A committee of leaders from 18 snowboard brands and endemic media companies –organized by SnowSports Industries America (SIA) — met last week in Palm Springs, CA, to review the state of the snowboard category, the buy/sell cycle, product sales at specialty stores and snowboard participation.

Representing a cross-section of brands, Snowboard Committee members in attendance included: Mike West of 686; Max Jenke of Endeavor Snowboards; Shawn Penrod of Ride; Mikey Leblanc of Holden; Bob Carlson of Arbor; Anthony Scaturro of Flow; Clark Gundlach of Quiksilver; Brad Steward of Bonfire; Scott Keating of Nike; Jared Bevens of Vans; Sasha Dietschi-Cooper and Jeff Boliba of Burton; Dan McNamara of Mervin; Eric Crane of Electric Visual; Dan Sullivan of Rome SDS; Blue Montgomery of CAPiTA Snowboarding; Chris Engelsman of Grind Media; Adam Cozens of TransWorld Media; and Maxx Von Marbod of Nidecker USA.

The mission of SIAs Snowboard Committee is to expand snowboarding as a sport and to discuss strategic issues, participation, distribution channels, snowboarding vitality and investment in trade shows. “From company founders to CEO’s, it was an honor to have key players from the snowboard community come together to discuss some major issues within the industry, said Mike West, founder of 686, Snowboard Committee chairman and member of SIAs Board of Directors. Our discussions have led to taking the next steps on increasing participation through retention and allocating our resources toward increasing healthier sales in retail. Our goal is to work on snowboarding instead of working in snowboarding.”

This time of the year our SIA meeting always includes an in-depth review of this past seasons categorical retail sales performances and the resulting trends that came out of the year. Dominating much of our time were lengthy discussions on the recently released winter sports and snowboard participation studies, the health of the specialty retail channels, and the evolutions of the snow sports buy/sell cycle, Quiksilvers Clark Gundlach told B.O.S.S. No doubt the back-to-back challenging winter seasons in North America has taken its toll in the industry. Several key issues that face our industry today were outlined in our meeting agendas and discussed at length.

Attendees reviewed SIAs latest trend research regarding visits over the past several seasons as well as participation trends by age, gender, region and core focus. They compared both generational trends and alpine skier, snowboarder and crossover demographics. With this research as context, the committee reviewed SIA retail and consumer marketing initiatives like Snowlink.com and the Retailer to Consumer Marketing Guide designed to increase snow sports participation and sales.

“Navigating the terrain before us is what we do and we will take these lessons from the mountains to the boardroom as many times as it takes, said Anthony Sacturro, CEO and president of Flow Sports. With clear goals, honest cooperation/collaboration and an effective mechanism for change, we can get people stoked to ride and we can fix the internal issues to the mutual benefit all stakeholders.

Ideas generated to consider moving forward included appointing an SIA snowboard liaison who would develop and execute industry-wide, snowboard-specific programs. It was also suggested that suppliers and retailers should support of regional snowboard events for families and urban consumers with diverse backgrounds.  

We are seeing downward trends with visits, but I live in Waitsfield, VT, and watched a strong year at the resort level, said Dan Sullivan, director of sales at Rome Snowboard Design Syndicate and member of the SIA board of directors.

“The three main topics addressed by the committee were: bringing new snowboarders to the sport and increasing participation of current snowboarders; the industry buy/sell cycle and how we can make it more efficient for all involved; and increasing sales of snowboard product at retail, said David Ingemie, SIA president. The committee came up with a number of action items the SIA staff will review and organize to be addressed by several task forces made up from members of the committee. Stay tuned.

The committee regularly meets to discuss the state of the category. Other committee members not present at the recent meeting include: Chad Perrin of Nidecker USA; Andrew Marinners of Billabong; Tracey Canaday of Never Summer; Bob Gundram of C3; Josh Reid of Rome SDS; Will Howard of Dragon; Dutch Schultz of Volcom; Dennis Leedom of Bern Helmets; Greg Tomlinson of VonZipper; and Michael Marxx of Spy Optic.

SIA is the non-profit member-owned trade association that works year-round with North American snow sports suppliers, retailers, reports, reps and service providers to develop products and programs that support their individual and collective business needs. SIA annually hosts the industry’s largest core winter sports trade show, the SIA Snow Show and the Sourcing Snow supplier show. SIA also helps retailers and resorts connect with snow sports participants around the country through Snowlink.com and Wintertrails.org.

Continued Gundlach: As a multi-brand SIA trade association member, Im grateful to have an opportunity to participate in the development of the SIA strategic platforms.  Serving on the board, and any of the working committees, helps provide the trade membership and our collective brands animportant voice in the SIA strategic planning process.  The vision of SIA is to make North America the best snow sports market in the world.  Being a part of that vision is important to me and the industry I represent.