manufacturers. Each evening the CRAFT area hosted happy hours featuring, what else, but craft brewed beer.
Rolling Stone Editor, Jeff Goddell, at POW Breakfast
Protect Our Winters (POW), SIA and Aspen Skiing Company’s Environment Foundation co-hosted a breakfast presentation where Rolling Stone contributing editor Jeff Goodell spoke about Field Notes From The Climate Wars.
Winter on the Rocks
The 3rd annual Icelantic’s Winter on the Rocks, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, featured hip-hop legends Jurassic 5 took the stage for their first Colorado show in eight years. Also co-heading the event was Ghostland Observatory, who played to a packed crowd.
This new exhibit was THE place for attendees to check out the latest in backcountry gear, accessories while experts Dean Cummings, Mike Hattrup and Jeremy Jones shared their insights on gear, safety practices.
OIWC’s Keynote Presentation & Leadership Awards
Laura Fergusson of Arc’teryx was this year’s recipient of the First Ascent award and Kathy MGuire, K2 received the Pioneering award winner. Following the awards, Kelly Davis of SIA hosted a panel discussion entitled The Money Stash: Uncovering the Economic Future of the Snow focusing on the women’s market.
15th Annual TransWorld SNOWboarding Riders' Poll Awards
Top riders were recognized for the best in individual progression and style, while filmmakers were awarded for excellence in their video projects. This year’s TransWorld SNOWboarding Legend Award went out to Bryan Iguchi recognizing his lifetime of commitment and contribution to snowboarding.
Snowboarding IS… Wall
Show attendees gathered each evening to socialize and share stories through words and art on a specially designed wall. Kegs were tapped to help celebrate the love of snowboarding.