Shop’s 1st Try: 3 Days, 50 Brands, 100s Of Retailers, 1000s Of Snowboards

Shop’s 1st Try brings together hundreds of snowboard retailers to test 2014’s best gear.

Following last week’s Bright Trade Show, we had the opportunity to head down to the Austrian Alps for the fourth-annual Shop’s 1st Try On-Snow Demo again, to put the gear we’ve been hearing so much about from our product previews to the test where it really matters.

Hosted by munchie Konsilium, Shop’s 1st Try is by far one of the best on-snow demos we’ve ever attended, offering a near-private mountain and park, gear from nearly 50 top brands, access to hundreds of retailers, nightly entertainment, and a tracking system that allows brands to get daily reports on what gear was tested, by whom, and custom data sets that report and forecast the popularity of their products on a granular level.

(Check out these tips on hosting an on-snow from last year’s coverage.)

This year saw several key updates including a new RFID gear-tracking system that greatly reduced lines and increased the turn around time on reporting. By the end of the second day, munchie’s Muck Müller was already able to report that more than 2,000 products had been tested on that day alone. This year’s demo also introduced retail-voted awards for top product designs (Going to Nitro, Silbaerg, and Good Snowboards), some great new party themes including a burlesque show, and a presentation and panel discussion focused on ways to respond to a global scourge of the industry--early, drastic product discounts.

Hosted by ISPO, the discussion marked the first time that Burton joined in these types of talks on the continent, with European GM Hermann Kapferer taking an active role. While no concrete resolutions were reached, from what we took away from follow up discusssions and our horrendous German, nearly everyone was optimistic that this marked the beginning of an ongoing effort to inject the industry with a little performance-enhancing sanity and thoughtfullness to get margins back where they need to be and better match supply and demand.

Here’s a look at the action, the products, and all the Austrian demo awesomeness:

We caught up with munchie Konsilium Associate Muck Müller to learn more about the event, which drew nearly 650 people and saw nearly 4,000 products get put to the test on Venet’s slopes:


Muck Müller at Shop’s 1st Try

What did you see as your biggest successes this round?
The feedback from the industry has been very positive from all companies.  Everbody had the feeling that there had been more tested boards than the last years. The new location for the evening entertainment is perfect. All retailers and the industry can sit together in one room and eat and we can reach them from one stage. The fact that we added a productivity program (ISPO Academy) was well appreciated from both sides: industry and retailers.

Any insights for updates for next season?
Well, we have to make up our minds what else we can improve. But from the feedback we got and from my feelings, we really improved again and put the standards to the next level.

I am really stoked on our new Test Logistic System called CANDY 1.0 – After two years of trying with partners, we decided to work on our own system with our own needs. It took us nearly one year to get it where we have it now, and it worked out really good. But it is still not the final version. We will add more interesting features and especially more interesting statistics that should be available for retailers and industry faster.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to thank the people helping me bringing it on: Andi for working his ass of with the logistic system, Tobi, Armin and Basti for being always relaxed and having the testarea under control and Mira and the girls at the registration for being organized. I also want to especially thank the following partners: Skullcandy – it is really great to work with you as well as ISPO for bringing on the ISPO Academy and the VENET Cable Cars!

Follow the jump for more gear, reviews, and feedback from the first day of Shop’s 1st Try

Since Roman times, the Inn River Valley Landeck has been an important trading route across Southern and Central Europe, and in the Middle Ages it became a junction of multiple trade routes. Today, the region continues to play a crucial role in trading as the host of one of Europe's largest retailer on snow demos.

The normally sleepy towns of Zams and Landeck light up annually as the Shops 1st Try,On-Snow Demo floods the town with hundreds of snowboard retailers from across Europe's German-speaking region and beyond, to test hard goods and more from more than 50 brands as they look to lock in next year's line ups.

This year's three-day demo kicked off under partly cloudy skies and warm Fern winds, with leftovers from a recent storm blanketing stashes across host resort Venet, offering perfect conditions for testing ranging from chop, to piste, to pow.

Here's a look at the gear that was grabbing retailers' attention on Sunday:

Here’s a video from last year’s event: