McLEAN, VA (Winter, 2001-02) ¿ The unaudited numbers for the 2001 SIA SnowSports Show indicate increases in buyer turnout over last year. The show took place March 9-13, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The buying power index, representing the percentage of the total buy within the snow sports industry that is in attendance at the trade show, exceeded 90 percent. Attendance numbers showed 2,122 shops and 5,761 buyers registered in 2000 versus 2,217 shops and 5,772 buyers in 2001. Next year’s SIA SnowSports Show, January 29 ¿ February 2, will be in a similar timeframe previously occupied by the Outdoor Retailer show. The 2002 SIA SnowSports Show will be the kick-off to the buy/sell cycle where retailers can preview all of the product lines in one place at one time.

In the supplier category, 476 snow sports companies exhibited their products at the 2001 show, ranging from skis, snowboards and snowshoes to outerwear, gloves and goggles. There were also less predictable offerings including knobby-wheeled snowboards, snowbikes and other “mountain toys”; ski- and snowboard-oriented action figures; mechanical snowball-makers; gem-encrusted globes; and, for hungry outdoor enthusiasts there was “Bob’s Bean Bomb”, a spicy refried bean dip.

Buyers from small specialty stores as well as large chains viewed the new lines, networked and wrote orders for winter. “The show for me was very successful,” commented Marlyce McGee, owner of Powder House in Bend, OR. “We were booked every hour. We definitely left feeling that we got all of the product that we wanted.”

Al Anderson, snowboard buyer for Pioneer Midwest Ski Shop in Maple Grove, MN, said, “Since this was my first show, I was truly overwhelmed by how huge it was. For the three days we were there we just got busy and got in as many appointments as we could. We all thought it was great and we’ll be back next year for sure.”

While the number of exhibitors was slightly down, with 503 in 2000 and 476 in 2001, 81 new exhibitors were on the floor and many commented that they were happy with their first experience at the show. Scott Fliegelman, general manager of new member Odlo USA, said, “Although our company has a 55 year heritage, we were delighted to come into the show as a ‘new’ company and really get ourselves some attention. It was definitely a successful show for us – we’re looking forward to next year.”Many long-time SIA members also reported that they were able to do business effectively and efficiently at the show.

Kathy Puga, vice president of sales for StormKloth, said, “I do a lot of trade shows each year and this one is such a pleasure ¿ it’s really a class act. It’s put together well, it’s professional, and there are quality meetings going on. SIA does a great job of supporting their members and the show makes it very easy to do business.” Susie Wiyninger, merchandise manager for Nils, concurred: “We were really busy throughout the show and we got a lot of orders in. It’s exciting because we’re thrilled with our new line and it looks like the buyers are as well.”

Over 430 members of the press flocked to the show as well, hoping to check out the latest trends and hippest items on the horizon for the upcoming Olympic year. Journalists from media outlets including ESPN, Stuff Magazine, and TransWorld SNOWboarding had the opportunity to interview many elite athletes and shining stars of the snow sports industry. In addition, the extreme skier who recently descended Mount Everest, Davo Karnicar, was on hand to share slides and stories of his epic adventure.

Of the 476 SIA members exhibiting in 2001, 200 have already committed to booth space for the 2002 show. Those 200 companies represented 237,000 square feet of space in 2001, but for 2002, their requested space totals 269,000 square feet – an increase of 13%. In addition, 21 outdoor companies that did not exhibit in 2001 have requested space totaling almost 20,000 square feet.

Bob Orbacz, SIAA’s director of finance commented, “We have a total of 289,000 square feet of space already spoken for. We still have nine more months, but it’s already looking like the 2002 show is going to be very big.”

The new exhibitors committed so far for the 2002 show are: Merrell, W.L. Gore, Kavu, Mtn. Hardwear, Sierra Designs, Chisco, Black Flys, Ziffco, Malden Mills, Solstice, Mystery Ranch, Cloudveil, Pacific Trail, Dimension Snowboards, Columbia, Karhu, Chuck, Roast, Louis Garneau, A Snowboards, Hors LaLors, and Lowe Alpine.