We just got back from the sick, weird and twisted SIA show...always an interesting experience to be in La La Vegas. Once you get in tune with the late dinners, much drinking and lack of sleep, it all goes down pretty smooth. Home for a rest though at the end of it all.
As always the show was pretty busy with lots of pushing and shoving by the various brands to make their mark to the thousands of shops and buyers trolling for new gear. Nothing too dramatic on any front but as always a big difference in how some brands want to be perceived by the market, given their differing presentations and styles.
The "trying to hard to be cool" award goes to Moment skis and Line, both with their plywood booths sprayed with paint and pictures. It is a cost savings measure for sure but the creativity is pretty low. High marks for no effort. Hope they make their skis better than their booths!
The "times have changed" award goes to the major brands like Atomic, Volkl, Dynastar and Rossignol...oh yeah..Salomon too! I mean they have been displaying their skis and products with the same lame corporate look for over 10 years. If you close your eyes from one to the other, you cannot tell any difference...or barely any. All quiet and BORING! At least the booths were clean and they served some food and excellent coffee! Maybe the booths are all made in the same factories just like their skis (oops...that was supposed to be my inside voice.)
Best booth award goes to Armada - simple, good vibe, well organized...it works.
Other notables in new gear, not much....except lots of copy cat reverse or no camber water skis for your purchasing pleasure. Lots of guys telling me how fun they are on a powder day and how with the new innovations they actually work on packed snow too. Funny thing is, not one of these guys has to pay full retail for a pair of skis they might use 4-5 days a year that cost well over $1000. Now if you have a private heli or a sled you can use with terrain you can use it on...well then maybe. Still, not sure I get it yet. Guess I will have to try a pair sometime.
lots of wood cores...everyone is trying to sing the "we have wood cores too" -seems even the brands that were pretty much ALL about foam and synthetic are now singing the values of wood. Problem is they are all using pretty cheesy woods based more on the cost than performance. If you ask the ski reps at most of the companies, they don't even know what kind of wood they use nor is it listed in their spec sheets. It is like asking a Sled salesman what size the motor is and he doesn't know the size or whether it is a 2 stroke or 4 stroke. LAME.
Still not one manufacturer that we saw that has the same wood quality in their skis as Movement! None!!
Great Enviro theme this year too for the first time. you could recycle your bottles and cans finally. A small thing but big in principle. Lots of greenwashing too....Marker K2 said in their enviro initiative statement that they "encourage recycling in the office!". That was pretty much it!!! SOOOO TOTALLY LAME - especially given the fact that they are making 100,000's of skis in China, etc. surely they can do better than that.
Lastly SIA is trying to start up a ski recycling program - hell of an idea and long overdue.