Reporting: Kailee Bradstreet, Mike Lewis

The SIA Snow Show wrapped up in Denver last weekend, and was followed by an eventful On-Snow Demo, that saw more than 2,800 attendees hit the slopes to test out the latest snowboard gear at Winter Park Resort in Colorado.

The show was full of industry launches, surprises, and a myriad events that went off over the course of four fun-filled days. All in all, it was the connection between retailers and brands and the business that was being conducted that people seemed to zero in on while walking the aisles.

For Mammoth Lakes, California-based Wave Rave Snowboard Shop, the highlight of the show was seeing a serious push into backcountry gear.

“What I’¬'ve really noticed is a real resurgence in big mountain riding and big mountain riding equipment along with split boards,” says Wave Rave Owner Steve Klassen. “I’¬'m seeing it everywhere. I¬'’m seeing in people¬'’s displays and people¬'’s marketing efforts. I see that part of the sport coming up, the big mountain side. I¬'’m just really seeing the big mountain influence make its way into every part of the companies.”

On the brand side of things, Jones Snowboards was definitely speaking to that audience, with a strong booth displaying its new boards for the season, including the debut of its Ultracraft splitboard, which provides a lighter, performance-driven board for big mountain riding.

“Jones Snowboards is having a solid year,” says Chad Perrin, Jones Snowboards global brand director.¬† “Our dealers fully support our brand and we are seeing strong sell through.”

O’Neill is also launching some updates to its Jeremy Jones outerwear collection, tying directly back to the big mountain lifestyle with its new eco-friendly “Bomb Proof” fabric, and with 2% of all proceeds benefiting the Protect Our Winters (POW) organization.

Hardgoods definitely seemed to be a focus at the show for most, with the launch of innovative technology from several brands, including Burton’s new Family Tree Splitboard, and their whimsical “Push It Real Good” Salt-N-Pepa collaboration boards.

We also heard from many who were new to the show, like Rhythm and i.N.i. Cooperative, that they were receiving a solid response from retailers and buyers on the show floor. Smaller brands were also a hit as retailers continue to look for product that isn’t available on every street corner. Among those brands was Homeschool, which reported a really strong start to the show as well.

“We were able to spend some time at the Sourcing Snow and that was great for a smaller brand like us,” says Homeschool Product Development Manager Margaret Eder. “A lot of times you don¬'t have as much pull to get vendors to come and meet with you, and you’¬'re working with them remotely so it is great to meet with some of your current vendors face to face. It’¬'s fun once you¬'’ve been in the industry a while to catch up with a lot of people and see people that you only see once a year. We are here to do what we love. There is a good energy and vibe to that.”

The less-than-desirable past snow season and a slow start to this season in many regions definitely had a weighted effect on consumers’ buying patterns and directly impacted many retailers--a fact that has not gone unnoticed with most within the industry. Tactics Co-owner Matt Patton says the focus of the show for his shop was to hone in on inventory levels and the approach brand partners are taking for next season.

“We’ll look to put more dollars with those brands taking the long view in terms of production and distribution, and fewer dollars with those more interested in the quick high,” says Patton.

The crew from Dogfunk.com, one of the main e-tailers in the snow sports industry, were on the scene, utilizing the show from a different angle, but still making it a productive one as they move into next season.

“By the time we get to SIA, we have already completed our preseason buying cycle for Fall/Winter 2013, so it’s a good time for buyers to circle up with key partners to make sure their buys are strong, connect on key product and marketing stories for next season, and review current season business,” says Dogfunk Director and GMM Karen Craig. ” We’re always looking for new product, brand, or category opportunities that complement our business as well.”

Another huge area of conversation in the snowboard aisles was the fallout from mainstream media’s recent focus on decreasing participation in the sport and concerns over this becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Conversations were also ripe with concerns over discounting and a push to retool the industry’s buying cycle.

“We really need to elevate the conversation relating to the industry’s cycle starting in the summer with gear reviews, early ship dates etc.,” states evo Founder Bryce Phillips. “If the industry could all move forward 30 days, I know this is not easy, we alleviate the burning of many millions of dollars. Retail panics in November/early December if significant snowfall hasn’t hit the resorts. Moreover, MAP drop in February, only 45 days after most people start skiing for the season, is reflective of how we have done things, not the reality of the cycle. We are foregoing crucial profits that could make for a much healthier industry. The tail is wagging the dog and it’ll take a concerted, cross-section of people to make the needed shift.”

This post is chock full of photos and wrap ups from each day at SIA. Follow the jump for more from our four days in Denver…

Saturday is officially a wrap and slower appointment schedules and halls, as many exhibitors left for ISPO, led to solid in-depth conversations. Here’s a look at what caught our eye and what we caught up on:

Follow the jump for coverage from the first two days and pre-show previews…

Day two was another whirlwind in Denver, and we have more than enough photos from the show to keep you entertained. Check out the latest product stories, who we spotted in the aisles, and more right here.

From dawn till done, we caught all the newness on the official kick off of SIA 2013, and there was plenty to go around:

Over at the Burton booth, we caught up with Donna Carpenter about her upcoming talk on Saturday morning for the Outdoor Women’s Industry Coalition (OIWC).

See you on Saturday in room 401-401 from 7 – 9 a.m.

Follow the jump for Sourcing Snow coverage, a digital version of¬†The Guide,¬†and our local’s look at all things good in Denver…

sia 2013

The annual pilgrimage to Denver for SIA is officially underway.

The madness that is SIA unofficially kicked off on Wednesday, January 30 with the launch of Sourcing Snow, a new fabric, technology, and manufacturing sourcing show that has brought together 30 brands ranging from PrimaLoft and Thinsulate to Schoeller and Global Merino.

The new show is an interesting strategic move by SIA to make the show a one-stop experience for exhibitors that formerly had to attend other trade shows for a look at new OEM brands.¬†"As a brand that's obsessed with making technically enhanced products, we depend on working with the best suppliers in the biz,” says 686 Founder Mike West. “I'm stoked…that SIA is stepping up to the plate and producing a winter based supplier show."

PrimaLoft’s Rich Meddaugh said the first day was off to a good start and he felt this is a great addition to SIA and allows his company to better connect with new and existing customers. Sourcing Snow runs from 9-5 through Friday in the lower level ballroom of the Colorado Convention Center.

We also took the opportunity to wander the halls and check out set up – things are looking bigger and better than ever – and for an early meeting with Silverton, Colorado-based Venture Snowboards, which has some interesting new products and business strategies in store. They’re launching a new ¬†program called the Shape Shack, where guest shapers like Johan Olofsson, Skylar Holgate, and Silverton Owner Aaron Brill are designing innovative shapes. While that may not be that exciting, the fact that they’re releasing runs of only 25 of each deck in February to help push full-pop sales at retail when everything else is at least 30% off is.

Here’s a quick look at Sourcing Snow, Venture, and the opening reception. We’re off to the show.

Follow the jump for our Locals’ Guide to Denver, a digital version of our SIA preview issue, The Guide,¬†and a look back at last year’s show…

We’re gearing up to head down to Denver in the next couple hours to kick off the next week in Colorado with a look at the new Sourcing Show and some pre-game festivities this evening. Before we head out, here are some resources to help you gear up for your stay in the Mile High City for the 2013 SIA Snow Show.

Here’s a look back at last year’s show:

The Guide

For a one stop shop on all things SIA, we're proud to present The Guide in its second annual glory. Give it a read below by clicking to expand the player and then use the sliding bar at the top of the page to zoom in. Also, search "SIA Snow Show" in the app store to download The Guide on your iPad and pick up a copy at the show.

Be sure and check out our Denver guide as well:

Things To Do In Denver:
A Shredder's Guide To The Mile High City