Forgive me snow sports industry for I have sinned. It’s been twelve years since my last trade show. I accuse myself of the following sins:
– I have not been to a ski resort in four years.
– I have not purchased any new equipment since 2000.
– My boots, bindings and outerwear is all swag I received from friends in the business.
– I pleasure myself surfing at least twice a week.
All through the nineties I attended the Snowsports Industries America (SIA) annual Trade Show. Held in Las Vegas, the ‘Snowshow’ brought together thousands of manufacturers, distributors, retailers, reps, buyers, riders and hanger’s on from all over the world. It was ‘the’ place to be and it was fun to boot. The parties were legendary. Sponsors competed with each other to make the biggest impression while the rest of us partied like first year college students. One year K2 and Red Bull teamed up to bring Run DMC out for a private show. Life was good. Snowboarding was taking off and my company, Limited Snowboards and others like it got the ride of a lifetime.
SIA was, and is however, more than just a show. It’s a non-profit trade association that works collectively with all components of the industry to promote the growth and development of snow sports. Anxious to be more involved and encouraged by SIA president David Ingemie, I joined committees and soon chaired one of my own. Shortly after that I became a director of SIA and NSIA (SIA’s Canadian equivalent) and had the amazing opportunity to both learn from and advise a select group of industry leaders.
The board room was my classroom and the Directors were my mentors. I learned about business, politics and how to play golf. I listened carefully to those who had gone before me and made friends in high places. SIA was my university.
I was lucky to have that opportunity. The experience I gained during those years helped me immensely and the lessons remain with me today. Twelve years later I feel lucky all over again.
As a guest of SIA, today I presented my FAST & HOT process to group of young and old members of the industry. Almost all stayed to talk afterwards and almost everyone is optimistic in spite of a dry season. The Snowshow has moved to Denver and is a bit smaller than I remember but the energy is still here. There are a lot of new brands and faces and of course, the requisite crazy hat companies.
Coming back means I have the opportunity to give something back to the industry that gave me so much. So thank you David Ingemie and thanks SIA. It’s good to be back.