SNOWboarding Business asked industry members across the country to give their input as to what affects the war on Iraq will have on the snowboarding world. From resorts to shops to manufacturers, everyone has an opinion, but most feel that thankfully, being late in the season, the impact will be minimal, especially if the war is over quickly.

Here’s what industry members had to say (responses are in no particular order, but some do answer some specific questions directly) about the war and what it will do to the snowboard world:

Pete Saari, vp of marketing at Mervin Mfg., Seattle, Washington

How do you think the upcoming war is going to affect your snowboard buiness?

Depends how it goes. Another 9/11-type incident will hurt. George Bush taking over the Middle East could mean cheap oil. Dropping US dollar helps us sell our US-made boards overseas and hurts companies that import their boards. War sucks.

Do you think people will stop buying snowboarding products?

War is hard on the economy. New equipment is expensive. I see people spending more carefully.

Do you think people will stop going snowboarding?

War is depressing. Snowboarding is fun. I see people spending more time on the hill.

Are we lucky that the war didn’t start in January, and has let most of the season pass already? Or will it still hurt?

We are lucky it didn’t happen sooner and I hope it is over in a hurry.

What’s your opinion on the pending war?

I think George Bush is running a self-serving democratic dictatorship and I am embarrassed. I wish I was Canadian.

Cal Egbert, owner of Milosport, Salt Lake City, Utah

I am currently in Austria, but here is my shpill: The war should be short. A good indicator of American feelings is the stock market that jumped when President Bush gave the ultimatum. It should not affect our store too much overall. I am glad that it is not happening in November or December. That could have hurt more. I think people will still ride, of course.

I am glad something is finally happening. Do it or get off the pot. Or as they say here in Austria, “Ya, already”.

Bert LaMar, owner of Elevation Snowboards, Carlsbad, California

This world event won’t change one’s passion for snowboarding, but maybe when and where we do it? I’m going to Big Bear tomorrow to shred with my dad, and our team is out filming and riding at the Team Challenge. Life goes on.

Tom Mills, Director of Snowboarding, Brian Head Resort, Utah

I believe the resorts that will suffer the most are the destination (fly-to) resorts. The politically conservative boarders are less likely to fly due to the elevated level of a terrorist attack. Those resorts that are close to metropolitan areas may see an increase in business due to the fact that people will feel safer driving. I believe a portion of this increased business will be directly from those who normally fly to their favorite resorts. Instead of flying, they will seek out resorts that are within a reasonable driving distance from where they live. Those who do not live near a resort will probably abandon any plans to fly to a destination resort.

I don’t think the single die-hard boarder, who can afford to fly, will be influenced as much as the conservative boarder who may be the head of a household. Case in point is a friend of mine who is a financial advisor for Peters Financial Planning in Delaware. He is planning on flying to Salt Lake at the end of March and as long as the powder is there, than that’s where he’ll be.

If there is any good to come from this, it is the fact that it is solate in the season. Any loss of revenue in March will only be for a two-week period. Resorts see such a drop in April no matter what the political and economical climate may be.

There may be another positive twist on all of this. The reality is that the United States is clearly superior military might and the war should be short-lived. I believe that the war will end so quickly that Americans will feel much more secure about their daily lives in a relatively short period of time. In turn, the economy will experience a sharp rebound in time for next year’s purchase season for snowboard retailers. Thanks for the opportunity to voice my opinions.

Maxx vonMarbod, U.S. sales manager for Option Snowboards and NFA Clothing, Bellingham, Washington

How will war affect snowboarding? Will people still buy snowboards and go snowboarding in a time of war? In my opinion, yes.

Will people still buy copious amounts of new gear every year and take vacations in distant places. Maybe not. When I think about the winter after 9-11, many people still went snowboarding and looked to the mountain for relaxation in a stressful time. Snowboarding at local resorts went up and purchasing equipment still happened. This season Snow Summit set record rental days in a bad winter. People in California still wanted to ride.

Another consideration would be the economy. Snowboarding is a luxury sport and people tend to put off luxuries when the economy is bad. Make sure you have a well-rounded product mix that all income levels will buy.

Here’s a positive look though. Our industry is seasonal. We have a selling season in mid-winter and a buying season in the fall. If the looming war results like Desert Storm did, we’ll be through with the war and the economy will have stabilized by the time people are thinking about riding again.

I’m not in favor of bombing the heck out of Iraq, but the timing for this war could result in a decent winter. In the end, it will still come down to snow. Pray for snow and pray for a quick and peaceful end to this crisis.

John Buhler, Ski & Ride School Director, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colorado

How do you think the upcoming war is going to affect your snowboard business?

It may effect our international business, which is usually strong in April. If we continue to receive snow, I think we will stay on track for the remainder of the season.

Do you think people will stop buying snowboarding products?

This will be based on individuals’ economic situation. Unemployment is up sharply. I think the youth market will continue to buy.

Do you think people will stop going snowboarding?

No

Are we lucky that the war didn’t start in January, and has let most of the season pass already? Or will it still hurt?

Tough question. The uncertainty may have already caused people to rethink their vacations and travel less. Orange Alerts have not helped.

Sherman Poppen, founder of the Snurfer, Steamboat ride guide, Steamboat Springs, Colorado

If you have to fly to snowboard, you might not go. If you can get to snow in 3-4 hours by car, you will keep on riding.

Mer Van Roost, Drop Design/Marketing Center, Montreal, Canada

I think for sure the war will affect the industry. First off it will hurt financially for a lot of companies. The war will most likely push us further into the recession, which means less money for equipment.

The recession and fear of flying or traveling will also hurt a lot of resorts. Many international travelers who go to Cali or B.C to ride also buy new equipment when they arrive as it’s cheaper there…this will also affect sales.

International sales will also be down for sure. I think the more the US fights with Europe about involvement the more Euros will want to back European brands. Take France for instance; do you think the kids will want to support American brands? On the flip side Americans will want to support their own brands more. War always makes people more patriotic.

Will big-name snowboarders travel to Europe for all the big comps? I’m not sure. Definitely some will not want to travel too much. Because snowboarding is such a lifestyle sport, I don’t think people will stop snowboarding or stop buying products. Most snowboarders will carry on as usual. War or not, we still live check-to-check and make end’s meat by all means necessary. If we need a board we find a way, we need to get to the hill we find a way. Otherwise we jib the city rails.

I think recession and war affect the people with more money and investments that are tied into so may factors. For the average Joe Snowboarder, life goes on….

My opinions on the war vary. I think Saddam is a fool and must go. I don’t think the US and England should go to war, especially without the backing of the UN. It would really affect what the UN really means. Could be the end of the UN all together.

I don’t agree with the reasoning of Bush. He just doesn’t like the way another country is run. He wants it to be run like the US and has said he will not stop until they get someone in power that favors the US.

That is bullshit. It’s all about the oil (quite obvious, I know). What about all the money being scammed by major companies? People’s life savings being thrown out the window due to BIG CORPORATE SCAMS? Did anyone go to jail for that???

In terms of disarmament, I believe the US has weapons of mass destruction, yet everyone else must get rid of theirs? Who dropped the atom bomb? It’s really funny to see which conflicts the US government decides he should solve and which ones he let’s stand still.

WAR SUCKS, no matter what the cause.

Chris Parkhurst, K2 Snowboards Sales Manager, Vashon, Washington

I think war has definitely affected our little world. People hate uncertainty and who knows what the repercussions will be. I’ve seen retailers go into protection mode, which means taking as little risk as possible.

I don’t see people stop enjoying the sport, since everyone needs a release, but destination resort travel could be affected. I believe consumer purchases will be soft if it’s a prolonged conflict.

It’s going to be a very interesting fall. The one element that can make all good is snow, which tends to cure all.

Johnny West, Brand Manager, O’Neill Outerwear, Carlsbad, California

Fortunately at this point, I don’t think that war will have or has had an immediate effect on our industry. Pre-books are finalized and most are already onto their summer business.

One of the current effects that the precursor to war is having on our business, is the cost of air travel. With the dramatic rise in fuel and the resulting rise in airline tickets, my travel budget is close to being tapped and we are only 4 months into the year. The cost of doing business on the manufacturer side is increasing because of this. Obviously, there is some concern for international travel at this time as well. Typically we are getting ready to go to Asia in the next month or so.

However, if this turns into a long-term conflict and continues through next fall or we have some sort of domestic terrorism incident like 9/11 we may see some serious economic issues that could affect retail and manufacturer alike. Let’s hope for a fast and triumphant resolution to this problem.

Dennis Nazari, Salty Peaks, Salt Lake City, Utah

It’s the desert! They don’t know what snowboarding is. It won’t affect me! But seriously, I have said in the last few years that a war in the wrong place would affect the ability to get new products delivered (kind of like I said for years all it would take is a few bad snow years and an oversupply of product to put the industry on end).

While I realize Iraq does not produce much for the industry, there is a ripple effect that could affect everything from the attitude the world has of America to gas and oil prices affecting production costs, and you thought a UPS strike was bad!

What happens if docks close or products don’t get shipped from origin? I believe there will always be snowboarders as long as there is snow to ride.

There is enough current product supply to kp snowboarding or stop buying products. Most snowboarders will carry on as usual. War or not, we still live check-to-check and make end’s meat by all means necessary. If we need a board we find a way, we need to get to the hill we find a way. Otherwise we jib the city rails.

I think recession and war affect the people with more money and investments that are tied into so may factors. For the average Joe Snowboarder, life goes on….

My opinions on the war vary. I think Saddam is a fool and must go. I don’t think the US and England should go to war, especially without the backing of the UN. It would really affect what the UN really means. Could be the end of the UN all together.

I don’t agree with the reasoning of Bush. He just doesn’t like the way another country is run. He wants it to be run like the US and has said he will not stop until they get someone in power that favors the US.

That is bullshit. It’s all about the oil (quite obvious, I know). What about all the money being scammed by major companies? People’s life savings being thrown out the window due to BIG CORPORATE SCAMS? Did anyone go to jail for that???

In terms of disarmament, I believe the US has weapons of mass destruction, yet everyone else must get rid of theirs? Who dropped the atom bomb? It’s really funny to see which conflicts the US government decides he should solve and which ones he let’s stand still.

WAR SUCKS, no matter what the cause.

Chris Parkhurst, K2 Snowboards Sales Manager, Vashon, Washington

I think war has definitely affected our little world. People hate uncertainty and who knows what the repercussions will be. I’ve seen retailers go into protection mode, which means taking as little risk as possible.

I don’t see people stop enjoying the sport, since everyone needs a release, but destination resort travel could be affected. I believe consumer purchases will be soft if it’s a prolonged conflict.

It’s going to be a very interesting fall. The one element that can make all good is snow, which tends to cure all.

Johnny West, Brand Manager, O’Neill Outerwear, Carlsbad, California

Fortunately at this point, I don’t think that war will have or has had an immediate effect on our industry. Pre-books are finalized and most are already onto their summer business.

One of the current effects that the precursor to war is having on our business, is the cost of air travel. With the dramatic rise in fuel and the resulting rise in airline tickets, my travel budget is close to being tapped and we are only 4 months into the year. The cost of doing business on the manufacturer side is increasing because of this. Obviously, there is some concern for international travel at this time as well. Typically we are getting ready to go to Asia in the next month or so.

However, if this turns into a long-term conflict and continues through next fall or we have some sort of domestic terrorism incident like 9/11 we may see some serious economic issues that could affect retail and manufacturer alike. Let’s hope for a fast and triumphant resolution to this problem.

Dennis Nazari, Salty Peaks, Salt Lake City, Utah

It’s the desert! They don’t know what snowboarding is. It won’t affect me! But seriously, I have said in the last few years that a war in the wrong place would affect the ability to get new products delivered (kind of like I said for years all it would take is a few bad snow years and an oversupply of product to put the industry on end).

While I realize Iraq does not produce much for the industry, there is a ripple effect that could affect everything from the attitude the world has of America to gas and oil prices affecting production costs, and you thought a UPS strike was bad!

What happens if docks close or products don’t get shipped from origin? I believe there will always be snowboarders as long as there is snow to ride.

There is enough current product supply to keep snowboarders going for a couple years (that would clean up the oversupply in the industry!) but the hype of new stuff would definitely take a hit. And what if there is another terrorist hit on U.S. soil? In many ways that in itself would have a crippling affect on many leisure industries. I know when we started Salty Peaks, we where coming out of a recession and were quite concerned about the reduction of discretionary income affecting sales and always watched the bottom line.

These days, the spin doctors are trying to make everyone think the economy not that bad and the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight, but the reality is the 4 biggest corporate bankruptcies in the history of the world have happened in the last 2 years and others are on the brink , all the indicators say it will get worse before it will get better, it will not be a bright picture for the industry in the future, the faster this is recognized the better off individual manufactures and retailers will be as the belt is tightened (you just want to make sure the belt is not around your neck when you tighten it!) Hey, and if that’s not the case and we see a full turnaround after the war then you’ll still be that much better off.

Davy Kammer, Head Snowboards Sales Manager, Byfield, Massachusetts

How long the war last will play a crucial role. If it is quick and only last a few weeks, than by the fall things will return to business as usual. It does not take long for us here in this country to quickly put things behind us and move on. If the war lingers for a few months – it will take a little longer for people to put it behind them.

People are always cautious when their future is uncertain. With the terrorist threat, the economy and the inevitable war people will be a little cautious on how the spend their money and where they travel. This will have an impact on almost every industry–ours included.

Which brings me back to the point of time. A quicker war will hopefully lead to a stabling economy and lessen the threat of a terrorist attack = consumer confidence will return.

As far as Head Snowboards goes, we have seen a dramatic increase this year in preseason orders and are up 45% from last year’s preseason orders. So for our company we are increasing sales in a slow economy, pending war, terrorist threat, and a meager snow year.

Just think what Head Snowboards could do with peace, a good economy, and a good snow year?

About the war, whether we agree with it or not, war is never a good thing. Our prayers go out to the troops that put their asses on the line serving our country – so that we have the freedom to ride whenever we want. But most of all we pray for snow.

John McColly, Director of Marketing, Mountain High Resort, Wrightwood, California

I don’t see business levels being affected too much at Mountain High for two reasons. One, it’s towards the end of the season anyway. Two: Our clientele is younger and thereby less affected/interested in politics.

Dave Fields, Marketing Director, Snowbird, Utah

We’ve had two customers from Japan cancel their reservation so far today, but that’s it. I’ve also had a journalist who was planning to visit tell me he couldn’t come tomorrow as planned because he works for ABC and can’t get away.

The snowboard industry is incredibly lucky that this war did not start earlier but it will have an impact whenever it happens. Due to 9-11 and the threat of additional domestic terrorism, I believe this war could be more impactful than the Gulf War.

I’m leaving for a ski writers’ conference in eastern Canada tomorrow and the idea that war could commence while I’m away from my family definitely crossed my mind. Luckily the average snowboarder tends to be adventurous and willing to assume risk in the name of powder.

There are lots of people talking about war on the Tram today, but once they step off their conversations quickly shift to finding fresh tracks (25