After a long day of riding powder at Whistler and Blackcomb, attendees of Snowtopia, the 10th Annual TransWorld Industry Conference were treated to an captivating panel discussion on key issues facing the specialty snowboard retailer. Panelists included The Alt’s Jay Erikson, Snowboard Connection’s John Logic, ZJ Boarding House’s Todd Roberts, and World Board’s Jay Moore. The seminar, which ran past its allotted one hour time slot, covered issues such as POP, reps, which manufacturers marketing strategies help sales, and the importance of terms when choosing brands.However, the topic that illicited the most discussion was how manufacturer-direct sales on the Internet could affect the retailer/manufacturer relationship. “If you take the specialty store out of the loop, you’re going to kill yourself,” said Moore to the audience of mostly snowboard industry executives.Roberts commented that although significant technical challenges have to be overcome to make selling products like boots and outerwear on-line fool-proof, it’s just a question of when, not if. “I really hope the leaders of the snowboard world don’t sit on the sidelines while the little guys jump into web selling,” said Moore. “Now is the time for someone to step up and show some leadership.”Look for a more indepth report on this seminar and the entire TransWorld Media Snowboard Industry Conference in the upcoming issue of SNOWboarding Business magazine. Also look for more coverage of the conference online in the next couple of days.