Most U.S. companies sell their product in Europe through a distributor.

The distributor usually finances his own receivables as well as the marketing for his region.

Riders tend to support locally made products, so companies like Donuts Snowboards, based in Switzerland, can be quite strong there while remaining obscure elsewhere.

Intersport accounts for 35 percent of the snowboard-hardgoods sales in Austria.

Europe’s major trade show is ISPO in Munich, Germany. It’s where anybody who wants to make it in Europe puts their best foot forward.

Chain stores and buying groups begin writing orders much earlier than ISPO, and expect to see new product as early as November.

Post-ISPO shows begin at the end of February and last through the middle of April. Most countries have localized trade shows like the Swisspo in Zurich, Switzerland. This is where most of the orders are written.

Europe has few on-snow demos, although The ESIF (European Snowboard Industry Federation) has made a valiant effort to provide an on-snow demo for retailers following the ISPO.

Retailers in Europe will rarely see a sales rep after they’ve given their order until it’s time to place the order for the next season.