It’s one-stop shopping for the backcountry snowboarder.
Avalanche transceivers, shovels, probe poles, collapsible hiking poles, backpacks, snowshoes, technical outerwear, and lots of other traditional mountaineering products are being utilized by snowboarders for backcountry travel. But are manufacturers targeting the snowboarder as a viable consumer?
To find out we scoured the aisles of the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show held at the Reno Convention Center during the last weekend of January.
In general, the snowboarding element was largely ignored, but certain booths were highlighted by large photographs of riders and brochures focusing on snowboarders’ needs. One of the strongest product categories recognizing snowboarders’ dollars were the snowshoe manufacturers. Tubbs, Atlas, Yuba, and Redfeather all magnified their link with snowboarders. Greg Wozer of Leki ski poles commented that more and more snowboard retailers are making orders for collapsible hiking poles. Still, most of these orders aren’t happening at the show. “We get most of our snowboard-related orders through our regional reps, but the feedback from specialty outdoor shops is that snowboarders are becoming more and more noticeable customers,” says Wozer.
To provide for these niche customers, companies like Leki are coming out with products especially for snowboarders. Leki introduced a new collapsible pole with a clip meant to strap to highback bindings on the way down the mountain. Tubbs snowshoes has introduced a binding system made especially for snowboarders, and Marmot released a new snowboard line called The Tough Collection targeting riders with a need for technical features and fabric.
Longtime rider Jim Zellers took a few minutes to unveil the new North Face snowboard pack that Zellers designed for backcountry use. Tom Burt, who is also sponsored by the The North Face, was seen walking the aisles. Other companies like Dana Designs and Gregory also offer newly designed backpacks for snowboarders.
Certain snowboard-specific retailers such as World Boards in Bozeman, Montana and Salty Peaks in Salt Lake City, Utah have realized the importance of dedicating a small section of their shops to backcountry accessories both for safety and profit. Other more traditional outdoor retailers have also noticed a small surge in additional income from riders.
If you’re interested in stocking your shop for the backcountry snowboarder, the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market is the one-stop shopping grounds. For information about next winter’s event, contact Outdoor Retailer at (714) 499-4591.¿Eric Blehm