Drake Snowboards FW17/18 Preview

Retail Buyers Guide:  Staff Sales Handbook: Snowboards 17/18

INTERVIEWEE: Davide Smania – Marketing & Product Manager

Team Snowboard

Team Snowboard

KEY PRODUCT FOCUS: Please pick the three most exciting boards from your new 17/18 line and tell us about them.
We have a new shape for the Battle freeride board, which is excellent for the backcountry but also pretty good on the pistes. The Team board is even lighter thanks to the new Kevlar-carbon rods. Urban jibbing board has a super blunt shape to shorten the board and keep the same effective steel edge.

Urban Snowboard

Urban Snowboard

Construction. Using any new inserts / edge tech / cores / sidewalls / glue / wood types / metals / bases / other materials? Or are you using this stuff in any new ways?
We are using hybrid Kevlar-carbon rods instead of the regular carbon. This allows us to have the same performance while reducing the thickness of the woodcore and related weight.

Where will you build your boards, any changes? What makes this production facility the best solution for you?
We will build our boards in Tunisa. They have more than 20 years as a snowboard producer and keep the work force stable and experienced during the whole year thanks to the kite board business (same sandwich construction, no steel edge).

Where is the price-point that’s working the best right now? Right at the top, at the bottom, or somewhere in between?
300-400 euros for a great board is the goal. You need a well performing board at an affordable price.

How long is your warranty, anything new here?
Our warranty is 2 years

We’re seeing a lot of small, grassroots snowboard brands getting traction again. How does this affect your brand, marketing & positioning?
It has always been like this, the good ones will kick out the bad ones. It is legitimate to make a new brand, it is not that difficult to create some hype, but it is hard to keep it high. Small brands with small financial power have to consider this in addition to the lack of snow we faced in the past years.

What inspired your topsheet & base aesthetics? Where is the trend here – muted, flashy, photos, what? Any cool collabs/limited editions?
When we collect moods for the graphics we do have open-ended ideas, no leading thread between the whole collection. We just focus on finding graphic styles which fit each boards category. In the new collection you will find more textures and less illustrations. Some graphics come from the screens we have been in front of since we were young: internet, video-games, television. Some others spread the bond between human and mountain elements: snow, wood, rock and so on. As an Italian brand we like to work with Italian artists, but there is no restrictions even here. For instance, the new Battle springs from a partnership with a Hungarian brand run by our former rider Gergo Koczka and his mate Peter Szalay. Pete created an amazing illustration you can find both on our freeride board and on their stuff at pinetimeclothing.com

Battle Snowboard

Battle Snowboard

Shops are asking for a two-year product life cycle to help sell boards on price longer. Any thoughts on this, or featuring any carryover boards in the line?
Our business is crazy in this sense, discounts start too early, the season is perceived as pretty short and it is difficult to be able to sell gears at a full price. This can be a strategy, but consumers also need to understand and recognise new technologies from marketing.

Doing splitboards? What are you doing to push this segment forward?
Nope, we developed a new boot suitable for step-in crampons because we still have a lot of riders that prefer the torsion of the regular boards and use snowshoes for the backcountry.

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85 Drake/Northwave SNOW

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