SnowSports Industries America invited media representatives to the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on November 13 to introduce changes to both the Snow Sports show in Las Vegas as well as the buy/sell cycle.

Back in May 1998, SIA announced the elimination of The Snow Show previously held at the Salt Lake City Convention Center and on-snow at Solitude mountain in Utah. “We surveyed industry representatives, studied other industries–including golf, in-line skating, and outdoor–and then created a calendar of existing ski-industry events,” says Carl Helmetag, president of Head USA’s snow division and chairman of SIA’s board of directors. What they found was retailers had the opportunity to see product up to four times before placing orders. After holding three focus groups of retailers, manufacturers, and reps, the decision was made to modify the system.

The result is a 60-day trade-show season starting with the Stratton on-snow demo February 1, 1999 and ending with orders placed by March 31. This schedule includes regional preview shows and on-snow demos and a few regional follow-up shows–with Las Vegas as the main event. “Vegas used to always be the buying show,” he adds. “We want to reinforce that and get retailers ordering in March.”

By eliminating the Snow Show as well as a few other regional shows, the industry will be saving 500,000 dollars, estimates the SIA.

SIA will be introducing a new logo this March that touts the Vegas show as the “one-stop show for snowsports retailers.”

But by incorporating a new focus into the show, SIA President David Ingemie says there’s no plan to modify the exhibitor floor layout. Booth size will not be expanding, in fact, what might happen is exhibitors will pull back from multiple booths and consolidating, he adds.

“There are some entities that are interested in showing this year,” he says, “non-participant interest is high.” A few of those names include Ralph Lauren/Polo, Nike, and Versace.

Other changes announced include reduced fees for exhibitors through the contracting of GES Exposition Services and a shorter move-in move out schedule (March 7—8, 1999). Security, which was a major concern among exhibitors after last year’s show, will be heightened.

Retailers who preregister by February 5 will save fifteen dollars per person. And this year, SIA will be handling all registration processing in-house so confusion and mix-up will be reduced.

SIA also emphasized that proceeds from the Vegas Show will be invested in several key market-development programs. SIA Marketing Director Mary Jo Tarallo explained that nearly one-million dollars will be invested in these programs. “That’s approximately two dollars for every square foot of the convention,” she says.

The programs include, Cool School, a children’s program in six regions where students receive a book filled with coupons; Deduct a Ski/Board allowing consumers to drop off old equipment to be donated to charity for a tax benefit; Take-a-Friend, Recruit-a-Rookie, and Take Your Daughter to the Slopes Day all encouraging newcomers to get on the slopes; and the Operation Snowblast awareness program that will be attached to the SnowCore Tour’s 24 stops and through its Web site.

SIA also announced it will be launching an industry journal. The Skiing Company Properties of Boulder, Colorado will produce editorial content on a contractual basis. The editorial board will consist of retailers, suppliers, and reps with Bill Grout, editor-in-chief of The Skiing Company Properties leading the creative teaam.

–Robyn Hakes