Adios 2014, it’s been a blast.
As we arrive in the 14/15 Winter season, snowboarding seems to be at somewhat of a crossroads. The attention garnered by the Winter Olympics earlier in 2014, where younger riders were gaining thousands of new followers every time they refreshed their Facebook feeds, contrasts with the views of older pros that’d like to see their younger peers boycott all FIS events to grant the TTR Tour unparalleled autonomy. It was nearly 17 years ago that Terje Håkonsen shunned the Nagano Winter Olympics, and it’s a similar move that senior pros would like to see mirrored by today’s elite. Thanks to the large amounts of money events such as the Olympics are worth to competitors, we may not see this replicated any time soon.
Passing snowboarding from one generation to the next is crucial and Source’s Snowboard Editor Rémi Forsans has dissected the market into three age categories in order to suggest how both brands and retailers can profit from adhering to the needs of each of them.
Snowboard boots are the most vital part of any snowboard setup and are an easy sell. Our snowboard retail aficionado Tom Wilson- North summarizes 15/16’s boot offerings and also tells us just why next year’s bindings are going to attract more attention than previously. We also have all the very latest in helmet and protection technology broken into two easily understandable guides.
For those looking at next winter’s offerings away from the mountains, we have AW15/16 surf apparel and streetwear reports as well as a comprehensive preview of the watch market for 2015.
Be sure to read this issue’s Big Wig with Kevin Bailey, President of VF Action Sports Coalition and Vans. Kevin gives us insights into how a brand approaching its 50th anniversary stays relevant, and how on earth the brand recorded double-digit revenue growth for the 20th consecutive quarter in Q314.
So I will bring in some New Year cheer as we bid adieu to 2014 and dip my toe into the market mood. It seems to me the industry is more positive about 2015 than it has been for any year since the 2008 GFC. Brands are better sized and more focused on what they are doing and even though the winter market is really tough, brands have done their homework and are prepared. Relating our economic situation to a backcountry powder line: after multiple turns, slashes, and face-shots you hit a pillow drop – all that’s left to do is keep the weight over the back knee to ride away cleanly and prevent any unnecessary ragdolling.
Harry Mitchell Thompson, Editor