It’s official now, snowboarding is finally a permanent part of the European outdoor market. This year at the 42nd annual International Trade Fair for Sports Equipment and Fashion (ISPO) in Munich, most snowboard manufacturers found themselves together in one building instead of being spread throughout the show or, as with previous years, in tents and other temporary structures.
“The snowboard hall is just starting to jell together,” says Trey Cook, president of Wave Rave. “It’s going to be like Vegas in a couple of years.”
In some ways it already is¿especially with the strong influence the U.S. companies are having on the direction of the sport. “The Europeans are definitely looking at the marketing coming from the U.S. companies,” says Denise Ransome, Morrow’s international manager.
But while all eyes are on the U.S. segment of the market, manufacturers who attended ISPO said the retailers don’t do a lot of buying at the show, just a lot of looking and planning.
“The Europeans have a very different system,” explains Cook. “The shows are more of a show than an order writing business.” But it’s still critical to be there.
“If you want to be anybody in Europe, you have to go to ISPO,” says Ransome. “There’s a ton of potential in the European snowboard market¿and the sport is growing so fast. The show generated a lot of perspective distributors, who will then carry our line and sell it at their own country’s writing show.”
One other factor that is helping many U.S. snowboard companies this year is the devalued dollar. “With the dollar down, it’s really helping us service our accounts,” says Ransome. “They’re getting much better margins from our products.”