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Posted: February 24, 2014

WINTER SPORTS 2014 @ the Snow Show

Sports brands gear up for annual event

Gigi Sukin

For the past four years, a mass migration has made its way from the mountains to the Mile High City for the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) annual Snow Show, where retailers explore stock for the upcoming season, manufacturers peddle their latest and greatest innovations, and likeminded athletes, reps, media and more convene.

Now going on year five at the Colorado Convention Center, Jan. 30 - Feb. 2 marks SIA’s 60th anniversary, and David Ingemie, president of the nonprofit, member-owned trade association predicts a “booming sense of optimism” at this year’s Snow Show, after a few slow years.

“It’s all attributed to early snow,” Ingemie says. “I think the buyers are going to be less conservative than in the last couple of years. They’re going to be looking for new stuff, willing to try new things.”

Last year’s Show saw more than 19,000 attendees and roughly 1,000 snow sports brands, occupying nearly 334,000 square feet of exhibit space at the Colorado Convention Center.

And while many Snow Show attendees would gladly take a day on the slopes rather than cramped into a convention space, Denver’s Rocky Mountain landscape surely trumps the Las Vegas Strip, the trade show’s former venue, for this particular audience.

“Literally everybody working in Denver understands skiing and snowboarding,” Ingemie says. “It affects the Show … the attitude and understanding, it’s real, refreshing and genuine.”

Retailers and representatives from Colorado ski towns are an obvious asset to SIA. Plus, Ingemie says, “Having our Show in their back yard definitely boosts local participation.”

Echoing the Colorado love, Tom Winter, vice president of marketing for Avon-based Liberty Skis, said that while the industry faces challenges, including climate change and high costs, “We’re lucky that Colorado has, in my opinion, the most competitive season pass pricing in the world. That means that in Colorado, skiers and snowboarders have more cash to spend on things like skis or a new jacket.”

Snow Show by the numbers:

54

The Snow Show came in at No. 54 on the 2013 list of the Top 250 largest trade shows in the U.S., according to a report published by the Tarsus Group’s Trade Show News Network last April.

$30-40 million

The annual economic impact of the Snow Show, according to SIA President David Ingemie.

96

Percentage of SIA Show attendees who say the event meets their business objectives.

17

Colorado Mountain College’s national ranking by CNN/Money for student success among more than 800 two-year colleges. CMC has recently developed a pilot program for snow sports career-seekers to benchmark their skills and plans to present certificates to the first graduates at the 2014 Snow Show.

$425 million 

The amount Denver has invested in the convention industry by building and expanding the Colorado Convention Center and growing the convention staff at Visit Denver during the past 20-plus years. In 2012, the industry had a $530.1 million impact in the metro area (according to Visit Denver).

74

Miles between Denver and Copper Mountain, the new destination for SIA’s On-Snow Demo.

LOOK OUT FOR

The Liberty Helix by Liberty Skis will return to the Snow Show with modest tweaks for 2015. “Ideal for Colorado skiers ... the not-too-fat, not-too-skinny” ski features a high-tech bamboo core, according to Tom Winter, vice president of marketing for Liberty Skis.

New to the Show for 2014: 

Craft @ SIA

 “From a business standpoint, things are getting more and more competitive,” Winter says. “There are a lot of small brands entering the marketplace.” SIA responded to the trend of small batches and handcrafted skis and boards with this new program. According to SIA, independent manufacturers now make up roughly 5 percent of the hard goods market. Still, “the custom-made influence is felt throughout the industry,” Ingemie says. Colorado brands participating in Craft include 7 Mile Skis, based in Silverthorne, FloSkis of Vail and others.

On-Snow Demo moves to Copper Mountain

The On-Snow Demo/Ski-Ride Fest, previously held at Winter Park, will shift to Copper Mountain for 2014. The resort is home to the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center, the only full-length downhill, early-season training facility in the world, as well as Woodward at Copper, a recently renovated indoor/outdoor action sport training facility. Snow sports retailers and media can test gear previewed at the Convention Center, including skis, boards, backcountry gear and more.

Locals-Only Guest List:

For just a taste of the Colorado-presence at the Snow Show check out:

Honey Stinger  (Steamboat)

Fat-ypus Skis (Breckenridge)

Never Summer Industries (Denver)

Liberty Skis (Avon)

Crescent Moon Snowshoes (Boulder)

Skea (Avon)

Strafe Outerwear (Aspen Highlands)

Venture Snowboards  (Silverton)

Rocky Mountain Underground (Denver)

Saucerwax (Golden)

Sport Obermeyer Ltd (Aspen)

Loki (Grand Junction)

Gigi Sukin is an Associate Editor at ColoradoBiz. She can be reached at gsukin@cobizmag.com.

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