In the past three years, Elan switched the name of its snowboard company from Nale to Elan, and grew that line into 58,000-board-a-year business.

Now, Elan Snowboards has brought on a team of snowboard-specific salesmen to better address the needs of specialty shops and provide a heightened level of service to existing dealers, says Brian Brand, Elan's snowboard division manager.

“Elan Snowboards has been extremely successful in our first two years in the marketplace,” he says “Now that we've got our feet underneath us, it's time to charge forward and capitalize on our momentum.”

Brand says Elan's ability to penetrate the market through existing distribution channels has been phenomenal. “Our goal now is to branch out and develop a separate, snowboard-specific distribution network as well,” he says. “The guys we have in the field now are doing a great job, but they're just spread a little too thin. Investing in a team of snowboard-specific sales reps will only help us to better service our dealers and communicate more effectively with consumers–both on the ski and snowboard fronts.”

Rick Sceery, Elan's vice president of sales and marketing for North America agrees, adding, “Each person on our current sales force has been doing the work of two or three people. These guys have been doing an unbelievable job that's enabled us to build a strong foundation within the snowboard marketplace. Now it's time give the ball to snowboard-specific guys and let them run with it.”

Elan has designated four key territories to receive snowboard reps first: New England, Colorado, Northern California, and New York/New Jersey. “We've got a strong dealer base in these territories with both skis and snowboards,” says Sceery. “It makes sense to concentrate our efforts and tailor our service to the needs of each specific retailer.”

Elan's plans include bringing on more snowboard reps in 2000. “We'll look carefully at the big picture at the end of preseason and make some additional changes as we go forward,” says Brand. “Our five-year plan, developed two years ago when we launched the brand, is right on track.”

Elan also realizes that with the new sales force comes an increased need for in-house support. “Not only will we add salesmen out in the field, but also customer-service support in-house,” Sceery comments. “We believe our snowboard division will make up 50 percent of our business in the not-so-distant future. We realize that as we grow our snowboard business, so too must our ability to service the retailer and consumer on all levels.”