SIA SNOW SHOW WRAP UP PART 1:
INDUSTRY KICKS OFF SHOW BY CELEBRATING ATHLETE CONTRIBUTIONS
For the 60th Anniversary of SIA, the 2014 SIA Snow Show was a great tribute to the long history and incredible community that defines SIA and our industry. Between the high energy of the crowds, the incredible booths, specialty exhibits, educational seminars and well attended events, the Show was a non-stop whirlwind of work and fun rolled into one. A major influence on this year’s Show came from women in the industry, with the new SIA Board Elections and Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC) awards. In addition, non-profit groups like Protect Our Winters (POW), Love Your Brain and SOS Outreach were a huge presence at the Show, reflecting our industry’s passion for giving back and paying it forward.
The Show kicked off with the Opening Ceremony and U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding Team Sendoff to Sochi. USSA VP of Communications Tom Kelly brought an inspiring presentation that gave the crowd a taste of what the Olympics had in store, complete with uniform unveilings and incredible videos from each discipline. The presentation got the crowd fired up for the Olympics while reminding us all of the passion our sport inspires. It was led by Doug Lewis, past Olympic Downhiller 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.
“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 who went to Sochi that hasn’t benefited from our industry’s collective determination to innovate.”
“The relationship between SIA and USSA is really pivotal to the success of our athletes,” said Kelly. “USSA athletes could not accomplish their goals without the support we get from the industry and the companies that supply us with ski, snowboards, outerwear and uniforms.”
Officials from the City of Denver, the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association, SIA Board Members, Copper Mountain President Gary Rogers, and industry leaders took to the stage to officially ring in the Snow Show with cowbells. To wrap things up, Klaus Obermeyer added his signature yodel, which he’s done at the end of the Snow Show for over 30 years.
Also celebrated at the Show was the Doc DesRoches Award ceremony. Memories of SIA’s first President were shared by USSA President Bill Marolt while he presented the award to The North Face for its integration of the U.S. Freeskiing brand and the sport’s top athletes into its marketing campaigns, and for support of the sport at the grassroots level.
“SIA has a long history of supporting the U.S. Ski Team. Doc DesRoches was instrumental in supporting the team in those early years, and was known for taking care of whatever the athletes needed. One year, he sent money for athletes who were stuck in Europe and had no money to get home. I was one of those athletes,” said Marolt with a smile. “As the recipient of the Doc DesRoches award, The North Face has done a phenomenal job of working with our team, designing and developing the uniforms so that the athletes look good, they feel good, and they're functional. And we're proud we're outfitting our athletes in products made in America.”
At the Alumni Breakfast, industry veterans gathered for a presentation about the 2015 World Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek. In addition, there was a look at the State of the Industry presented by SIA Business Intelligence Manager Emily O’Hara as well as a look back at the history of skiing with a presentation by the International Skiing History Association (ISHA). As these long-time colleagues gathered, memories were shared and sentiments about a career in the industry were reflected upon. Many mentioned that they’d been involved in the industry for as long as the Show has been happening.
“There are a lot of old timers who are celebrating what’s gone on in the industry. I can remember when SIA was born in the 50’s. It was a major influence, and SIA has grown every year and continues to do a lot of things to grow the industry and expand the business. I think David’s done a wonderful job,” said breakfast attendee Ian Furgusen, “People ask me what you would change if you had it to do over again, and I would say very little. I had a wonderful time and it was a great ride. I got paid to ski and have fun, what more could you ask for?”
SEEN ON THE SHOW FLOOR
Meanwhile, out on the Show floor, the crowd was in high spirits. Optimism defined the mood, thanks to a lot of the country enjoying a good snow year and to the snow that fell outside the convention center while we were there. “We’re really pleased with the spirit of everyone attending the Show. This year many regions are excited about the season and the snow, and I’m happy to speak to happy people,” said Matt Sterbenz, founder of 4FRNT Skis. “That’s a big reason why I come here, to be a part of the community. As a whole I think the industry has benefitted by the nature of this Show – we’re colleagues, collaborators, and we’re allies. It’s a community, and we take a lot of pride in our role within it.”
There were many incredibly creative booths, and first timers to the Show were amazed by the look of the Show floor. “It’s my first time here, so it’s all about learning and trying to take in all I can,” said first-timer Steve Sulin, a buyer for Pinnacle Sport in Stowe VT. “You don’t understand how big the Show is until you walk in the door. It’s incredible.”
The maple bacon soft serve at the Darn Tough booth flowed (almost 4,000 cones worth!), as did the happy hour beers, while new connections were made and old friends caught up. “Where else can you have hundreds, if not thousands, of your favorite people in a single building?” commented Robert Yturri, SVP of global sales, product and brand management at Sport Obermeyer.
First time exhibitor Skida learned quickly that not only can the Show build your brand, but it can also send you off with lots of new friends and colleagues. “Camaraderie is what makes this industry special. That’s something I learned from coming to SIA,” said Skida Founder Corinne Prevot.
Overall apparel trends that appeared on the Show floor included more natural fibers, as well as bright colors and prints, and military styling. “I’m seeing people using more wool in their products, more merino, more natural fibers,” said Teeta Langlands of Darkside Snowboards in Killington VT. “There are whole collections with lots of wool pieces that are more metro, more street wear. They’re just beautiful: I love it.”
For snowboards, it was all about the craft of building decks. “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.”
Brittan Ellingson from Notice Snowboards said, “We’re crafting boards completely matched to the rider and their terrain.” He says small brands like his have “a willingness to take risks and the ability to completely change the program.”
It was a busy Show for the backcountry category, a segment that has seen sales trending upward for the past few seasons. This year, airbag technology compatible with backcountry packs were a new addition for many manufacturers, and were seen as a must-have item by many buyers. “Now that avalanche airbags are more affordable and lighter than ever, everybody wants one,” said Bruce Edgerly, VP of marketing and sales at Backcountry Access, Inc. “With video footage of people getting saved by avalanche airbags, it’s now seen as a must-have.”
Jeremy Kent of Burton Snowboards agreed, “There is more and more access to the backcountry as a function of splitboarding, and more evidence to support airbag technology.”
For Alpine,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.”
The Nordic 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.”
Another exciting addition to the Show floor this year was the Universal Sports film crew, which cruised the Show, doing interviews and highlighting gear and products for 2014 SIA Snow Show, an exclusive, one-hour TV program which aired Saturday, February 8. Find the full-length program here.
WOMEN INFLUENCING THE INDUSTRY
Women’s voices were a major influence on the Show this year, with the SIA Board elections kicking off this theme by awarding spots to four new female board members. A third of our Board of Directors positions are now filled by women, with new members Erin Isakov of Erin Snow, Lisa Branner of Venture Snowboards, and Rhonda Swenson of Krimson Klover joining current members Julie Garry of Outdoor Gear, Annelise Loevlie of Icelantic Skis, Wendy Carey of Seirus Innovation and Patty Duke of Point6.
SIA Research Director Kelly Davis said this theme is reflective of the snow sports market overall and is necessary to the growth of our sport. “Research shows that women control the majority of consumer dollars in the snow sports market so it makes sense, at the bottom line, for women to be highly involved on the supply side of the market,” she commented. “This year at SIA, a variety of seminars, panel discussions, and new appointees to the SIA board of Directors centered on women and that bodes well for the health of the industry overall.”
At Saturday’s Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC) breakfast, a Keynote Panel of industry leaders, including Anne-Marie Daschyn, Burton Snowboards VP of marketing, SIA’s own research director, Kelly Davis, Liz VerHoeven, AIM Outdoor Group marketing director, and Krista Parry, senior VP at POWDR Corp, presented The Money Stash: Uncovering the Economic Future of the Snow Industry.
“I think we can work together to create a culture that helps to foster women in the workplace,” commented Parry. “We can help them see that there’s place for women and we need them, because they’re the future of our sport. We need to mentor and invest in female employees and help them see all their career opportunities.”
The panel discussion focused on the women’s market; the most significant and profitable opportunity in the snow industry today. Industry veterans discussed data showing growth and potential, advertising messages and ways to empower women in snow sports. “The secret to capturing a woman’s heart is three more hours of sleep,” joked Daschyn.
The OIWC’s Pioneering Woman Award was presented to Kathy McGuire, executive VP global operations, K2 Sports, and the OIWC First Ascent Award winner was Laura Ferguson, North American events and athlete manager, Arc’Teryx. “It was really surprising and an honor and so humbling,” said McGuire. “I’m so proud to be part of this organization of really fantastic women, and to be a part of the snow industry.”
Many non-profit groups were represented at the show, exhibiting the fact the our industry is made up of people who are driven, passionate, and have a deep regard for the sport and for the people within it.
One of the highest profile groups was Protect Our Winters (POW), which hosted a breakfast for a packed crowd that came to hear Rolling Stone contributing Editor Jeff Goodell’s Field Notes from the Climate Wars. Goodell’s presentation was a fascinating look into his career as a journalist covering the issue of climate change. His research over the past 10 years has led to several award winning books on the topic, including, Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future.
The main takeaway for the packed crowd was that everyone in the industry can and should get behind this issue. “We’ve hit several milestones in the last six months for Protect Our Winters and today is one of them, where we officially have this climate discussion at the SIA Snow Show,” said Jeremy Jones, founder and CEO of Protect Our Winters, as he introduced Goodell. “We as an industry can be hugely effective on this issue. SIA has been a great partner from the get-go, we’re very grateful of the support since day one."
SOS’s 5th Annual Youth Summit took place on Saturday morning of the Show, and celebrated those within the industry that impact the lives of thousands of youth every year. Keynote speaker Kevin Pearce, founder of Love Your Brain, joined SIA President David Ingemie and SOS Executive Director Arn Menconi, to highlight the contributions of 330 adult mentors, Nicky DeFord of Vail Resorts Echo and the team at Chaos Headwear. Both Nicky DeFord and Chaos Headwear were recognized with the Social Impact Award in Youth Development. SOS Outreach is a youth development nonprofit that fosters self-confidence, leadership skills, and positive decision making in underserved youth.
“We were thrilled with the turnout this morning and attention to making a difference in the lives of youth and promoting passion for snow sports in the next generation. The industry plays a huge part in our program through their sponsorship and in-kind donations”, said Menconi.
The industry banded together in fundraising events for SOS Outreach- the 5th Annual SIA/SOS Hockey Shoot Out and the 686 Lights Out boxing match. The Pepsi Center donated the rink to the Hockey Shoot Out and donated a portion of the ticket sales from the Avalanche game before the event to SOS Outreach. 686 Lights Out, presented by Electric, Skullcandy and Vans, drew hundreds for three rounds of boxing all for a good cause.
SIA also hosted a special screening of the critically acclaimed documentary The Crash Reel, to highlight Kevin Pearce’s foundation, Love Your Brain. The documentary begins with a look at Pearce’s training in the years and months leading up to the Vancouver Olympics, where he was slated to be Shaun White’s main competition. When Pearce fell in a training run, a traumatic brain injury left him fighting for his life. His courageous recovery led to the formation of his non-profit, Love Your Brain. The foundation aims to help athletes with traumatic brain injuries in their recovery process.
“The whole rehabilitation process is very expensive, and many families don’t have the resources to cover the early stages of rehabilitation, which is so critical,” said Adam Pearce, Kevin’s brother and partner in the foundation. “We started the foundation with idea to help these families and we’re really close to being able to do that. The foundation is about six months old, and it’s still a work in progress, but we’re excited to be able to help. Kevin also wants the foundation to be a voice for safety. Trying to help spread that message and make people more aware of how they can approach their sport more safely is a really important part.”
Many other notable non-profit groups were in attendance at the Show, including the International Skiing History Association (ISHA), a U.S.-based organization working to preserve and build awareness of the sport’s heritage through its magazine Skiing History, filled with lively, carefully researched stories and stunning images from skiing’s past; the International Avalanche Nest Egg Fund (IAN Fund), which helps children and families who have lost loved ones in avalanche tragedies, The Chill Foundation, which provides opportunities for at-risk and underserved youth to build self-esteem and life skills through board sports; Adaptive Spirit, which relies on Snow Show exhibitors’ donations for a silent auction held at their annual fundraiser. Proceeds go directly to fostering the competition dreams of Paralympic athletes, and Love Hope Strength.
“A huge benefit of attending the Snow Show for our organization is to literally save lives by getting people on the list to be marrow donors, free of charge. Ever since SIA came to our hometown of Denver, we’ve been getting people on the list in our booth. Within that time, an astonishing five matches for patients in need of transplants have already been located,” commented Shannon Foley Henn, Love Hope Strength executive director.
GATHERING AFTER HOURS
Often, the most valuable connections at the Show are ones made outside Show hours. After-hours events like the third annual Icelantic Winter on the Rocks concert with Jurassic 5 and Ghostland proved to be a great time for all in attendance.
, CEO of Icelantic said, “A light snow on Thursday night provided just enough for us to deploy our social shoveling strategy where we offered free tickets to the first 100 people to help shovel. It worked, and by 7PM Friday night, Red Rocks was looking better than I've ever seen it - with snow covered scenery and a perfectly consistent snow fall throughout the night. People were pumped, the music was great and Mother Nature reminded us all of how good a wintery night with good friends can be.”
The TransWorld Snowboarding Riders’ Poll Awards
held on the same night at the Ogden Theater honored the year’s best in Snowboarding. Awards included Video of the year, Men’s and Women’s Rider of the year, The Legend award, and the TransWorld SNOWboarding
Readers Choice award voted on by the readers of TransWorld SNOWboarding
. Congratulations to all of the 2014 winners!
won the Women’s Readers Choice for the third time in 2014. “I’m really thankful to be here again and thankful to all of the girls who are ripping and inspiring me and the other ladies that I’m nominated with. Thanks everyone, thanks snowboarding. This is awesome!”
All in all, the 2014 Snow Show celebrated the industry we all love and SIA’s 60th year in style. As attendees looked back at the history of our association and our sport, they also looked forward with optimism and excitement to the years ahead. Business was done, old friends caught up and new friends were made. Mike Smith, currently a Kuhl rep, who has been coming to the Show since 1969, summed up the experience with this thought: “It’s a great show, it’s always good to be here and we’re still having fun. That’s the important thing.”
To relive the 2014 Show, or check out parts you may have missed, watch our Daily Dose videos:
REVIEW THE SNOW SHOW DAILY FOR EVERYTHING #SIA14
If you didn’t make it to the 2014 SIA Snow Show, or would like to get an overview of everything that happened on the Show floor, take some time to review it all in downloadable copies of the Snow Show Daily, published each day of the Show and at the On-Snow Demo.
The Snow Show Daily is also available on the SIA app, your year-round where you’ll find helpful resources including a complete Member Listing, access to research, newsletters, SIA’s Latest (blog/news feed), SIA information and social feeds.
Relive the Show and the On-Snow Demo through videos and photos at SIAsnowshow.com/videos14 and
The SIA Show Newsletter is sponsored by Innovative Systems LLC