SIA Newsletter

Bill Yano – Saskatoon, SK

I was born in Saskatoon, Sask., Canada in 1962 and, like all prairie kids, grew up playing hockey. Gordie Howe was a friend of my fathers, so I was always told that I would play in the NHL for the Detroit Red Wings.

At the age of 14 I discovered alpine skiing at a local hill that was built for the Canada winter games, (the first skier down the hill was gold medalist Nancy Greene). After my first day of skiing, I was hooked.

The following winter, I stopped playing hockey to take up skiing. In 1976,  I got a part-time job at a local ski shop working after school and on Saturdays. I guess you could say I was consumed by skiing and the industry. I soon became involved in the local race leagues for a number of years, first as a competitor, then as a coach. Then I went on to be a member of the Cassia as a level 2 instructor and the CCSA, as a level 2 coach as well. In August of 1984, I was hired by skis Rossignol to be a tech rep in Alberta, Canada….. WOW! My dream job just landed in my lap. I moved to the city of Edmonton to start my career in the ski industry. Six months later (March of85) I was offered a sales position, covering Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Lake Head territory.

Here we are 27 years later and I still have the same passion for the sport and industry. I have seen a lot of changes over the past 27 years. Trends come and go, but it’s the people that keep me working, I have been at store owners kid’s birthday parties, seen them graduate high school then college, and be present at their weddingsdamn I’m old! and even take over the family business. I have been Saskatoon very lucky to have had the pleasure of working for The Rossignol for the last 27 years. I have also enjoyed over a decade with Helly Hansen and have recently joined Smith Optics.

This award is the highest honour that can be given  to me. It is voted on by my customers. They’re saying that I’m one of the reasons that they’re succeeding in or with their business. That makes me proud.

I love the sport. I love to be on the snow. I am still the end user. I have the greatest job in the world. I get to tell people how much  fun sliding is. Do what you love, but love what you do! I sell fun. I project fun. Today’s successful retailers have fun. There also end users. They ski together. They ride together. They hike together. They are committed to the sport, embracing new trends, colours or technology. If you go to your local Apple store, chances are it’s always full and you have to wait to talk to someone. The kids on the Apple floor love their product. They eat, sleep and breathe it. The consumer feels that excitement, and more often than not they buy something before leaving. That is what I do every time I go into a store. Talk about the sport, remind them we are selling fun new snow in the hills, new rails, or big air. When you love what you do, it’s easy to do what you love.

These are my two favourite quotes:

  • Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life
  • Never knock a competitor’s productyou might be selling it the next day.