“It’ll be 2025, snowboarding’ll be back in vogue, the bollocks of all this political turmoil, the fear of D2C and falling participation figures will all be a distant memory.” Fantastic optimism or the ramblings of a drunken (anonymous) snowboard industry employee after a full day thwacking the Italian pistes of Champoluc for Vans Snowboarding Days? However pressing these concerns may seem today, we’re definitely seeing the signs of change.
Returners – the hyped snowboard retail buzzword – have been bringing joy to snowboard retailers in the form of mid-30 and 40-somethings revisiting the snowy sideways love of their formative years after a career/family induced hiatus. We’ve previously reported that it’s these deeper pockets spurring splitboarding’s growth, and this demographic are also ideal proponents for the trending of wider, asymmetrical and piste hugging, powder float boards and the advent of quivering.
Also previously reported in SOURCE, snowboard participation figures have been on the decline. An epidemic that we’ve collectively known needs to be fixed, but with the exception of a small few, no one has taken the bull by the horns – until now. Kids snowboarding products are finally seeing the attention they deserve. Not just a sized down adults board, specially designed kids sticks, bindings, boots and outerwear are now on the rise with brands seeing the potential and need to get kids hooked from a young age.
But it’s not just about the products, it’s the mentality we have to address – and we do so with a feature called ‘Kids Snowboarding: Lighting the Touchpaper’ by our newest recruit and snowboard product guru, Andrew Duthie.
K2’s John Colonna takes this issue’s Big Wig hot seat and we speak with the industry vet about the fears mentioned above to find out some insightful news on a re-sharpening of the group’s focus on snowboarding.
As ever you can expect to find all the info you need to help your buying process in our Retail Buyer’s Guides and our market insight authors take stock from across Europe on the state of retail after the Christmas period 2018.
Harry Mitchell Thompson