Let’s face it, there are a lot of people who aren’t represented in the snowboard market. They aren’t jib and bonkers, they don’t wear XXL baggy pants and their vocabularies may not contain long strings of three- and four-letter words, but they are out there, and they also buy products.
This year at the SIA show in Vegas there were companies attempting to address overlooked markets such as ski crossover and children. According to some retailers, the companies that acknowledged the need for variety in the market were far and few between, but others say they were there if you looked for them.
“The reception to our children’s line was really good, but I think it is going to take time to build,” says Monica Steward, owner of Bonfire. “Everyone was so caught up with women’s gear this year, kids’ lines probably took most retailers by surprise.”
Companies like Halfpipe and Bonfire’s Kindling offered a wide selection of clothing for kids that stressed function. Board companies definitely offered the most variety for kids though, with boards running as small as 105 cm.
Finding products for the crossover boarder may have required a little more hunting, with the current trend in boards being smaller and more park oriented.
“It used to be that the only people who rode boards under 159 were women,” says Rain Couture, a buyer for Boardsports. “Now nothing is over 158, and it’s hard to find a good all-around board for a beginner because everything is so specialized.”
However, not all buyers had to dig for crossover equipment because many don’t carry it at all. Others have been stocking companies that have a wide range of equipment for several years now.
“I found buying for both kids and crossover easy this year,” says Tara Krupka, owner of Beyond Waves. “There were boards offered for every type of rider. And the fact that there may not be that much out there for the older rider is okay because most ‘core shops don’t carry that much for the older market. But it was there if you looked.”
Perhaps this simply wasn’t the year of the crossover boarder. And maybe the youth market isn’t big enough yet, but the market is still new and as everyone is discovering, there is still room for growth in many aspects of it.