Ski and be seen: Regional gear at the SIA Snow Show
January 31, 2010
DENVER – With the winter-sports industry’s Snow Show being held for the first time in Denver, local companies have turned out in force to display their wares.
A record number of Colorado-based firms – 78 – have set up exhibits at this year’s show at the Colorado Convention Center.
Here’s a sampling of the companies, their products and the business strategies that bring them to the Snow Show.
Crescent Moon Snowshoes
The snowshoe manufacturer has recorded a revenue increase of 25 percent this year, in part, ironically, from the weak economy.
“Snowshoeing is certainly less expensive than a weekend of skiing,” said president Jake Thamm. “You buy a pair of snowshoes and you’re basically set for life.”
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Boulder-based Crescent Moon deals in the higher end of the snowshoe spectrum with prices of $160 to $270.
The 13-year-old firm is at the Snow Show for the first time, “partly because it’s in Denver and partly because we’re having a good year and we want to capitalize on the momentum,” Thamm said.
Scarpa North America
Founded in Italy 72 years ago, the bootmaker established its North American headquarters in Boulder in 2005.
Until then, Scarpa had used a third-party distributor for North American sales of ski, hiking and mountaineering boots.
The switch to in-house distribution reduced operating costs and enabled Scarpa to cut prices by 15 percent, said Chris Clark, director of marketing.
Clark said that after two years at the Snow Show in Las Vegas, he detects a more businesslike approach by exhibitors and buyers at the Denver show.
The sunglass and goggle firm’s visibility increased after its 2008 purchase by ballpoint-pen maker A.T. Cross Co.
That helped finance more marketing and a bigger product-development program.
Native Eyewear relocated from Pennsylvania to Denver last year in an effort to be closer to its target market of outdoor enthusiasts.
This is the firm’s first year at the Snow Show, which officials hope will stimulate sales that were flat last year.
“We feel that there’s more excitement here about the brand,” said Kevin Karch, vice president of sales.
“This is really about getting the product out in front of buyers.”
Co-founder Jim Satloff launched the firm in 2003 with $30,000 won during an incredibly lucky three-hour run at a Vegas craps table.
Today, Avon-based Liberty has a national reputation as a high-performance ski maker.
Liberty is the first manufacturer to use bamboo cores in all its lines, offering lighter weight and improved responsiveness.
Prototypes are developed at the Avon headquarters, but most manufacturing takes place in China. Low import duties allow Liberty to sell at competitive prices to retailers, where the skis carry list prices of $529 to $769.