Another SIA (Snow sports industry of America) has come and gone. With all it’s glory and chaos we’re left to ride out the wave of this seasons products and trends while we wait to be inundated with next years. After three days at the trade show it seems that there’s a lot more going on than was previously mentioned in the 2012 Trend Predictions report. Here’s what was going on with companies for next season.
With companies finally starting to rebound from all the excess inventory one of the biggest thing talked about was a more stream lined distribution network and better control over how much inventory is being produced. Everyone was talking about how they planned to only build enough units to cover their orders, warranty, and pro forms after that when it’s gone it’s gone. Now if companies aren’t giving lip service on this it could help close that gap of older product that is still floating around in bargain basement internet sites and ODATS. The better distribution channel should help companies with monitoring where their product is and their levels.
The next biggest trend was price-points. Talking with Trent Bush from The Brand Base (Technine, Nomis, Siege Audio) he mentioned that anyone can make a great board in that five hundred dollar range but the real challenge is making a great riding board in that sub three hundred and fifty price point. So the biggest challenge from most companies was making an affordable stick for riders on a budget that rides well and has great tech. This thought process was echoed by numerous other companies that are trying not to price snowboarding out of existence.
Camber stories remain hot for this up coming season with more companies offering variations of camber/reverse camber as well as rocker. While many companies are settling in on designs experimentation with the limits of camber theory progression are still being pushed. One thing to note was that not too many people were worried about the feud between Mervin Manufacturing and Never Summer with their patent on reverse camber. Although Mervin was making shirts at their booth that said, “Never Dumber”.
The area of the most innovation was the actual shapes of boards. Blunted shapes are back in full force for 2012 with brands like Never Summer, Bataleon, Smokin, Salomon, and others really pushing the different geometries in the tips. Another thing to note is that powder boards are gaining more momentum so brands like Unity, Nativ, Burton, and others have pow specific shapes that borrow from the forefathers of snowboarding.
Slight blunt on Tadashi’s promodel from Yes.
Jeremy Jones (Big Mountain) really pushed the boundaries of where snowboarders can go on a splitboard with his movie Deeper this past year. The answer to that right now is brands like Rome, Burton, and K2 offering a splitboard model. With more companies on the bandwagon it truly is the hot ticket item.
In the way of outerwear textile fabrics are still hot. More companies are going to that from-the-slopes-to-the-bar style of outerwear. Being stylish and functional really was stressed for 2012. Neon is still hot with companies as well and retro color blocking is back in full force. One of the bigger trends is letterman style jackets with companies. Nike, Holden, and Burton all had styles likes this.
Holdens take on a trendy style.
Bindings are still bindings and companies are experimenting with new materials in different locations. K2 introduced a new all mountain binding made of urethane, Ride has gone back to more bindings with traditional toe straps, Union has created a stiffer highback and whole new toe strap as well. Alternate entry is still a focus from companies and Flow, Gnu, as well as K2 offer something for everyone.
On the boot front Boa, Speed Zone, and quick lacing systems are still big. More companies have partnered with Boa Technologies to meld traditional lacing with the speed and ease of Boa. Low profile soles allowing more boot to board feel were real big. Pricepoints in this category have also been toyed with many companies are trying to make that perfect mid flexing boot for two hundred or less dollars.
DC’s new Boa ankle harness
All in all 2012 won’t be a huge revolutionary tech year for us but progression is happening. What we’ll continue to see is companies eyeing their distribution and manufacturing levels trying to bring this industry back to where demand exceeds supply and not supply exceeding demand. In all honesty 2012 looks brighter than the last few years.