Trade shows are like mullets. Business up front...all party in the back.The annual SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show in Denver is always 3 days of chaos. 10 hours on your feet, unlimited swag, lunch at the candy jar, booth models, endless meetings, plenty of bro-heiming and many beers starting precisely at 5 pm.
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If you've ever been to a major trade show..like MAGIC, ICSC, or CES you can picture what SIA is like. One important difference with SIA is that skiing and riding on snow is... in reality... the business of fun. The entire industry shows up in Dever for SIA; Athletes, gear brands, fashion brands, retailers, wholesalers, media, boutique brands, emerging brands, new products, old products, ski areas, non-profits....everybody. Almost 20,000 people and 106 exhibitors attend SIA. There are over 1,500 Alpine ski models on the market and more than 1,000 snowboard varietals. There are 30 million participants in skiing and snowboarding in the U.S. Skiing and snowboarding equipment, apparel and accessories achieved more than $3.3 billion in sales last year. It's a big biz, and SIA is the most important event of the year.
Full Disclosure: AspenSpin has promotional relationships with several brands. Over the years, A-Spin has become associated with some of the greatest gear and apparel brands available World Wide. The following brands have been extremely loyal to us...and hopefully we return the favor. Our ski kit is as follows: Outerwear (Kjus) Mid-Layer (Neve) Under-layer & socks (Ice-breaker, Ibex and Smarwool), Skis (Kastle), Optics (Oakley), Extreme Weather Gear (The North Face), Footwear (Nike), Apres Ski (Haute Hippie), Beanies (Free Time Goods). Boots, poles, helmet (sponsorships available).
Aspen homies were all over the floor. It's always great to see Aspen representing. Spotted dominating at SIA were local Aspen brands; High Society, Strafe, Obermeyer, Free Time Goods, Poc, Vintage Ski World Hometown retailers Gorsuch, Hamilton Sports, Pomeroy and Performance were checking out next year's models. Media collegues like Aspen Peak, Aspen 82, Snow Mag, Backbone Media made the scene.
The convention floor at SIA has several distinct zones. The traditional alpine brands are in the NE quadrant. As expected, the bigger the brand...the bigger the booth. Rossignol, K2, Volkl, yada, yada, yada. New energy is being provided in the alpine arena by boutique brands...like Armada (really a mid-major), Icelantic, Ski Logik, DPS, RMU and more.
The fashionista brands huddle in the SE corner. $1.4 billion was spent last year on Ski and Snowboard apparel. Brands from all over the world show their wares at SIA. In addtiton to our favorites, Kjus and Neve we were impressed by the fashion offerings from SOS, Picture, Alp n Rock, Coldsmoke and for the sparkly types...Snow Sugar.
The SW section is Street, Lifestyle and accessories which crosses over to the SE square which is home to Snowboarding. The booths in the back are loud and fun and filled with SWAG. Volcom, Lib Tech, Vans, Skullcandy and Go Pro have huge and interactive booths and lots of hottie booth models (male and female). Volcom hosted an extremely loud metal band, Diarreha Planet and free beer at exactly 5 o'clock. Actually almost evey booth has free beer at exactly 5 o'clock. Emerging brands like INI Cooperative, Spacecraft and Wrong Gear brought their fresh new looks to the show.
SIA is crazy and fun and you get to see what's hot for next year. Bright colors are still important in both hard goods and softgoods. Innovative ski shapes continue to evolve with some of the smaller, more agile brands now leading the way with design development both technologically and graphically. Back country and side country gear is still the fastesat growing segment for skiing. While snowboarding has experienced a mild plateau in growth...the youth oriented apparel and lifestyle gear seems to be thriving. Actually the skiers and riders are morphing together....everybody is STOKED 4 SNOW.