What are the main trends in protection for snowboarding in FW21/22 and how do you address them with your products?
We are continuing to improve our products technically, but also focusing on producing products using more eco-friendly materials and processes. In addition to our responsibility to our product, is our responsibility to our environment and the people who produce our goods.
We have been aiming to create flexible, invisible but reliable protection with adaptive characteristic. The new MKX is only 10mm with really great shock absorption, extremely flexible and creates no heat build up. Also we have been stepping up the game in the category of protective sportspacks. With BC in 22 and 28 liters. The Snowlite Airflow Backsystem is super lightweight and in combination with the auto-compression hipbelt there is literally now swing weight while riding. This ensures that the pack with a super lightweight (around 160gr.) EPP protector always sits close to your body and saves your ass in case. Reducing the weight of an protector was one of the main goals working on the new EPP protector for our BC series.
Which snowboarding protection products sold best during FW20/21?Back protection is our primary seller, but we also have seen a big uptake in our new MKX knee protector which is an awesome seamless low profile second-skin design.
Where do you expect the biggest growth in snowboarding protection during FW21/22?
Comfortable form fitting protectors, using technical, eco-friendly materials.
Do you have any innovations in terms of design or materials for FW21/22?
Innovations are mainly in the realm of materials technology and continuing to reduce the environmental impact of our product, whilst maintaining quality and craftsmanship. Using natural fibers such as Miharo Those fibres have proven to be a leader amongst all other climate control fabrics with their unique characteristics of being a fast growing, renewable source, eco-friendly and a distinguished odor managing function. The blend with Polyester creates a fabric which absorbs odor, is anti-bacterial and works active on moisture regulation for very comfortable and dry.
On the production side e.g. we know we’re not perfect, nobody is. However, every little bit counts, and it’s with this in mind that we managed to implement the Zero Waste Production process when injecting the MKX parts. Every off-cut, every spare millimetre of material that would otherwise be thrown away – is carefully collected and upcycled into brand new products! Zero Waste Production is the future, and we’re happy it started here.
Are your products targeted to specific customers / rider types?
Everyone needs protection, from beginners making their first turns, to pros pushing the boundaries of the sport. Our range is focused, yet suitable for all rider types.
What is the general consumer’s attitude towards wearing snow protection? Has this changed in recent years?
People are really seeing the value in protecting their ass-ets, – if it means you avoid injury, and spend more time on the hill – that’s kind of the point isn’t it?
Do you have any interesting POS materials for retailers? Are you offering any other kind of retailer support for this category?
We work closely with our distributors and retailers to create custom made POS materials based on their specific needs. We find this to be really fun actually – helping people get the product in their hands and “catching eyeballs”!
Did the early spring lockdown affect the sell-through of the FW20/21 range? If so, how have you addressed this issue?
Sure! Just like everyone else, but we’ve always carefully managed our stock levels and tried to reduce our risk. We’ve got great hookups with our suppliers, so we can reorder quickly and easily. Also selling across summer for MTB has been superb. Right now we see no stock shortage. We have been shipping in time for this season and the outlook is promising for the next months.
MKX TOP: The MKX Top is the next generation of flexible, breathable, high performance back protection for ski & snowboard. The unique design and HexFlex construction of the MKX Top makes this our lightest, most protective and breathable silicone protector ever – building on our years of experience, extensive testing and rider feedback with similar materials. The huge weight saving and super breathable cell design, combined with a super flexible four way flex ergonomic jacket give a true “second skin” feel – for longer, safer days when you’re pushing your limits. We are moving the concept of protection from an “Exoskeleton” concept to a more form fitting “baselayer” or “second skin” concept, that is a true “Fit it and forget it” product. Movement is absolutely unrestricted when worn – and will truly allow progressive alpine sports enthusiasts to test their limits, and push their riding to the next level. At AMPLIFI we were unsatisfied with “off the shelf” solutions for back protectors – even so called “soft protectors” are not able to flex in 360 degrees, and are bulky and don’t offer top level breathability. We wanted to create a product that feels like a “second skin” baselayer by using MIHARO 6+ fabrics, but gives the safety that is expected of a top level protector. The specific properties of the silicone based compound used creates a “liquid” feel when the protector is worn, developing the tessellating hex design with our materials engineers, reduces weight AND allows free movement of air and moisture through the protector – and only 10mm thick! This is the result of 3 years of hard work with our engineers.
The BC Pack is a super-lightweight backcountry pack. Fully equipped with a ski/snowboard carry system, avalanche gear compartments, helmet carry system, goggle pocket and an insulated shoulder strap for your backcountry mission. Perfect for your hike mission! The superlight weight EPP protector adds literally no weight on your hike missions, but a ton of safety. In the Glacier version the BC is made of an outer material using 100% recycled PET bottles and part of the sales is supporting the READY2Learn program in Vietnam for school kids.
Make sure that even your youngest kids are with the program and get them stoked about riding while keeping them out of hospital! The Polymer Grom incorporates industry standard SAS-TEC back protection in a super-simple, single-zipper harness design. The back protector complies with EN1621-2:2014. The awesomely simple design of the Polymer Grom won’t get in the way of your young ripper’s development – once fitted, they won’t even know it’s there. But you will – and you’ll be able to enjoy watching their every move as they level up their snow game!