SnowSports Industries America (SIA), the snow sports industry’s member-owned trade association, gathered 18 members of its Backcountry Committee in Denver, CO to develop a plan for educating the industry and consumers on backcountry-related access, benefits and risks.
“We brought key stakeholders together to determine how to take advantage of the real and growing interest in the backcountry,” said David Ingemie, SIA president. “Together we were able to consider ways that companies and organizations invested in backcountry participation can collaborate to streamline the way we communicate about the backcountry to retailers and consumers.”
Members of the Backcountry Committee meeting included Dean Cummings of H2O Guides, Bruce Edgerly of Backcountry Access, Brian Lazar of Colorado Avalanche Information Center, Greg Floyd and Jon Frederick of Bentgate, Greg Grip of Marker USA, Mike Hattrup of K2, Charlie Lozner of Outdoor Research, Tom Mason of Deuter USA and Ortovox, Rick Meade of REI, Kim Miller of Scarpa North America, Ian Reid of Avalanche Ski Company, Vince Sanders of Never Summer, Drew Saunders of Dynafit, Chris Sword of Dynaft, and David Ingemie, Reddy Kennedy and Dave Wray of SIA.
“The SIA Backcountry Committee had another productive meeting as we work toward growing the backcountry market and identifying opportunities for the brands and retailers in that space. It is an impressive group of individuals collaborating to advance something we strongly believe in both professionally and personally,” said Drew Saunders of Dynafit.
Committee members split into groups for breakout sessions focusing on education, communication, policy and access, then presented the session findings to the entire committee. Based on the day’s meetings, the Backcountry Committee has decided to:
- Create comprehensive backcountry education materials for retailers and consumers using awareness organizations’ already well-established body of information
- Distribute backcountry information through Snowsports.org to retailers to ensure they have adequate tools and background to educate consumers buying entry-level backcountry equipment
- Provide consumer-focused backcountry resources through Snowlink.com
- Create a “Backcountry Code” to compliment the well-known “Skier’s Code”
“The SIA Backcountry Committee has been an amazing experience over the years,” said H20's Cummings. “I’m proud to be involved. I just can’t say enough about the importance of practical protocol and education. Education is really growing and SIA is playing a huge role in it.” .
This is the third meeting of the Backcountry Committee, which was originally formed as a task force in 2012. Based on the committee’s suggestions, SIA published the Backcountry Retail Kit, created a curated view of backcountry for SIA Snow Show attendees, and hosts the Backcountry Experience an area at the SIA Snow Show that uses educational seminars and panel discussions to examine consumer experiences and the state of the category.