SIA fashionThe largest snowsports-specific trade event in the U.S. is set for Denver, Colo.,Thursday-Sunday for a happy group of buyers and brands. The biggest pre-show buzz is they’re psyched because the Snowspnorts Industries America (SIA) Snow Show is moving. 

This time the four-day event that networks 18,000 snow sports retailers, reps, media, and manufacturers, 1,000 brands and 530 exhibitors isn’t relocating like it did in 2010 from Las Vegas to Denver, but simply repositioning. It appears the majority of the attendees look forward to a transition to early December beginning in 2017.

So, why is the SIA Snow Show important to you, skiers and snowboarders, even if it isn't open to the public? Because all these buyers and suppliers will jointly determine what will be available to you in your local ski and snowboard shop for next winter.

The date shift is the latest decision in a trend that sees buying for softgoods like outerwear, hats, gloves, etc. taking place around that time. The Outdoor Retailer Show (OR) in Salt Lake City, Utah — an even larger winter market convention that showcases more of the everyday and backcountry winter products — moved to early January this year for that same  reason. In addition, gear reps will now be able to kick off their season with the Snow Show first, then roam the country, taking next season's skis and snowboards to the regional trade shows.

Never Ending Shuffle

It’s all part of a never-ending shuffle to find the dream date for buyers and manufacturers to showcase and preview next season’s goods, and place orders at the same time. Over the years, retailers have adjusted their buying strategy, placing orders before this season’s goods are even unwrapped. 

Since a lot of the buying is done, the Snow Show in late January has become more of marketing event that leaves companies wondering whether it’s worth spending $50- $100K on a three-story booth just to share beer with friends.

Several key players like The North Face, Black Diamond, Dynafit bailed on the Show altogether and chose Outdoor Retailer as their sole event. Still other companies like snowboarding giant Burton and Arc’Teryx created off-site venues to meet with buyers, press and athletes. Burton broke away last year to host fashion shows, parties and meetings in the City Hall nightclub to present its products.

Organizers hope the date change will lure back these big brands, but in the meantime they welcome 110 debuting exhibitors to Denver this week. Bridgedale socks, a regular at OR, said they wanted to be at SIA to show their products in a place that brings together the ski and snowboard community. They understand that it’s a way for retailers to see all the lines of gear and they don’t want to be left out. 

A Feel For Trends

It’s also an opportunity to get a feel for trends and what’s selling. “The Show is so much more than just a product presentation, it’s a true breeding ground for ideas and inspiration. The forums, marketing information, and the opportunities for retailers like me to network with each other has become a major feature for me," said Teddy Schiavoni, owner of Summit Ski Shop, Framingham, Mass. European brands like 4F use the Show to gauge U.S. interest in their gear.

At any date, the halls filled with brightly colored booths and lively representatives have been a boon for Denver and they couldn’t be more excited to welcome all winter sports lovers to walk, talk and party in the Mile-High city once again.

The 62nd annual Snow Show Opening Ceremony begins at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 28. The event continues at the Colorado Convention Center through Jan. 31, 2016. It is NOT open to the public. Click here for show details.

Follow Jill’s blog from the Ski Show all weekend right her at as she explores trends in fashion and hardwoods hitting the stores for 2017.

SIA Show Denver