Unfortunately, it’s June so we did not take any runs with Sully but nonetheless, we caught up with Rome Snowboard’s Director of Sales on the snowboard community, SIA, his outlook for the 15-16 season and the industry overall.
LA: How long has Rome been in the industry? What resources or benefits do you take advantage of as a member of SIA?
DS: This is Rome’s 14th season—we launched the first collection of Rome products at the 2002 SIA Show. So from the very beginning, we used SIA as a primary platform to introduce our brand to the world.
We take advantage of several resources and benefits—the first and most important resource is attending the SIA Snow Show in Denver and On-Snow Demo at Copper Mountain. The SIA trade show offers us the best opportunity to see the greatest number of our retail customers, international distributors, competitors, and media in one face to face setting. This is a critical element to our product launch and sales campaign each season. The On-Snow Demo allows us to get our products on the feet of our customers in the great setting of the Rocky Mountains.
We also use SIA research to aid our decisions on what products we offer, and where opportunity or caution exists. SIA’s data gives a thorough look at current trends as well as an historical perspective on the winter sports industry over the last four decades. There is a wealth of knowledge that is well researched and well documented.
LA: There’s a lot going on in our industry. How do we, SIA, help our members address these challenges?
DS: I believe many SIA members underestimate, or are unaware, of how involved SIA is in all aspects of our industry. Most members see the SIA as only hosting the tradeshow, but there is so much more that SIA does to influence our own company challenges, and broader industry-wide challenges.
SIA provides data that captures both retail and wholesale product and consumer trends—this is a huge resource for brands to make sure they keep product offerings relevant. They provide seminars at the SIA show to share the latest in-depth industry analysis—these are presented in an easy-to-attend, easy-to-digest way. They also provide regional seminars to help educate retailers and suppliers on the latest trends and issues that impact their businesses.
One huge thing SIA does that most members don’t know about, is making sure that our winter sports are in the forefront of media and non-endemic outlets. It is not coincidental that articles appear in such places as United Airlines Hemispheres Magazine, Popular Mechanics, or on the cover of the Washington Post. SIA has a huge network of media outlets that they use to feed stories, product reviews and general good will towards our winters sports businesses.
LA: As we head into the 2015-16 snow sports season, what outlook do you have on our industry and how can we all work together better?
DS: I have an optimistic outlook on the upcoming winter season. Though some regions had yet another difficult snow year, other regions are coming off their best winter in years. Inventory levels are low nationally and demand for new products is at its best level in many seasons. There is also an excitement and industry-wide movement to grow participation in winter sports—new teaching techniques and terrain, new product development, and ski resort cooperation with affordable and innovative programs to bring first timers to the hill, are all super positive things happening on a large scale. I think all of us need to work harder on getting new participants into our sports and rekindling interest in those that have not participated in a long time.
Sports like snowboarding are fun, healthy, and family based and with SIA’s help, we will succeed on getting more people to participate and share the excitement it offers.