Given the significant changes Rossignol made this season to its snowboard product line and marketing emphasis, it was hardly surprising its line launch at Snowbird Utah, January 27—29, made an impression with some of the 41 retailers invited to the event.
“From what I've seen and heard, I have no problem predicting that my Rossignol order will be up 30 percent next season,” says XXXXXX of the Board Room in New York.
The big news was improvement in Rossignol's boards graphics (See An Awakening Giant?, SNOWboarding Business, Volume 10, Issue 4), improvements in the functionality and cosmetics of the SIS binding, and the launch of a board segmentation program that tells customers at a glance whether the board is best suited to Air (freestyle), Groomed (carving), or Powder (freeriding). This was in addition to the new marketing emphasis that should benefit North American specialty retailers.
The event included a get-to-know-ya dinner the first night, followed the next morning by an extensive line presentation of boards, boots, and bindings during breakfast. Then it was up the tram to the 11,000-foot summit of Hidden peak for bluebird, semi-tracked powder at one of the best snowboarding mountains anywhere–no wonder the crowd was stoked.
The invited retailers seemed to gravitate into two camps: those who already carried Rossignol and said they'd be increasing their orders because of the improvements, and those retailers who didn't carry Rossignol and were taking a wait-and-see approach with their buying.
“The line looks good, but I'm not sure of how Rossignol is going to follow that up with marketing,” said Larry Kraus, owner of Emerald City in San Diego California at the event. However, at the SIA show, Kraus had made a decision: “XXXXXXXXX. XXXXXXX.”
The second day was much like the first, with softgoods and marketing presentation, followed by more riding beneath sunny skies.
Some of the invited shops included California shops Ranch Craft, Emerald City, Boards 'N Motion, Tri City Sports, and Lombardi's; Northwest shops Eagle Sports, Ride On, Hillcrest, and Studevants; Rocky Mountain shops like The Board Room, The Boarding House, Cliff Sports, and Arizona's Ski Pro; and shops from the East Coast including Pro Fit, Ski Barn, Ski Stop, Potter Bros, The Boardroom, Boarder's Edge, Snowboard Addic, B-Side, Syd & Dusty's, Eastern Pulse, Action Sports, Farmers Hardware–among others.
Many of Rossignol's pro snowboarders were also in attendance, tipping a few at night and giving tips to the crowd on the hill.
Will these shops make a huge impact on Rossignol's overall sales? Probably not.
However, showing retailers what Rossignol is all about–and by extension those stores' image-conscious customers–was top priority. And on that mark, the event seemed to go without a hitch.–Sean O'Brien