To deepen its corrosion of snowboarding’s corporate mainstreamification, the Rome Snowboard Design Syndicate unleashed its Dealer Council Tour on North America during the early months of the 2001-2002 season. The idea is damn simple: load up the travel bags, bring pads and pens, and go on tour talking and riding with core snowboard shops. Since the goal is to hit as many stops as possible, and include the maximum number of dealers, these aren’t big flash events¿just snowboarder-to-snowboarder conversations at low-key venues.

If shop people come looking to get a line presentation or details on the Rome project, the Dealer Council is definitely not the place. More than anything, the company’s mission at these meetings is to come with a blank piece of paper, have the people from Rome shut up, and open the door to feedback from dealers who know what’s up with snowboarding. Across the continent, the discussions have focused on the dealers’ perspectives regarding board design, shop-relevant marketing, sales issues and more¿anything that is important to the core snowboard retailer.

The program is a key component in Rome’s creation of the Snowboard Design Syndicate. Team riders and AmArmy kids will have the loudest voice in the company’s evolution, but Rome is committed to expanding beyond this level by constantly listening to the opinions of other riders beyond the team. In addition to local heads, this includes shop owners and managers who have deep roots in snowboarding and true personal knowledge of this life. These people are essential to the Rome Syndicate, and the Dealer Council is one of the primary ways that they get connected and involved.

A critical part of the Rome process, the Dealer Council Tour is an annual gig where the key people at the company go on road to different regions of North America. In order to keep the company knee-deep in these different territories, and to let dealers have maximum impact on the brand’s direction, one or both of Rome’s founders, along with Sales Kingpin Dan Sullivan, are always at the Councils.

With a bunch of stops across North America in the books, the inaugural round of the Dealer Council Tour just wrapped up. For taking time out of their hectic schedules, and for sharing their ideas on snowboards and snowboarding, Rome would like to thank the following core shops:

Socal: Liberty Boardshop; Jack’s Garage; Utility Boardshop; Jer’s Boardshop

Norcal/Nevada:Out of Bounds; Mountain and Surf; Boardriders Brotherhood

Northwest:Snowboard Connection; Obsidian Snow and Skate; Redstar

Utah:The Click; Bottom Line; Urban Snow and Skate; Second City Skate Shop

Vermont: Darkside Killington; Darkside Okemo; Cherrybone; Misty Mountain; No School Snowboard Shop

New Hampshire: NOTB Snowboards; Burning Boards; 50-50 Snow and Skate

Massachusetts: Concepts; Underground Snowboards; Boardroom

Quebec: Performance Boardshop; Surf 66; DLX; Atlas Boardshop; Empire; Adrenaline; Universe; Infiny-T; Spin Limit; Orbite

Rome would also like to give thanks to Kirkwood Mountain Resort (Mike D and the crew rule), Transworld Snowboarding, Ragged Mountain/Blue Hills, Nation and The Happy Sumo/Eric for hosting six of the Councils. Kirkwood 01.07.02 will live in infamy forever.

Moving forward, if other shops want to get involved in the Dealer Council, there’s a good chance the company will be banging on your doors soon. After the post-Vegas hangover wears off, the Tour will pack the bags once again and head on the road for another round of meetings. Rome definitely has its opinions about where snowboarding should go, but it doesn’t for a moment think that it has all the answers. The answers lie in the Syndicate and the ideas of thousands of riders who understand and care about this life.