Monday, February 11, 2008

SIA Show in Las Vegas Preview 2008 – 09 Ski and Snowboard Product

The annual ski and snowboard pilgrimage to the City of Sin in the desert has come and gone at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. For 4 days and nights the equipment and apparel companies introduce and woo the retailers with the hot new goods for next year. Lots of parties with the top athletes, models, plenty of booze for everyone’s taste.

What’s hot and worth taking a good look at for next year:? Maybe it is clothing with built in heating elements. One company we saw first at the Salt Lake City Outdoor Retailer Show was Adventure Action Gear. The product had a cleaner and more polished presentation than others companies vieing to break into this new product niche.

Knee Binding – this new innovative binding promises to flat out revolutionize alpine bindings. Look for more details at The early promotional tag is - "Knee-friendly." Proven. Claims of lateral heel release, without pre-release. Having had a total of 7 knee and ankle surgeries I look forward to seeing this binding in the market. Stay tuned as we find out more.

We will report more as the first prototypes are available but they promise to make certain injuries obsolete with a new release mechanism to assist backward release falls.

The biggest after Vegas story was on the apparel side on the business. Pre show there were rumors of something big happening with Spyder Clothing, as we go to the show nothing had been announced. Then this past week the word was released that Spyder had in fact purchased Cloudveil out of Jackson Hole. It will be interesting to see how they are able to grow this brand and stay true to its specialty and technical core. Can they take Cloudveil the next level and approach a Marmot in terms of size and market reach?

The mood was update given there has been snow across the country in a manner that has not happened for at least 2 decades. It clearly demonstrated the ski and snowboard industry needs snow more than a good economy. Not only were the ski and snowboard companies reporting a good year but snowshoe, nordic and backcountry companies all have had a good winter. What this means for the consumer is do not expect a large selection of closeouts in the summer sales.

With most companies selling their inventory clean there were much less deals available for retailers who specialize in offering these discounted deals on skis and snowboards. The new product sure looks appealing. On the ski side it keeps looking like the specialty boutique brands started by the likes of Armada, Line, Goode and others are continuing to eat market share from the larger more established brands. Twin tips are reported as the fastest growing category of ski and performance ladies skis are also a growing market.

Check out some of the photos in the photo gallery from the various booths and around the SIA show. Lots of color, fashion and excitement abounds in the ski and snowboard industry.

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