By Leah Stassen
A snowcat trip unites Salomon/Bonfire staff with its major dealers.
Kicking off the New Year with a snowcat trip for 35 of its retailers, Salomon/Bonfire’s aptly named Pet The Kitty was held January 7-11 over two, two-day sessions in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Ranging from first-time powder riders like Ben Crooks of Snowtrails in Mansfield, Ohio, to seasoned veterans like Salomon teamrider Jason Ford, each group had two amazing days of guided snowcat tours with Blue Sky West Powder Cats.
Three to four shops were invited from each territory, and each was handpicked by their Salomon/Bonfire sales reps. After the invite was doled out, the shops were left to decide who would be the lucky representative from their store. This informal invite process resulted in an eclectic mix of owners and managers from a variety of ‘core stores.
Aside from riding untracked lines all day long, invitees were able to demo the newest gear from both Salomon and Bonfire. Each evening, after just enough time to slip in the hot tub, retailers were greeted with a short softgoods and hardgoods presentation. Between the meetings and riding, Pet The Kitty offered retailers a chance to get familiar with the 2002/03 products before heading to SIA later in the month.
“It’s a great way for us to grease and lube our retailers before SIA,” laughs Sandra Rossi, Bonfire product group manager. But more seriously, the trip was a great way for key Salomon/Bonfire dealers to get to know the people behind the company.
“Our purpose for Pet The Kitty is simple,” says National Sales Manager Greg Keeling, “to give dealers faces, names, and contact with the people behind Salomon/Bonfire.
“We want retailers to know there aren’t pawns or workers of larger global corporation behind the desks but instead, that we are committed individuals who are snowboarders,” he continues.
And because of this reason (and the fact it was a cat trip—duh!) much of the Salomon/Bonfire marketing, sales, and design staff along with a few teamriders were present. In spite of stress about the upcoming show in Vegas everyone was having a great time hanging out with retailers and enjoying the snow.
Attendees of the first session included Midwest Sales Representative Randy Kelliher and his invites Chris Bachman, Shred Shop, Skokie, Illinois; Nick Karels, The Hut, Wayzata, Minnesota; and Derek Miller, Bad Boyz Toyz, Orland Park, Illinois.
New England Sales Representative Chris McHale made the long trek to Colorado along with Doug Letendre of the Darkside in Killington, Vermont. While Californians Korey Morrow of Epic Surf Skate And Snow in San Diego, Seth Sternin of Ground Zero in Sacramento, and Jason Strubing from Skateworks in Santa Cruz and Duane Kinsley of New Mexico Ski Systems in Albequerque all showed up sans a sales rep.During the first two days Northwest attendees proved crusty powder in Colorado has nothing on the concrete of the Cascades. Those making turns (and even clearing a 40-foot gap—Kemo!) included Tech Rep Jak Green, Kyle Phillip of Castle Boardshop in Portland, Oregon; Kemo Cole of Snowboard Connection in Seattle, Washington; and Gorio Bustamente from Olympic Sports in Seattle, Washington.
Metro New York and Washington D.C. Rep Chris “Turbo” Yeaton had Evan Josloff of Blades Board and Skate along for the ride, with Hans Zigler of Bergers in Binghamton, New York.
Kevin Geddings from Jeff Price in Charleston, South Carolina abolished all southern stereotypes and held his own in the crusty pow. While Matt Linnevers, Salomon/Bonfire’s Eastern Great Lakes sales rep brought the other half of the Midwest contingent including Ben Crooks, Vance Carter of Village Boards in Cleveland, Ohio, and Jason Shepard of Modern Skate and Surf in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Even though the snow for the first session did have a layer of crust underneath it from a warm-up and rain occurring just days before the trip, everyone was stoked to get some turns in. And those still itching for another try will be glad to know that Salomon/Bonfire signed a three-year hardgoods and softgoods sponsorship agreement with Blue Sky West. It looks like the Pet The Kitty tradition will continue.