Sims Snowboards Goes Camping

Sims Snowboards decided to take its products to the mountains this summer, both at Blackcomb and Mt. Hood. And the results were good for the company.

As one of the sponsors for the Camp of Champions, Sims had the opportunity to offer demo equipment to riders. But the company wasn’t satisfied with merely setting up a tent at the bottom of the hill. “The camp is conducted on the glacier at Blackcomb British Columbia,” says Dave Wray, marketing director for Sims. “It takes 45 minutes to get up there. If someone gets to the top of the glacier and they aren’t happy with their equipment, they’re stuck.

“We wanted to be right on the snow.” With this in mind, Sims hauled its demo equipment up the glacier both on a snow cat and on the chairlift. They built a storage box in the snow to secure the equipment at night, and during the day, the Sims tent could be seen just 30 feet from the end of the halfpipe.

This type of strategic maneuver has more than just marketing implications. “We use some of the kid’s input with research and development,” Wray says. “They have a form that asks them to rate the boots, bindings, and board they rode. We’ll take all that back with us and possibly use it to make adjustments for our ’99/00 line.

“We want to be as close to the kids as possible to make them feel like they’re a part of what we do. These are the most influential snowboarders out there.”

Sims also offered free tech clinics for campers at Widell’s summer camp at Mt. Hood. “For us, it’s a chance to get familiar with the campers. We can better educate them about snowboarding and about Sims, which we hope will relate back to sales.” There was an overwhelming interest from these kids to learn better techniques to tuning a board. “A few kids stayed after and asked us to help them tune their board before they left for home,” Wray adds.

Tuning topics included: base-preparation tips such as waxing, scraping, principles of wax use, and edge-preparation techniques such as detuning, filing, and beveling. Stance location, binding setup, and routine maintenance were also covered. And each clinic had a drawing for a new pair of Link bindings.

These tech clinics are not a formal part of Sims’ on-snow demo tours, but Wray says the tech reps try to take the time to show riders how to detune a board before they go out. “We want to help them understand the importance of tuning and detuning their own board,” he adds.