McLEAN, VA (March 18, 1999) – In what is developing as the secondstraight year of softening sales, overall dollars spent in the snowsports industry this season slipped 3.3 percent by the end of January1999, according to the fourth SIA Topline Retail Audit. Bright spotsincluded a surge in short ski sales, growth in junior shell parkas andsolid gains in snowboard equipment.

“The energy of snowboarding is still going strong,” said Greta Brumbach, research manager for Ride Snowboards. “The sport seems to be getting a second wind. The new life is due to snowboarding thinking outside of the box with respect to attracting new participation while still maintaining the lifestyle of the sport,” she added.

Total retail dollars spent in the industry during the period August 1, 1998, through January 31, 1999, reached $1.6 billion. Total sales at snow sports specialty stores were $1.2 billion (down 2 percent from last season) and chain store sales fell 8 percent to $393.9 million.

“We are about the same as last season,” said March Loebe, owner of snowboard shop the Boardroom, of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “In general, my colleagues that also own shops are having a good season this year.” A trend that Loebe pointed out is that “we are seeing more dads and moms involved in the sport of snowboarding, which bodes really well for the future.”

Short Skis
Short skis, or skiboards, have been on the market for approximatelythree years and have shown tremendous growth in that short timeperiod. In specialty stores, sales are up 158 percent in dollars and up 145 percent in units. At chain stores, short skis increased 165 percent in dollars and 160 percent in units.

“Skiboards’ sell-through at retail is strong this season,” commented Salomon spokesperson, Todd Maxhom. According to Maxhom, the far-reaching exposure that skiboards are getting this year is building a lot of excitement for next season.

Junior Shell Parkas
In both snow sports specialty shops and chain stores, junior shellparkas increased over 200 percent in dollars. In units, junior shellparkas increased 186 percent in specialty shops and 241 percent inchain stores. The average selling price of a junior shell parka was$97 at specialty shops and $65 in chain stores.

According to Mobius Ski & Sportswear’s General Manager, Jan Nystrom, the figures from the Retail Audit are indicative of their company’s sales experience in junior shell parkas. “We are also seeing those types of increases in our entire kids market. Our kids market has been growing for the past five years. In the past three, we’ve experienced the largest jump in this product category.”

Snowboard Equipment
Despite weather problems, snowboard equipment sales sustained solidgains in both chain stores and specialty shops. Sales grew 14 percentin dollars and 13 percent in units in chain stores and 18 percent indollars and 7 percent in units at specialty shops.

In individual categories, snowboards were up 31 percent in dollars and 22 percent in units in specialty stores; average selling price of a board was $284. At chain stores, snowboards experienced an increase of 26 percent in dollars and 23 percent in units; average selling price was $163. Snowboard boots increased 9 percent in dollars and 8 percent in units at specialty stores. At chain stores, boots rose 10 percent in dollars and 12 percent in units. Snowboard bindings fell slightly in specialty shops, down 4 percent in dollars and 7 percent in units. At chain stores, sales were flat but units were up 2 percent.

Alpine and Snowboard ApparelAlpine apparel sales rebounded slightly from the warm first half ofDecember. In specialty stores, alpine apparel sales were off 7percent in dollars for the season to date and off 4 percent in dollars at the chains. In units, alpine apparel was down 14 percent in specialty stores and down 4 percent in chain stores.

Snowboard apparel sales slowed down with a drop of 23 percent in doars in specialty shops and a decrease of 18 percent in dollars in chain stores. In units, snowboard apparel sales were down 24 percent in specialty shops and down 42 percent at the chains.

Alpine Apparel – Shell parkas (men’s, women’s and juniors) increased in dollars by 8 percent in specialty stores, with junior shell parkas showing the strongest gains, with a 293 percent increase in dollars. At the chains, shell parkas increased 18 percent in dollars, with junior shell parkas experiencing a 288 percent increase in dollars. In units, shell parkas were up 20 percent in specialty shops and up 33 percent in chain stores. Suits were down 24 percent in dollars and down 17 percent in units at specialty shops. In chain stores, suits dropped 35 percent in dollars and 32 percent in units. Alpine apparel tops were down 11 percent in both dollars and units in specialty stores. In chain stores, alpine apparel tops slipped 8 percent in dollars and were flat in units sold. Insulated parkas (men’s, women’s and juniors) were down in dollars at specialty shops by 14 percent, 13 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Units sold were down 13 percent, 15 percent and 6 percent for men’s, women’s and juniors, respectively. In chain stores, sales of men’s insulated parkas were up 3 percent, women’s fell 33 percent and juniors decreased 18 percent. Units sold were up 2 percent for men, and down 34 percent and 8 percent for women’s and juniors. Bottoms dropped 10 percent in dollars, 16 percent in units, at specialty stores. In chain stores, bottoms were down 5 percent in dollars, up 2 percent in units at chain stores. Fleece tops were up 9 percent in dollars and 5 percent in units at specialty shops, and increased 12 percent in dollars and 17 percent in units in chain stores.

Snowboard Apparel – Sales of snowboard tops were up 3 percent in chain stores and down 10 percent at specialty shops. In units sold, snowboard tops decreased 21 percent at chain stores and 11 percent in specialty shops. Bottoms fell 30 percent in dollars and 34 percent in units at specialty shops, and dropped 36 percent in dollars and 54 percent in units in chain stores.

Alpine and Nordic Equipment
Overall, alpine ski equipment sales remained virtually flat in dollarsat specialty shops and fell 12 percent in chain stores. Units soldwere down 10 percent at specialty shops and down 17 percent in chainstores. Nordic ski equipment dropped 11 percent in dollars and 13percent in units at specialty. In chain stores, Nordic ski equipmentfell 20 percent in dollars and 27 percent in units at chain stores.

Growth areas in alpine equipment are skiboards (short skis) and adultshaped skis, which continue to increase steadily. The short skiphenomenon continued unabated with sales climbing 158 percent inspecialty shops and 166 percent in chain stores. Units sold were up145 percent in specialty stores and up 161 percent in chain stores. Adult shaped skis were up 8 percent in dollars, 7 percent in units, atspecialty stores; at chain stores adult shaped skis were up 1 percentin dollars and 11 percent in units.

All alpine skis were up 3 percent in dollars, down 3 percent in units, at specialty shops. In chain stores, all alpine skis were down 5 percent in dollars and down 1 percent in units sold. Traditional skis continued to fall – which is expected because of the shift to shaped skis – dropping 30 percent in dollars and 47 percent in units at specialty stores. In chain stores, traditional skis dropped in sales by 82 percent and in units by 86 percent. Alpine boots were flat in dollars and down 2 percent in specialty stores; at chain stores, alpine boots were down 9 percent in dollars and down 7 percent in units.

Rossignol Ski Company president Hugh Harley, indicated that from an alpine hardgoods standpoint, “the Audit is reflective of the market.” He further stated that “inventory levels for alpine equipment are in good shape due to the conservative positions taken by retailers and suppliers. However, if we as an industry get too conservative, we may get caught with inventory levels that are too low to supply product.”

Equipment and Apparel Accessories
Overall, equipment and apparel accessories were up 1 percent indollars and down 7 percent in units, at specialty shops; and down 3percent in dollars, up 5 percent in units, at chain stores.

Equipment Accessories – In chain stores, goggles, auto racks and sunglasses increased in dollars by 9 percent, 10 percent and 15 percent, respectively; units sold were up 8 percent, up 3 percent and down 8 percent, respectively. At specialty shops, goggles and auto racks fell in dollars by 6 percent and 12 percent; sunglasses were up 2 percent in dollars. Units sold for goggles, auto racks and sunglasses were down 22 percent, up 3 percent and down 1 percent, respectively.

Snowshoes were down 13 percent in dollars, 33 percent in units, at specialty shops. In chain stores, snowshoes dropped 60 percent in dollars and 58 percent in units. Sales of helmets fell 43 percent in specialty stores and 52 percent in chain stores. Units sold were down 39 percent at specialty, and down 50 percent in chains.

According to Jim Spring of Leisure Trends, the research firm thatconducts the Retail Audit for SIA, the decline in snowshoe and helmetnumbers can be attributed in large part to “the low in stockpositions.”

Apparel Accessories – In chain stores, underwear and headwear rose 40 percent and 17 percent in dollars and increased 45 percent and 39 percent in units. At specialty shops, sales of both underwear and headwear were up 31 percent each; units sold were up 27 percent and 23 percent, respectively. In chain stores, turtlenecks were down 19 percent in dollars, 12 percent in units. In chain stores, sock sales were down 25 percent and units sold decreased 21 percent. At specialty shops, turtlenecks fell 10 percent in dollars and 35 percent in units. Sock sales at specialty surged 58 percent while units sold increased 29 percent. In chain stores, both winter boots and gloves were up 3 percent in dollars; units sold of winter boots were up 18 percent, of gloves, up 14 percent. In specialty shops, sales of winter boots and gloves increased 63 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Units sold of winter boots surged 62 percent and of gloves, 5 percent.

SnowSports Industries America (SIA) is the national, nonprofit, member-owned trade association of more than 800 competing snow sports product manufacturers, suppliers and distributors working together to promote and develop the snow sports industry. SIA produces the Vegas Show, the largest order-writing show and gathering place for the snow sports industry. Proceeds from the Vegas Show fund market development programs for all snow sports. SIA also annually produces more than a dozen industry research studies. For more information, check out www.snowlink.com or the SIA Fax-On-Demand service, (800) 730-3636.sitions taken by retailers and suppliers. However, if we as an industry get too conservative, we may get caught with inventory levels that are too low to supply product.”

Equipment and Apparel Accessories
Overall, equipment and apparel accessories were up 1 percent indollars and down 7 percent in units, at specialty shops; and down 3percent in dollars, up 5 percent in units, at chain stores.

Equipment Accessories – In chain stores, goggles, auto racks and sunglasses increased in dollars by 9 percent, 10 percent and 15 percent, respectively; units sold were up 8 percent, up 3 percent and down 8 percent, respectively. At specialty shops, goggles and auto racks fell in dollars by 6 percent and 12 percent; sunglasses were up 2 percent in dollars. Units sold for goggles, auto racks and sunglasses were down 22 percent, up 3 percent and down 1 percent, respectively.

Snowshoes were down 13 percent in dollars, 33 percent in units, at specialty shops. In chain stores, snowshoes dropped 60 percent in dollars and 58 percent in units. Sales of helmets fell 43 percent in specialty stores and 52 percent in chain stores. Units sold were down 39 percent at specialty, and down 50 percent in chains.

According to Jim Spring of Leisure Trends, the research firm thatconducts the Retail Audit for SIA, the decline in snowshoe and helmetnumbers can be attributed in large part to “the low in stockpositions.”

Apparel Accessories – In chain stores, underwear and headwear rose 40 percent and 17 percent in dollars and increased 45 percent and 39 percent in units. At specialty shops, sales of both underwear and headwear were up 31 percent each; units sold were up 27 percent and 23 percent, respectively. In chain stores, turtlenecks were down 19 percent in dollars, 12 percent in units. In chain stores, sock sales were down 25 percent and units sold decreased 21 percent. At specialty shops, turtlenecks fell 10 percent in dollars and 35 percent in units. Sock sales at specialty surged 58 percent while units sold increased 29 percent. In chain stores, both winter boots and gloves were up 3 percent in dollars; units sold of winter boots were up 18 percent, of gloves, up 14 percent. In specialty shops, sales of winter boots and gloves increased 63 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Units sold of winter boots surged 62 percent and of gloves, 5 percent.

SnowSports Industries America (SIA) is the national, nonprofit, member-owned trade association of more than 800 competing snow sports product manufacturers, suppliers and distributors working together to promote and develop the snow sports industry. SIA produces the Vegas Show, the largest order-writing show and gathering place for the snow sports industry. Proceeds from the Vegas Show fund market development programs for all snow sports. SIA also annually produces more than a dozen industry research studies. For more information, check out www.snowlink.com or the SIA Fax-On-Demand service, (800) 730-3636.