Hello from SIA –
It has been three months since I officially took over the position of president here at SIA. It’s been great to reconnect with friends from across the industry and meet so many of you. My #1 priority has been to make these first months a time of listening and learning. Our conversations have offered many perspectives and ample feedback on SIA and the direction and focus of the organization. I thank everyone who has engaged in conversation, as it’s all valuable input and there is no doubt it will help shape the future of SIA.
I’ve joined SIA during a pivotal time in our industry. Depending on where you live, it was either feast or famine this season. The inconsistent snow, in addition to outdoor retail chains being in the news (and not for the right reasons), have drawn varied reports on the state of our industry.
I’ve spent a lot of time with the data, which clearly indicates that the winter sports industry is stable. For the past decade, more than 30 million Americans consider themselves skiers or snowboarders. And contrary to what has recently been published, snowboarding IS healthy. (see here for the synopsis that SIA has been aggressively disseminating to media).
Overall, retail sales in winter sports have kept pace with economic growth. This season, specialty retail sales in the West are up 15% in dollars sold to $955M (Aug 2015-Feb 2016), great news after a four year drought. And the Snow Show and On-Snow Demo continue to serve as the most impactful industry gatherings of the year, with over 20,000 attendees; 3,031 companies hailing from the industry, reps, buying groups and media; and 6,162 buyers from 1,214 managements, representing over 20,000 retail store fronts worldwide. Total snow sports buying power at the show held steady at 80.6%.
Bottom line is that we live and breathe in a seasonal and weather-dependent business, which means ebbs and flows in participation and sales are a natural part of the cycle. Some years are just better than others.
I’m likely not telling you anything that you don’t already know. What I do want to be clear in relaying from my post here at SIA, is that I’m well aware of the current landscape and am actively exploring what we can do to better serve the industry now and into the future.
SIA has always played a central role in the growth and success of the winter sports industry. It is my job to evolve and grow the organization’s positive contribution and impact.
Internally, we are evaluating existing programs and communication platforms to determine what shifts are necessary to meet our members’ changing needs. Externally, we are actively listening to what you have to say. Hundreds of hours have been spent in conversation with our stakeholders. Your feedback and input is crucial to helping SIA continue to move forward. My team and I welcome your comments and invite you to start a dialogue about what you saw this season and what resources, assets and decisions would best serve your organization.
Similarly, I plan to communicate with you on a regular basis. You can expect to hear from me with updates on SIA and relevant issues to the industry.
Looking forward to good things to come!