Tuesday, February 8, 2011

SIA Tradeshow

The always popular "Dead Bird"
I do love working in the outdoor industry.  The  companies, culture and people make it all worth while.  Just a couple of weeks ago I attended the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) tradeshow in Denver, CO.  The tradeshow took place at the Denver Convention Center and there were more than 500 vendors in attendance, ranging from Burton and DC to 4FRNT and Nordica.  All the major players were there and the small guys like Liberty Skis and Icelantic were there as well.  On the softgoods side Marmot and Mountain Hardwear were there as well as Arc'teryx.  Since I am the ski/snowboard hardgoods buyer for Sierra Trading Post, it was my job to go to the show, meet with vendors and negotiate deals to procure product for STP to sell to our customers.

Overall these tradeshows are a ridiculous amount of work.  We walk around the convention center all day from 9:00am to 5:30pm or so in the evening.  We have appointments every second of the day and talk shop at each one.  Most of the time we are just stopping by to see a vendor that we already have orders going with, but a lot of my meetings were with new vendors that I needed to pitch STP to and land in order to start a relationship with them.  I am in charge of growing our ski and snowboard category and as such I have
Oakley booth.  The back half had offices and
meeting rooms...these things are the real deal
focused on some of the premiere niche brands like Armada, 4FRNT, Icelantic, Forum, Rome, etc.  Going forward I will be able to get product from companies like these in order to grow the category and have a larger and more diverse offering for my customer base.  The shows we go to are always a lot of fun because we get to see all the new and fresh product, which means there are ample opportunities for STP to get excess closeout product, and we get to rub shoulders with the brands we respect and use ourselves.  I have had an amazing time getting to know sales managers at ski and snowboard companies we work with and touch base with some great sales reps we work with.  We have such great relationships with our vendors that sometimes our contacts at those companies really care whether or not we have their gear and if we like it and enjoy it.  It really means a lot to a gear junkie like me to stop by the Smith Optics booth and talk to our rep about the gear we both really appreciate.

Plenty more after the break!

While this is fun and all, it also doesn't stop the fact that while we are there 3 days straight we pack in 20+ meetings a day and prospect for new vendors on top of that.  A typical day looks like this...

8:00am - Atomic Ski/Snowboard
9:00am - Capita and Union Snowboard
9:30am - DC Snowboard
10:00am - Marker/Volkl
10:30am - 4FRNT Skis
11:00am - Fischer Skis
11:30am - Movement Skis
12:00pm - Faction Skis
12:00pm - Go Pro
12:30pm - Surface Skis
1:00pm - BCA
1:30pm - Moment Skis
2:00pm - Ortovox
2:30pm - Bataleon Snowboards
3:00pm - Liberty Skis
3:30pm - DPS Skis
4:00pm - Burton
4:30pm - K2 Snowboards
5:00pm - ThirtyTwo Boots/Volcom/Electric

Yep, that's a full day indeed!  Dinner that night was Sushi with a couple coworkers and the next night we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant, LOLA, in the Highlands with the sales manager at Buff.  Work and play don't always mix together though and that is why the SIA show has an On Snow Demo at Winter Park Ski Resort every year, right after the tradeshow.  I went to that as well with Jeremiah and David (two of my supervisors) for Monday and Tuesday after the show.  The snow demo is another opportunity to meet with vendors and sample the product that they offer and get first hand knowledge of the quality of the gear.  I snowboarded both days since both Jeremiah and David ski, so I got to ride about 12 different setups for the two days.  The Burton Joystick with Cartel bindings was definitely my favorite setup and the Never Summer Proto X was pretty impressive.  The Joystick was playful, but could still rail an edge to the bottom of the slopes.  I rode everything I could from K2 to Burton to Never Summer and Forum!!!

Check out the pictures below...

New Arc'teryx
Black Diamond Gigawatt and others
DC Snowboard booth
Liberty Skis...homegrown in Avon, CO
Skate ramp next to DC booth
My new setup from Smith with Jeremiah and David too
The vendor village at the base of Winter Park
Never Summer Proto X
The vendor village with WP behind


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