By: Brandon Bunnewith
February 20, 2013
I want to start off by giving a huge thank you to all the people that made this trip happen! It was an unreal experience that I wouldn’t have had otherwise without all of the good people at SIA and Skiing Business. I can safely say that I may have to cheat on Boston to spend some more time in Denver—that city rules! The vibe and atmosphere is much more relaxed and clean feeling than any other city I have visited before.
I now understand why so many reps are relieved when the trade show days are over. After spending three straight days in the Colorado Convention Center walking around and learning about all of the new product, and three straight nights of…partying I was pretty tired. Walking around a convention center all day turns out to be a decent workout too! And you would never expect how a nice trade show booth could turn into a bar within a matter of minutes!
I was really excited to see the presence of smaller niche brands at the Show and be able to have their product in my hand for the first time. Being on the East Coast, there was never too much first-hand exposure to a lot of the “new guys on the block.” The industry needs brands like these to keep it fresh and it seems that a lot of the younger generations of skiers are migrating towards these companies. The technology sector of the industry seems to keep evolving, which is really no surprise. I am very interested to see how fast certain goggle systems like Recon will evolve and how sensitive people will be to these systems. I think that the system is really sweet and a lot more functional than how I perceived it to be before wearing them. With the success of the backcountry market expanding like rapid fire, I was very impressed with the new gear I saw. Traditional manufacturers are doing a great job building presence in this market with new lighter weight boots, skis and bindings.
I was able to get a half day in up at demo day before heading home. The best part about Winter Park was that I was able to try stuff basically on every surface in one run, which we don’t have the benefit of doing at the eastern demo day. While I skied a few of the manufacturers we carry at home, I wanted to get out and try some of the niche brands that I was able to see in the convention center. I was really impressed with the new Icelantic SKNY line and am thankful that we will have them for the East Coast next year. Since I couldn’t waste too much time in between runs, I skied the new Atomic Waymaker 130 carbon boot most of my day. I found it to be extremely comfortable and had a great design. The new Smith Variant was my brain bucket for the day and I enjoyed the fit of that helmet over the previous variant brim.
The experience as a whole was very beneficial to me. It gave me good prospective on the industry that I want to get into when I graduate in May. Along the way I was able to meet some great people! Thanks to the people at SIA, Skiing Business and my reps at Nordica, Smith and Atomic. By stopping at booths of the brands I really wanted to see, I was able to meet some great guys at Discrete Headwear, Icelantic and Oakley.
I hope that I will be able to use the guidance and words of wisdom to break into the industry and start my career. I have started my job search in hopes of landing a tech rep position for next season or make my way into sales or marketing inside one of these great companies. Again thanks to SIA and Skiing Business, you guys killed it and I’m super stoked!