We keep seeing season after season that is nothing like we’ve seen been before. Nothing quite like boardsports for being unique, eh?
As we headed into the 21/22 winter, we were blindly hoping (and optimistic) for a good one, but then Omicron struck. There’s little point in me explaining what happened, we all know, but at the time of writing – end of January – I can thankfully report that whereas last year everywhere but Switzerland was closed, this year’s picture is distinctly brighter with resorts all across Europe open and covid restrictions lifting bit by bit in most countries.
For example, France closing its borders to the UK just before Christmas had a hugely traumatic effect on the snowsports business, but once France announced the relaxing of restrictions in the middle of January we’ve heard from a number of UK retailers that record sales were hit following the news.
So, here we are knocking on February’s door and we are definitely in a better position to last year. Good sell-through is being reported from both brands and retailers, in all snow categories. Splitboarding continues its upward momentum and once again we wait with bated breath to see what effect the winter Olympics will have on snowboard sales and participation numbers.
Even though a little more tricky than normal, here at SOURCE we managed to get around the trade events that survived, and one of the most notable things was definitely the lack of samples due to backlogs in raw materials and production facilities. However, at the time of writing, we know these backlogs have cleared and samples are now with brands filtering down to distributors and retailers.
It was truly unfortunate that Shops 1st Try had to cancel for this winter, but we fully commend the event organisers for their never-say-die attitude and for taking things right to the wire. With the cancellation of SFT, there have been a number of pop-up regional on snow demos appear, not to mention the launch of Winter Pro in La Rosiere, which was a great success. It’s great to see there’s an appetite for people wanting to try next year’s gear and it shows signs of a healthy market and a need for this type of gathering. A big shout out to this issue’s cover star Jari Salo and photographer Keke Leppala for the initiative shown in bagging this shot. A snow-deprived Helsinki saw the pair travel to a local ice hockey rink, fill their car boot with snow and stage the photo, aptly named ‘Global Warming’, shot on a bridge in Helsinki.
This just leaves me to wish you a successful rest of the winter. I’m glad to hear retailers are placing their pre-orders with confidence and I look forward to taking some well-deserved snow turns soon…
Harry Mitchell Thompson