By Carson Cordasco
For the most part, the customers at Mountain Cycle and Snowboard, in McCall, Idaho, aren’t aware of snowboard-industry happenings. “There are a handful of kids who know exactly what’s going on and then there’re the moms and dads who are completely out of the loop,” says Owner Kerry Greene. “There’s very little visibility of the snowboard industry in my small resort town in Central Idaho–kids have to go to Bend, Oregon just to ride a halfpipe.”
In turn, there seems to be very little effect on business. “Awareness of the industry isn’t driving the sport, the mainstreaming of it is,” comments Greene. The exposure that comes from the X-Games or the Gravity Games or even “Ronald McDonald snowboarding,” is bringing more customers into the shop. He adds that there are so many outsiders that the pro models are less in demand. Many customers are looking for cheap package deals for introductory board riding.
In Spokane, Washington, many of the customers shopping Crescent Downworks simply know anything about what’s going on in the industry. “I think just one guy mentioned the K2/Ride buyout,” says Manager Steve Sanchez, but he added that most of the snow gossip doesn’t reach the Crescent Downworks customer base.
According to Sanchez, the sixteen- to nineteen-year old kids who are usually the most dialed-in seem to the most narrow-minded at the shop. “They all have their minds set on Foursquare and Forum,” says Sanchez, who calls them the walking Forum zombies. “It seems like if we don’t have the right Forum pro model, they’re out of here, They all need the J.P. Walker or nothing.”
At Newt and Harold’s in Boise, Idaho, owner Lori Wright says “our sixteen- to 24-year-old males are more educated than ever, whereas women and crossover skiers don’t know much about snowboarding at all.”
Most of those sixteen- to 24-year-old males are really studying buyer’s guides and know what they want when they come into the shop. However, Wright says, “I don’t think the consumers care about the industry, they just want to ride and have fun.”
The shop’s customers don’t need to be too educated because the shop employees are educated enough through the various clinics the shop holds with the manufacturers, Wright says. “This way the employees can know the stats and one, two, threes. The customer doesn’t have to.”
According to manager Rob Aragon of Exit Real World in Salem, Oregon, “The kids know more than the parents and know more about the Morrow buyout than the Ride buyout.
“It doesn’t really affect us,” he adds, “except that the kids just ask more questions.” The most apparent result of the kids’ awareness of the industry, Aragon says: “They think that all of the rumors, rubbish, and ramblings they read in Tiny Type and Yellow Sno are true.”