When Salomon Snowboards thanks its retailers, the shops know it—powder turn after powder turn. For the third year in a row, on March 11 to 13 Salomon Snowboards gathered together a select group of shops for a few days of snowboarding in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Thanks to a three-year agreement, Salomon has been monopolizing Steamboat Powdercats for a number of days in January each year. This year, however, Salomon’s National Sales Manager Greg Keeling moved the trip to March. “It just seems less hectic,” he says.

Keeling explains this year’s timing was more appealing when considering the heavy trade show, demo, and ordering season that starts in January and rolls until the beginning of March,. You could tell by the look in the eyes of many participants that much of the hard part of this season was over. Everyone looked happy that it was finally time to get out on the snow and ride.

Aside from Salomon’s rep force and a few key in-house employees, this year’s trip was stacked with 40 retailers. Over three days, the 40 retailers would spend two days on the cats and another day riding at the resort. Logistically, because Steamboat Powdercats can run a maximum of three, twelve-person snowcats a day, the entire group was not riding with each other. One group of twelve was on the mountain, while another 36 people hit the snowcats.

Each morning guests straggled into a ground floor conference room of the Sheraton Hotel where Salmon had set-up a makeshift showroom. There, retailers were encouraged to try new boards, boots, bindings, and even Bonfire outerwear before heading out to shred at their assigned place—Steamboat or the Powdercats.

It was apparent that someone had put some thought into the groups that were riding together each day. Typically, each group had a crew from a few different regions, their corresponding rep (and/or tech rep), and one or more people from Salomon’s in-house team. The pairing made for a lot of chatter on the rides up hill.

The informal and chill structure of the event helps promote camaraderie among shops in the same regions. Chilling in the cats on the way up, neighboring shops could share secrets about what works in their shops and get feedback from others nearby. And, as Keeling mentions, snowcats are also a great way for shops to see the people from Salomon in a non-Trade show environment.

Even though the so-called shred itinerary quickly changed after people went out on the snow there was plenty of smiling faces with huge goggle tans each night. With sunny blue skies and temperature’s hovering around 40 degrees it was totally beautiful no matter where you were riding—on the mountain or in the backcountry. And. for some retailers, one day on the snowcats was enough—a freshly groomed pipe and park, and huge mountain was too appealing to pass up. Either way, each afternoon around five o’clock the hot tubs were filled with smiling shop employees happy to be out riding new Salomon products.