Vail’s Arn Menconi: Denver snow show has upbeat mood |

Vail’s Arn Menconi: Denver snow show has upbeat mood

Arn Menconi
Special to the Daily
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

Editor’s note: Arn Menconi, executive director of Avon-based youth nonprofit SOS Outreach, is on the road attending various ski and snowboard industry trade shows and conferences. He’ll be sending periodic dispatches from the events, telling readers what’s new and interesting in the world of snow sports. This dispatch comes from the Snowsports Industries America Snow Show in Denver.

DENVER – The Snowsports Industries America Snow Show kicked off Thursday morning at the Denver Convention Center, marking the third year the Mile High City has played host to the skiing and snowboarding industry’s biggest event.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock opened the show, welcoming an expected throng of nearly 20,000 snowsports enthusiasts.

Recent snowfalls across the country and industry sales that are narrowly behind last season’s record pace have helped create an upbeat mood at the show.

Once again this season, technology is at the forefront, and it’s all about rocker technology.

While rocker snowboards accounted for roughly 50 percent of snowboard sales last year, that number is expected to rise to 70 percent this year. On the ski side, reverse and mixed-camber ski sales have doubled from last year.

Rocker pioneer K2, celebrating its 50th year, continues to be at the forefront, introducing rocker skis designed more for packed snow conditions. K2 also has introduced a line of goggles and next season is planning to roll out both ski boots and outerwear.

“There are opportunities for innovation in ski boots, including shape, materials, liners and closure mechanisms,” K2 CEO Anthony De Rocco said. “We’re actively looking at every area of the ski boot in this regard.”

Rimless goggles with lenses that are easily interchangeable are attracting attention this year. Colorado-based Optic Nerve is featuring its Boreas goggle at the show, and today at 5 p.m., Optic Nerve is hosting an SOS fundraiser by offering brand new 2012 goggles for just $20, with all proceeds benefitting SOS Outreach.

“Growing the sport” is another important theme at SIA this season. New research demonstrates the economic importance of attracting new skiers and snowboarders at a young age. And, in keeping with overall demographic trends, the percentage of non-Caucasian snowboarders continues to rise.

In 2010, 77 percent of snowboarders were Caucasian/white, non-Hispanic. That number dropped significantly, to 64 percent, in 2011.

In an industry that at times seems dominated by men, the SIA’s Snow Fashion and Trends Show will include a benefit for the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition, daring men to don lipstick and high heels and work the ramp to raise funds for OIWC’s educational programs.

Building on this theme, SIA Director of Research Kelly Davis will moderate an all-star panel of snowsports professionals this morning, focusing on women in the marketplace and their influence on friends, colleagues and family members.

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