They allowed six of us Bears into this year's Ski Industries of America trade show at the Denver Convention Center, January 27-30, where we gorged on the sights and specs of next year's gear for several days. The SIA Show is where manufacturers hawk their wares to retail buyers for the next season. Unlike other kinds of trade shows that cater to the consumer, like the CES (Consumer Electronic Show), car shows, boat shows, home shows, bridal shows, etc., SIA is closed to the public, reserved for members only.
After the show many of the buyers and media continue on to Winter Park to test skis for two days. Of our group, Trekchick, Philpug, and Jean-Marc Blais (who sells ads for us) logged all six days. The rest of us lightweights -- Adam Farren (marketing), my husband and driver Phil (aka Ridge Hippie), and I (aka Miss Lazy) -- only managed three long days at the convention center. We all stayed focused (mostly) on skis and boots, though there was a galaxy of soft goods and an entire separate universe of snowboard gear and accessories populated with girls in hot pants and dudes in dreds quaffing cans of PBR while taking in the mountainboard demos on ramps that occupied the nether lands between the Dark Side and the lavatories.
Like every emporium of sales, the SIA Show had its official greeters. At the entrance was this fellow:
Of course, that's Klaus Obermeyer! This other famous ski icon with the Mohawk was spotted near a luggage display -- not many at the show had the swagger to pull off his outfit either.
A true find was the Media Room on the top floor, where free soft drinks, coffee, and snacks were available for us Reporters, and afforded these panoramic views to give an idea of how vast this room really is. It took us three days to navigate on our own without the essential SIA Show app.
The aisle numbers were very helpful when you could see them amidst all the ground cover.
Close-up, the view is just as mind-boggling.
But we digress! Didn't we say we were there for the SKIS?
And the BOOTS?
At SIA, it's so easy to get distracted. Skiing is a sport for engineers--and inventors. Witness the Quick Pole, which latches to just about any binding to make your ski a carrying case. To test my hypothesis, I asked the inventor if he was an engineer. "No," he said, "I'm a product liability lawyer."
You've seen the goggles with an instrument panel display built into the lens--but have you seen Seirus's smart gloves?
We didn't see the use of the Gheek goggle covers until we mentioned them to a friend as an example of the odd little do-dads people bring to market. He said, "I need to get that! It's such a hassle to have to take your goggles off your helmet to protect them in a little bag. I've always wished for a product like that!" We didn't have our own photo so I grabbed this one from the SIA site. The covers come in a number of cool designs or you can customize your own look.
Helmets were another big story at this year's show. K2 says it's become a helmet company, making their own complete line of super lightweight, stylish models. Here Wayne Eggum (K2) and Darryl Bagget (The Skier's Edge, Great Falls, MT) discuss their features.
A Salomon rep shows off their full-featured Alium model that features a double shell construction so air pushes through the front of the helmet and exits at the back with three different levels of venting to regulate body temperature.
Salomon's new BBR ski is its most radical design this year, the brainchild of Bertrand Kraft, aka "Beber," for whom the ski is named. You won't find it in any ski test, but everyone who tries it seems to like it. Bud Heishman said, "It doesn't ski anything like it looks."
Edited by nolo - 2/9/11 at 4:00pm