Everyone has been affected by impacts from Covid-19 in one way or another. Have you had to change manufacturing or sourcing processes and can you explain any good examples of how your business has pivoted effectively?
The postponement of purchases of traditional snowboard and ski equipment last winter and the almost speculative craze that followed for touring equipment, showed us that we need to be more and more flexible in adapting our offer and therefore within the entire production chain. This confirmed our original decision to produce in Europe, as we did since the launch of the brand in 2003, which offers us much faster lead times and greater flexibilitY
Carry-over was a hot topic for 21/22 boards. Where did your brand sit on the matter and has this changed for 22/23?
We have always worked by carrying over special products over several seasons. This model is very well received by our partners and customers. In addition to the flexibility it allows for stock management, it also corresponds to the philosophy of the brand and the development of our range around the D1 shape, as immutable as it is timeless. We will therefore keep folowing that path for the next collection with a smart mix between carry-over and new models.
The bricks and mortar model is changing rapidly. How are you working with retailers and your ecommerce channel to ensure as little conflict as possible?
We continue to be very faithful to physical stores, we convey customers’ orders as much as possible towards our retailers who have the desired products in stock. In addition to the highly appreciated advisory service to our customer, this behaviour matches to the image of conviviality and exchange between enthusiasts, as we and our loyal customers are attached to. In addition, our digital channel allows us to reach people worldwide, in some cases in areas not covered by an official dealer, so they complement each other and work together very instinctively. Both channels are very essential to us.
What’s your company doing to improve its carbon footprint/eco consciousness?
We have always preferred to produce our snowboards in Europe, with local sourcing of all the materials used, which also come from European sites, subject to European environmental requirements. This short circuit also limits the waste inherent to overseas transportation.
Are you using any new materials in your hardware for 22/23? If so, what, and why?
Over the years, various adjustments have been made, and today we have arrived at very light products that are pleasant to climb and that continue to function very well when descending in the most diverse conditions. But we continue to favour traditional quality materials, which guarantee a high level of comfort, without wanting to cross a threshold that would not guarantee a better longevity.
Any big advancements in functionality? Skinning, transitions, etc, as well as riding?
The D1 shape is the result of shaping work started by Serge Dupraz with the legendary Hot One Sixty in 1986, a concept that offered unrivalled skills in both powder and on piste. When it was introduced in 2003, many looked at it as a UFO. And as of today, it is quite amazing to see how it still functions. Even the advantages it brings in splitboarding with natural lift on the way up and down, ease in all types of snow, playful in tree runs or on the cat track.
Prices: Which area of the market do you primarily cater to, price-wise? Has this changed at all in recent times, or is it pretty consistent?
The last season’s craze for touring equipment has certainly finished to set up the last beginners. This segment will probably be saturated by now. The vast majority of these users will remain very occasional and will not renew their gear for several years. It is mainly the experienced users, who want to consolidate their activity, who will be ready to buy new equipment, in order to access better performance with more accurate hardware, with a higher purchase budget than for the previous one. With the strong reputation acquired by our freeride snowboards, we are naturally taking part in the offer that will interest these seasoned riders. We have therefore decided to focus our splitboard range essentially on this high-end price point.
Most brands tell us that selling in store is really important for splitboard gear, as it’s where you can get good advice. Can this be maintained post-COVID, or will you be looking to find more customers online?
The notion of specialised advice, and the offer likely to be associated with splitboarding products, will play a decisive role in the choice of the outlet.
The role and the relevance of the technical prescriber on the offer will thus be preponderant in front of erudite customers for the success of the sale.
As we already pay attention to the same criteria of influence for the sale of our snowboards, our traditional network of very specialised snowboard or mountain shops is perfectly qualified to promote our splitboards as well.
What are your three biggest European markets for splitboard hardware?
France / Switzerland / Norwa
Best Sellers/Hero products
The D-Tour was designed to handle it all, from fun low angle tree runs to the steepest lines of Chamonix. To make the best splitboard we possibly could, we used a premium carbon construction to make the D-Tour the lightest possible, all without compromising performance or reliability. In addition to the D1’s legendary freeride capabilities, this makes it the natural splitboard of choice for the most discerning rider.