words and photos by Daniel Baur
Every year, the winter sport companies gather in Munich to present their newest collections, ideas and marketing strategies. The world’s biggest tradeshow for winter sports is a must see for every fan of skiing. People from all over the globe jumped on a plane and flew out to “Oktoberfest”-City. Especially the hordes of Chinese people and their little roller bags that were seen everywhere, chatting and taking pictures. Business cards got thrown around and you could see trainees swirl around the corridors with heaps of brochures and catalogues handing them out to whoever still had a free hand. And if you were lucky, one of the promotion models would stick a brochure down your pocket if you already had your hands loaded with promo-gifts.
To capture the whole thing would be simply impossible. Every company you’ve ever heard of was there along with every company you haven’t. It would have taken at least a day just to run through the whole area without even looking at any of the products. So, we will present the most interesting things we could get to look at in this short amount of time.
Let’s start with K2. Last year they put a whole pirate ship in the building. The year before some crazy cowboys were scaring women at the fair. This year the K2 marketers came up with a theme, which kicked ass once more. Theme is “The Garage.” With a couple of old “easy riders” bikes and greased up employees, K2 is really stepping on the gas paddle. I’m really looking forward to seeing Michelle Parker as a badass biker-girl.
The next eyeatcher was Scott Goggles. Every goggle (or at least the more expensive ones) comes with its own theme. For example the “white noise,” a goggle where you can see a guy sitting in front of his television looking at the white noise or how we here in Europe would call it “ant-race.” Another special feature of the goggle is that it glows in the dark.
While walking around you would stumble over other curiosities. Do you remember the Fischer freestyle team, which suddenly disappeared? Well as you might know Fischer is still producing freestyle skis, and as you might know they produce cross-country skis as well. So they had a great idea and said, “let’s combine these two things.” And what do you get? A freestyle twin-tip cross-country ski. They even had their own freestyle-team as we later found out but it was cancelled when the whole freestyle team got dropped. The ski even existed two seasons ago. Anyway, if you want to hit kickers, rails, pipe or just cross-country backwards, Fischer now provides you with the equipment you need.
Another odd thing we walked by was a brand of zip-hoodies who’s name we cant remember. You might ask what in the world could you do with a zip-hoody to make it odd? Well, if you zip up that hoody completely so you cant see a thing. Works good though for flights you want to sleep, but not so much for pretty people and people who like to make their own episodes of Jackass.
Back to something a bit more serious. Rossignol has developed a new powder ski. The special thing about the ski is that it has a system where you can change the angle of the ski. If you prefer the reverse-camber version you tighten a steel string, which pulls the nose of the ski upwards. If you are back on the slopes and you want to get rid of the reverse-camber you can push a switch, the steel string loosens and the ski jumps back to its original form.
After having spent a day at the ISPO and seen only a small part of the new collections and innovations it was time to party. Every night there were parties at different places. Some had simple bars, some had great big invitation-only parties with typical European rave music and some places were just fun to hang out at. For example Oakley’s wrestling show, which took place two or three times a day and had hot girls handing out free beer. What more would you want? Pretty girls, beer and wrestling while getting to know new people, making the best business connections ever and checking out all the fresh new gear.