The snowboarding involvement at the 1995 San Diego Action Sports Retailer Trade Expo, held February 12¿14, seemed to take a diminished role within the halls of San Diego Convention Center, overshadowed by renewed enthusiasm for the skate and surf markets. Although the mix of snowboard hardgoods, softgoods, seminars, and snowboard education center covering the sport was emphasized by show management, the air from many exhibitors was that the show had taken on a more regional feeling, especially with such a late start in the already frantic snowboarding selling season.

Yet for retailers who went shopping for snowboards and more (like skate and surf products), or just wanted early season previews of 1995¿96 snowboarding equipment, they got a good look at over 70 companies’ offerings without the sensory overload that took place in Costa Mesa the next week and Vegas three weeks later. Not to say that the ASR show wasn’t crowded. It attracted a total of 7,794 U.S. and international buyers who previewed 560 exhibitors in 1,065 booths, an all-around increase from the previous year.

In the snowboarding end of the hall, Burton, Hot, Santa Cruz, and Sims took the lead with fully stocked hardgood and softgood lines covering the full spectrum of retailer needs.

Hardgood-specific companies like Lamar, Palmer, Purged, Rossignol, and A Snowboards rounded out the field. Moving into the niche markets, women’s-specific products began with boards from Sims, Burton, and others, and moved into the boot arena. American Boot Company, Airwalk, Burton, Sims, and Kurvz all introduced women’s lines.

The most significant hardgood development was the soft-boot, step-in binding systems that debuted at the show. T-Bone and Switch were ready to offer retailers a peek into the future of the mountain sport, while many hinted at step-in possibilities for the future.

Regarding softgoods, colors have brightened cuts have slimmed down. While more price points were offered, technical aspects became an important issue as well. And the big news again was the amount of women’s lines offered.

To help retailers out with softgoods, ASR presented a retail seminar, entitled “Snowboardwear: Dissecting the Price Tag” by contributing writer Lisa Feinberg Densmore, that focused on the expense of snowboard clothes. Densmore explained the differences of four jackets at different price points. Retailers were glad to get the extra educational value from the show.

Going a step further to educate retailers, ASR and the United States Amateur Snowboarding Association presented a snowboard educational center called the Toolshed, which featured information on the sport’s history, sales trends and future growth forecasts. Utilizing the same look as “The Lodge,” a retail display element at Val Surf, in Southern California, the Toolshed was created by Face Value Productions and drew many retailers to its homey log-cabin interior.

Other ASR News

The Action Sports Retailer Trade Show and Outdoor Retailer Shows provide verified trade-show attendance through the Audit Bureau of Circulations. ABC’s Audit Report will provide accurate audited attendance numbers and identify specific industries, occupations, and geographic makeup of a show.

The next ASR show will be September 8¿10, 1995 in San Diego. ASR will hold an East Coast show at the Atlantic City Convention Center September 20¿22, 1995, and the first show in 1996 will be held in Long Beach, CA, February 8¿10.