Story and Photos by Ryanne Gerry
Now in its twenty something’s, the Seattle area’s annual Labor Day weekend ski and snowboard sale SkiBonkers was recently held underneath a big top tent in North Seattle.
“It was exactly and everything we expected it to be,” says ringleader, Olympic Sports’ Gorio Bustamante. “The sale went perfect. All the reps helped enormously and brought a huge support crew to making a huge impact on our inventory.”
SkiBonkers is a sale that allows the general public to get a sneak peak at the current season’s gear, enabling the consumer to purchase it at around fifteen percent off current retail price. Everything left over from last year is pulled out as well, and it was all flying off the shelves.
“Sales were on projection, but down a little bit more in snowboards than we were expecting,” Bustamante states. “I think it has a lot to do with the recent record-breaking warm weather we’ve been having here in the Northwest. This is the first time in four years that it hasn’t rained on Labor Day weekend.”
He also noticed that the consumers weren’t so much looking for brand new gear this season, but in search of good deals: “You can really tell that even the big companies budgets are down a lot this season. The reps didn’t have nearly as many T-shirts to give out, which is just one sign that money is tight all over.”
But, by and large he said sensed a lot of consumer excitement in the air: “The buyers guides were all gone very early, and we placed quite a few special orders for customers. We pretty much just sold a lot of stuff! Ride bindings were definitely the dominant sellers, as well as Northwave boots. Salomon also did well in part because of the volume of product they had.”
Salomon/Bonfire Co-rep, Mike Tade, attributes the success to his new slogan: “Step out of step-ins and step forward with Fast-Fit.”
“The trademark Fast-Fit toe strap is one of the main features of our bindings,” he continues, “when people were made aware of it—they were stoked!”
If SkiBonkers is any implication of how this season is going to go, there should be no worries in the minds of retailers other than snow. “It’s all going to be contingent on the weather,” says Bustamante. “And all we can really hope for is a good winter.”