By Leah Stassen

TransWorld SNOWboarding Business hit the road this winter to visit shops and get a real sense of what’s going on in the marketplace. Utah was the first stop in mid March.

Salt Lake City has been a snowboarding hub for years, and there are many shops addressing the market. Some have been in business for years, others are relative newcomers.

Most this year cited the lack of early snow, the opening of new shops, and the Olympics as hurdles to their business. Despite these downfalls, there are also some bright spots.

Here’s what one had to say:

Jer’s Board Shop, West Jordan

Even though the California-based store has only had its Utah location open for the past fourteen months, business has been up 33 percent since last February, according to Shop Manager Matt Wakefield. Growth doesn’t seem to be a problem for the snow and skate store and Wakefield stresses that business is expanding.

For next year Wakefield is doing what he terms, “a more-focused buy.” This means Jer’s will not really cut back its total snow order but instead change things to focus on and fit its new market. The store noticed a slight decrease in sales after September 11, but because it gears its business to the local population Jer’s was less affected by the economic downturn than some its resort-catering competitors.

What products and companies will you be adding for next year?

“Jeenyus, Galleon Manufacturing, and Northwave’s APEX Project will all be new to the store next season,” says Wakefield. “Otherwise the store will keep focus on our current brands like M3, Chorus, Burton, Forum, Capita, Vans, and Ride.”

What are the major issues you see happening this year in the industry?

“Popularity of the sport┬┐everything in snowboarding is getting so popular that distribution is starting to become a huge problem in Salt Lake City,” says Wakefield. “Overall we’re seeing a huge jump in the whole supply and demand cycle, distribution is growing, so in turn prices are dropping earlier each year.”