February 2, 2011
The SnowSports Industries America's SnowShow is the largest and "most concentrated" trade show in the snow sports industry. This year, The Ski Channel decided to hold their inagural film festival concurently with SIA at the Denver Convention Center, which is what got me to attend, as the festival included my short ski documentary, The Couloir to Nowhere.
So what was the SIA Snowshow like? Big. Very, very big. Wandering the exhibition floor of the Snowshow is a dizzying experience in which your fondest gear fantasies are dangled before your eyes. As you might imagine, I spent quite a bit of time trying to introduce myself to various manufacturers' marketing departments, explaining how sending their expensive equipment to the SierraDescents gear closet can improve their own bottom lines—or, at least, I tried to make that case. :)
The SnowShow is closed to the general public; industry professionals, only, please—sorry. From my own experience, it seemed as though the buyers had the most fun (and the most beer); the manufacturers and PR people worked continuously and very hard; and freelancers like myself enjoyed a wide variety of receptions, from welcoming (Black Diamond, Scarpa, G3, Lange/Dynastar, Marmot, Arcteryx, Scott USA) to skeptical (Garmont USA) to very, very frosty (you know who you are).
My advice for those of you who will attend in the future: it seems to go smoother if you initiate contact before the show, rather than walking up and trying to schedule a meeting through booth receptionists.
The slam-dunk success for me was just being at the On-Snow Demo Day Monday, during which I got to test seven or eight pairs of skis. That one day proved equivalent to months of work to accomplish the same here at home. Reviews forthcoming. As for the rest of the show, I guess how productive it ultimately will be remains to be seen. I did meet a lot of people, but whether they follow up with me, and those relationships persist, I can't yet say.
In any case, it was great to get out of town, put on my professional hat, and spend a solid five days talking shop and introducing myself as a California Ski Mountaineer. Of course, I'm back home, going from business cards and catalogs back to diapers and wipes. Still, it's good to be home. And, of course, there will be a bit of skiing to attend to here locally as well. More coverage to come...