The retailer buying power index for the 2003 SIA SnowSports Show rose a little over a percentage point from last year to 86.3%. The index measures how strong the potential buying power is at the show as represented by the retailers in attendance.

The buying power index for New England rose nearly two percentage points to 75.6%, a particularly good showing for that region of the country perhaps due to an abundance of snow recently.

“We had a great show,”said Kathy Murphy, general manager of Tubbs Snowshoe Company, based in New England. “There was a lot of interest in our brand and a lot of outreach in the community. We picked up some new dealers from the Mid-Atlantic region and our traffic was good.”

The number of shops attending the 2003 Show totaled 1,720 which were virtually even with last year’s total of 1,743 shops. The show attracted buyers from 23 countries, including the United States and Canada. Tradeshow Week, a publication that covers the trade show industry, reports that show attendee numbers are down across the board between four and eight percent, a decline that began after the September 11th tragedy.

“I liked the smaller venue and the proximity of the convention center with the hotel worked really well,” said Chris Licata, the new executive vice president for Dynastar. This year’s show floor occupied 550,000 gross square feet.

“We experienced a really positive attitude,” said Steve Kvinlaug, vice president of sales for Alpina Sports Corp. “Attendance was better than we expected. A lot of people came at the last minute.”

Overall, the show generated positive reviews from exhibitors, retailers and reps who commented enthusiastically on the new Mandalay Bay venue and the energy level that surpassed recent shows. In particular, the food and the facilities got a “thumbs up” from attendees.

“There was a ton of buzz and a lot of excitement,” said T.J. Larson, a sales rep in the Rockies for Fischer Sports USA. “I saw several new buyers and exceeded my appointment level.”

“It was an excellent show for us and the venue is awesome,” said John Lee, director of global marketing for Spy Optic.

Amy Carey, general manager for Coalision, distributors of Orage, Laikus and Siver Cartel, reported booking 400 appointments over the four-day run.

Dale Rehberg of M3/Silence/Avalanche reported to TransWorld Snowboarding that the excitement in their booth “felt like it was 1994 all over again.” He also stated that the first two days were strong and that people in the booth were “raging”.

The 2004 SIA SnowSports Show will return to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in January and anticipates building on the new enthusiasm and energy from this year.