Building Demand & Community Through Live Social Networking

Satellite Board Shop co-owner Raul Pinto demonstrates how to properly repair a snowboard using petex at Boulder Snowboarding Group's "Wax Your Junk Night II," a BSG exclusive snowboard maintenance clinic at Satellite Board Shop in Boulder, Colo.  Over 50 BSG members attended the event on Tuesday, Sept. 15. 
Satellite Board Shop co-owner Raul Pinto demonstrates how to properly repair a snowboard using petex at Boulder Snowboarding Group's "Wax Your Junk Night II," a BSG exclusive snowboard maintenance clinic at Satellite Board Shop in Boulder, Colo. Over 50 BSG members attended the event on Tuesday, Sept. 15.

In September of 2008, Adam Schmidt created the Boulder Snowboarding Group on meetup.com, a site dedicated to creating local specialized interest groups, in hopes of "uniting snowboarders in the Rocky Mountain Region." What started as a tiny blip on the radar, has grown rapidly in the past year helping sponsors and members alike  get connected to the local scene, try new products, and learn more about gear and local retailers.

"I found it was something that was really needed in the community," says Schmidt, Boulder Snowboarding Group (BSG) organizer. "There are very few organizations for snowboarders of all levels outside of the college sphere."

When Schmidt created the BSG, he said his initial goals were to reduce the ecological strain of riding to the mountains solo by offering rideshares to members, to make snowboarding more affordable by providing group discounts and to allow riders to socialize and share their passion for snowboarding at organized events.  Schmidt said he also hoped that BSG members would contribute to snowboarding industry's revenue by frequenting resorts and purchasing gear.  But most importantly, Schmidt said he wanted to create a group where individuals would have the opportunity to "develop life-long friendships, while sharing their passions for boarding."

In the organization's first few months the BSG was more low-key than the Snurfer was in the 1960's.  With less than 60 members, and only 12 members at the group's first weekly happy hour, Schmidt said he had a difficult time finding companies willing to sponsor a group with such minuscule numbers.  However, during the BSG's meager beginnings Schmidt was able to convince Satellite Board Shop, located in Boulder, Colorado, Smith Optics, and Never Summer Industries that his group was worthy of sponsorship.

Raul Pinto, co-owner of Satellite Board Shop and Installation Shoe Gallery, said he was attracted to the BSG's motivation to create a snowboard community, and chose to sponsor the group because they "they were stoked on snowboarding."

Pinto said he has thrown parties and events for the BSG, as well as offered promotional pricing and sales for BSG members.  Although he said that he has not seen an increase in daily sales since Satellite began its relationship with the BSG, Pinto has noticed an increase in transactions on nights he has hosted BSG events at his shop.

"It [our events for the BSG] concentrates a group of sales in one night's worth of business," said Pinto.Pinto adds that while his shop is already well recognized in the community for being one of the only Nike dealers in town, the BSG has helped introduce his shop to members who are new to the area.

Vince Sanders, Never Summer's product developer says that the BSG has played a more vital role in his company's growth.  Sanders, whose company relies strongly on referential economy, has noticed that business has improved since Never Summer began sponsoring the BSG. "When we first started our relationship with the Boulder Snowboarding group, they came down for a tour of our factory," says Sanders.  "They showed so much support for us and really helped build on the hype for our newer board models."

In addition to the factory tours, the BSG participated in Never Summer's 15th Annual Demo Days at Loveland Ski Area, Copper Mountain, and Keystone Resort.  According to Sanders, the BSG "was instrumental in getting more boards on the mountain. We went from a typical demo day of 35 to 45 boards per day last year to 65 to 75 boards each day this year with help of the Boulder Snowboarding Group. They definitely added to the success of the demo."

According to Schmidt, he has "really seen a big group following" of all of the BSG's sponsors.

"I believe it is the direct exposure that helps our sponsors," he says.  "For one of our events we brought our group to the Nomis fashion show.  Since then I feel like I've been seeing Nomis [products] everywhere."

Reflecting on the BSG's slow beginnings, Schmidt adds that his organization's growth is overwhelming: “Now it's hard to keep up with how fast things are moving and how quickly things are getting accomplished in this group.” As of Dec. 9, 881 snowboarders have joined the BSG community, and an estimated 99 members attended the BSG's one-year anniversary party in September of this year.  The BSG's rapid growth has allowed Schmidt to gather an extensive list of sponsors that he said have encouraged more interest in his group. "At first it was difficult to get sponsors on-board because I had to sell our group to everyone and explain how companies could benefit from working with us.  Now it's easy; I can pick and chose our sponsors, and only go behind brands I really believe in, says Schmidt."

Now that Schmidt has reached his goals of creating an effective specialized interest group, he said he hopes to continue providing snowboard enthusiasts with information about upcoming industry contests, events and premieres, as well as "filling in all the gaps" in event promotion in the Rocky Mountain region. "I've noticed that there's a lot of delay in event planning, and it leads to getting things done at the last minute, leaving a lot of people out of the loop about events, or leaving them with too short of notice to attend."

Schmidt says he would like to make sure snowboarders are given enough notice to plan for events, and he said that he is trying to take appropriate measures to promote the BSG's upcoming events. “We are taking things to the next level," he says.  "We are party planning, event planning, and creating a competition circuit scheduled in mid-January.  We want to make sure the best dates are acquired for these events, and people are notified well in advance."