By: TransWorld Business
April 4, 2014
This year’s Snowboarding Industry Conference kicked off in Mammoth Tuesday, April 1, as a group of the snowboard industry’s executives and decision-makers arrived to a late season storm that brought 18″ of fresh powder to the mountain through Wednesday morning. This year’s opening night address was given by Todd Richards, World Snowboarding Champion and U.S. Olympian, and spanned a wide range of diverse topics including his thoughts on how big contest formats like the Olympics have affected the sport, ways we can all get more kids stoked on the sport, and why snowboarding should become more vocal in paying tribute to its roots.
The entire conference was up bright and early Wednesday to take advantage of Early Ups Mountain Access with Mammoth’s Gabe Taylor. By 2 p.m., attendees—tired, yet stoked on one of the best days of the season—reconvened at the Mammoth Lodge conference center to hear from Kelly Davis, SIA‘s Director of Research, on some of the latest numbers for this season through the end of February. The snowboarding market is currently at $3.3 billion, which is up 7% in dollars and 5% in units sold versus this time last year, and margins were up across snowboarding products, except for snowboards specifically—an area that Davis says she will be digging in more deeply to figure out. Overall, the numbers are positive, says Davis, pointing out that total sales are continuing to climb, and that this year will be the first for the snowboarding industry to surpass $3.5 billion.
Bonfire Founder and SIA Snowboard Committee leader Brad Steward also took the podium to discuss a consumer research study that SIA is working to complete by the end of this year, with the goal of answering the question “who is the snowboard consumer?,” what does the core and non-core look like as far as behavior patterns, and how can we get both lapsed snowboard enthusiasts and new ones to the mountains.