Another year of SIA has come and gone, and as retailers and brands wind down from six long days in the convention center and on the frigid slopes of Winter Park, most would agree that this was the best show in recent memory. The show began with news from SIA that the snow sports industry had done a record $1 billion in sales in the month of December – the largest sales month ever, and that was easy to believe based on a litmus test of attendees’ vibes and the amount of business taking place, the size of the parties going down, and the overall level of excitement at the on hill demo despite sub-zero temperatures.
“The Show went great for us,” says Costa Mesa, California’s Surfside Sports Co-owner Duke Edukas. “It’s always good to see the whole industry under the same roof for a few days out of the year, and to touch base with other retailers and vendors that we don’t see too often in So. Cal. To be totally honest with you, I was pretty bummed that SIA changed the venue from Vegas to Denver a couple of years ago, but, Denver was great, and the local officials were super accommodating towards all of us. We got a lot of work accomplished, and the night life in Denver was just as good as Vegas. Everything was within walking distance, and mother nature cooperated with balmy weather for Denver in January! It was nice to see and hear that the snow biz is way more healthy than it has been in a long time, and to hear that most of the companies aren’t taking this success for granted. Over production of product seems to be a thing of the past, and for those of us that have stuck in out, through better or worse, through thick and thin, should reap the benefits. I think we just all have to be responsible, and understand that this isn’t the end, it’s only the beginning. It seems that some of the larger snowboard vendors, like Burton get this, and will continue on a positive path for not only the riders, but, also for the specialty retailers. I guess only time will tell, but, this season has been one hell of a fun ride!”
There’s a lot to be excited about in the sport right now. Not only are sales soaring this season, inventory is way down, margins are solid and a renaissance of innovative product is sweeping the industry. Every category, from goggles to gloves, has seen what strong new technologies have done for boards, and brands have taken note. Some of the big trends we saw on our exhaustive laps around the show, demo, and mountain are a ton of buzz around backcountry and sidecountry focused products, an ever increasing array of board flex stories, technical and stretch fabrics, in-jacket heaters, environmentally friendlier products, and growing specialty-specific lines. Here are a few of the products that caught our eye and embody the direction the industry is heading: