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Entries in kastle (5)


SIA 2015; The Snow Show is The Bro Show

Every year, during the last weekend in January, the entire ski and snowboard industry shows up in Denver for the SIA SNOW SHOW.   SIA...the Snowsports Industries of America, hosts the biggest and rowdiest trade show in the U.S. snowsports industry.  It's the one place where all the bro's get together to make deals, reunite and party their a$$es off.

Click 4 Pix:  SIA 2015

It's more than just a convention...it's a life-style.   And it's BIG fun.  

All the best and newest ski and snowboard brands show off next years goods. The retailers see it, feel it and order it up to solidify their line-ups for the 2015-16 ski season.  

A few observations from the show:

1) Business is good.   The economy is back and retailers are planning as such.  Order flow appears to be very strong for 2015-16.

2) Not much has changed.   Sure the colors are different and there are always some new design elements with the hard goods, but the ski and snowboard industry seems a little stagnant.  But this is old news.

3) Bro's like to party.   The party scene at SIA 2015 was as strong as ever.  Maybe stronger.

4) Musical chairs continue.   It's the same people doing the same things... they are just doing it with a different brands this year.  Once you are established in the ski industry it tough to get out.  It's the Hotel California of career paths.

5) Climate Change is on everyone's mind.  The ski industry is finally coming around to the fact that climate change may have an irreparable impact on future business. Non-profits such as Protect Our Winters (POW) and Save Our Snow (SOS) were prominent with their outreach efforts throughout the convention.

6) The baby boomers are aging out and the millenials seem to be more interested in video gaming and social media than skiing and snowboarding.  This does not bode well for future growth.   Resorts and brands are begining to plan accordingly.

7) Denver has soooooo many recreational cannabis shops...it's unbelievable. 



Keep on Blogging in the FREE WORLD

AspenSpin has been publishing continuously since 2006.  That makes me an O.G. in the blogosphere. AspenSpin was the very first "powder blogger" and now all that hard work has paid off.  In 2011, AspenSpin was named the #1 winter sports blog in the world by Cision, a large international P.R. firm. We now get between 50 and 100 P.R pitches per week.  Sometimes from very unusual sources.  

We've has some great sponsor's over the years who have been very loyal to us.  KJUS, KASTLE, NEVE, GORSUCH, HESTRA and others have supported AspenSpin and we thank them.  Honestly, I don't normally like to do product reviews...unless its a product or service or brand that we actually use and truly believe in, like the ones mentioned above.  Most of the 50-to 100 p.r. pitches get deleted with the other spam.  They're impersonal and not relevant, interesting or authentic to the mountain lifestyle, Aspen or skiing.    No!!  I'm not interested in "spreading the news" about adult diapers, or broadcasting info about above ground pools or jamming with a band I've never seen...or heard...or even heard of.  It's not that easy to make someone else's agenda or their product or service seem cool.   It takes time and effort.  

So why does AspenSpin continue to document the lifestyle.  We do get to ski every day and party every night...so there's that.

Honestly, it's not for the cash (blogging is soooo lucrative).  It's not for the chicks (there are tons of them).  It's not for the accolades ( non-stop awards).  We blog for the Love, and we love to get the FREE STUFF.

Every once in a while we get an invite from an interesting, relevant, authentic source.  Something that catches our eye.  Last week it was a stampede of FREE STUFF.  Here's my take on the best of the best.

Flips Audio. headphones & amp'd speakersFLIPS AUDIO HEADPHONES:  I can't count the number of free headphone's I've received...but FLIPS AUDIO are the coolest by far.  Cooler than Skullcandy, cooler than Beats.  FLIPS Headphones are also speakers. You can just flip the ear pads around...and you have portable, amplified speakers that sound awesome. Whether you wear them on your head or not...Flips offers tremendous sound in a durable, well designed, stylish package.   Give them a try for free... Click FLIPS AUDIO.

Picture Organic Clothing. 100% Re-Cycled ski & snowboard gear.PICTURE ORGANIC CLOTHING:  Skiing and snowboarding merge together with PICTURE ORGANIC CLOTHING, one of the few outer-wear brands that totally crosses over.  RIDE, SHARE, PROTECT is the moto of this French gear manufacturer that produces its garments with an organic and environmental mission.  I received a fantastic outfit made of fully RECYCLED material.   The Welcome Jacket was a Gold Medal Winner at the 2012 IPSO show.  Picture is new to the U.S. and I can't wait to try it out on the mountain.  Click: PICTURE

GoBites. nom nom nomGOBITES:  Healthy snacks delivered.  The "snack packs" from GoBites are 100% natural and USDA certified organic.  No preservatives or additives either.  Best of all they're tasty and they get delivered to your door every month.  GoBites offers 25 varieties of healthy, portion controlled snack packs.  mmmmmm good.  Nom Nom Nom.  Order here, Click GOBITES.

Robetowl. SuperabsorbantROBETOWL:  By Cascade Designs the folks who brought you Packtowl.  Robetowl is a highly packable, ultra-soft, superabsorbant robe.  It's a robe and a towel in one.  Robetowl is a fabulous product for travelling, at home, for guests or just toss it in your gym bag.  It's machine washable and antimicrobial. A great piece of gear for anyone.  Click: ROBETOWL

Bootlegger by Camelbak

BOOTLEGGER: By  Camelbak.  Bootlegger is a low profile hydration pack designed to be worn under your ski jacket.  It's lift-friendly, lightweight (200 g) and carries 1.5 liters of hydration.  The Bootlegger is designed specifically for skiing and riding...but it can be used anytime that you want to stay hydrated.   Its a great product...perfect for hiking the Aspen Highland Bowl.  Get one, Click: BOOTLEGGER.


*AspenSpin recieved promotional considerations for this posting.



Tony and Barbara at the Kjus Booth.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. 

Click 4 Pix:


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.

It's BEER o'clock at SIA.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.

Click 4 pix:    STOKED 4 SNOW  &  FRESHIES

The Kastle Skis booth was like an oasis on the SIA Convention Floor. Click for Pix.Neve Designs from Boulder Colorado makes the greatest sweaters for men and women. Click for pix.Ski industry legend Klaus Obermeyer going strong at SIA 2013 . Click for Pix.Rory Bushfield and friends celebrated the life of Sarah Burke at a photo exhibit in her honor. Click 4 pix.


SIA Snow Show (you should go, bro.)

SIA 2012 in Denver. click 4 pix.The 2012 SIA Snow Show took place in Denver last weekend.  It's the greatest show on snow...the biggest skiing and snowboarding trade show.  All the major snow brands are there and many smaller brands and start up's represent too.   

To break it down, The SIA Snow Show is pro skiers and riders, sales execs, retail buyers, models, free food and drinks and bags and bags of swag. It's serious networking and hopefully deal making.  Unfortunately SIA's Snow Show is held at exactly the same time as the Winter X Games in Aspen...so AspenSpin was a pretty busy boy.  Carmelo and I took the quick drive down to Denver to meet up with sponsors and troll for new ones. We got to see what you'll be riding and wearing on the mountain next  Winter.

Our quick visit to Denver for SIA 2012 was fun and exciting.  We scored BIG Time.  Unofficial totals:  t-shirts (12),  hats (15), chapsticks (unlimited), sick headphones (2), awesome socks (4), stickers (325).

Sick PIX:       SIA Day 1              SIA Day 2                Spyder Party

Pow Day in Denver. 1/27/12

AspenSpin's 5 Trends for 2012/13

1) COLORS and GRAPHICS:   The brighter the better.  Both soft goods and hard goods will feature vibrant, bright with colors.  Skis and boards will incorporate even more graphical designs than they currently do.  Animal prints are here to stay...the more exotic the better (see Shaun White).  Cheetah prints, snake-skin prints and more.

2) CROSSOVER:  The bad blood between skiers and shredders is over.  It's all good as long as you can keep up.  Many companies are finally understanding that their styles might appeal to both skiers and riders.   Several brands are creating variations on a theme for both two plankers and knuckle draggers.  Alpine Touring equipment including split boarding is a segment that is growing quickly.

3) CHANGING of the GUARDS:  Some of the smaller, more boutique brands are gaining strength and influencing their HUGE corporate rivals in terms of performance, design and demand. Newer, more adventurous shapes and sick graphics are coming from the little guys. Brands that come to mind, HIGH SOCIETY, ICELANTIC, SKI LOGIC and others.  From the majors, I'm digging the new quivers from KASTLE, ROSSIGNOL and VOLKL. I can't wait to try next year's models.  *AspenSpin did not participate in the on-snow demo events

4) SILHOUETTES : Skiing is always a fashion statement:  Baggy pants are still around, but I'm seeing more and more stylish cuts coming out... even from the American brands.  The Euro-style makers continue to lead the way...but everybody is bringing out sleeker and more technical outer gear.  We are still partial to KJUS from Norway. Their collection for 2012 /13 looks awesome.  Their stuff is performance oriented and stylish.  It even makes me look "slender".

MONKEY SEE / MONKEY DO.   No new revelations here.  It is well known that the snow sports industry is an incestuous community.  Everybody knows everybody else.  Many of the execs, the reps and designers move from company to company.  It's a pretty tight network.  From my perspective as a relative outsider who lives in a small mountain town at the end of the road...I don't see very many unique ideas coming out of the inner sanctum.  The bigger they are..the more resistant they are to change and risk. It's good to see that independent start-ups are taking more risks...and succeeding.  Then everyone jumps on-board.

It was on in Denver for SIA 2012.AspenSpin's 5 TOP moments @ SIA 2012

1) BAGS of SWAG;  You don't have to be a big time blogger to get tons of free stuff. Every booth has some promotional item on their counter.  It's official, I'm a Swag-hoarder...and I love it.

2) WAFFLES on a STICK.  Thanks Vans.  It's the Breakfast of Champions.

3) MARQUES SCOTT:  The internet-famous dub step animation dancer at the Spyder party.

4) SKI LEGENDS:  Meeting and rapping with Glen Plake and Picabo Street...pretty cool.

5) The MODELS:  Like any major convention...there were a lot of "booth girls".

Wrong Gear gettin it done at SIA 2012, The Snow Show. Click for Day 1 pix.2 Legends of Skiing convine at the Snow Show. click for pix.Breakfast of Champions. Day 2 at SIA. Waffles on a Stick. Click for pix.Yeah, They let smowboarders in. SIA Day 2. Click for sick pix.

The Spyder Party went Gonzo at SIA. Click 4 Pix. 



Early Bird Special - Aspen Style

An EARLY OPENING DAY in Aspen/Snowmass??  Sounds good right?  Sign me up for that. Ski Season 2011/12 is here.  In Aspen, ummmm Snowmass the lifts fired up and the ropes dropped 5 days early.  Snowmass Mountain was primed for action.  Plenty of early season snow storms up top created an early-bird treat for the locals.  AspenSpin and many others officially kicked off the 2011/12 ski season on November 19, 2011 at Snowmass. 


AspenSpin doesn't get out to Snowmass very often, but we jumped on the opportunity to click in EARLY and RIDE.  Turns out it was POW day (sort of). Super-freaky high winds on Thursday and Friday blew most of the snow off of the Big Burn...but it was still open for business. There was even some freshies. Ankle deep in spots...but we can't tell you where.   Another 3-4" fell during the day.

Our commute was extended a wee bit, but it was "all good" on Saturday.   Being "steps away" from the Gondy on Ajax spoils us. It makes the high speed 20 minute ride on Owl Creek Road, free parking (nice) and the 2 lifts to the top seem a litlle management intensive.  For the record, AspenSpin loves FREE PARKING.  Forgetting your boots in town is not a good way to kick-off, but we realized our false start before the round-about.   It was AWESOME to get out there on the mountain and do some figure 11's.  It was pretty cold and windy...that's why they call it Winter, but we were skiing... and it was fun to have the breeze and snow in your face again.  Plenty of people were ripping at high speeds on the variable early-season conditions.  We avoided any and all human-on-human collisions and we didn't eat any wood... which is always good.  The speed, the freedom, the physical activity... there's a reason people are passionate about skiing and riding.  In Aspen, ski season is officially upon us and it came 5 days early this year.

Friday Night kicked off the weekend in style at THE WHEELER OPERA HOUSE with a screening of ALL.I. CAN. from Sherpa Films and the locally shot movie,  IF YOU WANT TO FLY from Vital Films.  Both flicks were AWESOME and helped raise money and awareness for ALPINE INITIATIVES a non-profit that strives to get action-oriented people to take action against climate change.  Click their link to learn how you can help take action.  ALPINE INITIATIVES.  The Siiiiick after party at THE RED ONION went all night long.

Turns out AspenSpin is 2 legit 2 quit. We're hoarding a bunch of new equipment from KJUS, KASTLE, HESTRA and others.  GORSUCH even tuned up our rock skis (just in case) and THE ASPEN CLUB's ski-conditioning class definitely paid dividends.  

So we'll see ya out there...almost every day. We're doing the snow dance right now. Let's get it on, Aspen.   Click 4 Pix  EARLY BIRD SPECIAL-- ASPEN STYLE

V.P. of Marketing Christian Knapp samples the goods. Photo: Jeremy Swanson / ASC.Torin Yater-Walace shows his opening day form. Photo: Jeremy Swanson / ASC. click 4 pix.