How would you describe the current state of the snowboard market? What big developments, changes, challenges, and/or opportunities are you seeing and how is your brand navigating them?
Once again, it feels like another transitional year around most parts of the snowboard world. Europe faced a weak snow season in 22-23 that left some inventory in shops. As we are dropping one of the most balanced and well-rounded line-ups I can remember for 24-25, we also face some economic head wind. There are lots of factors to consider from weather, inflation, and conflict leaning on Europe doorstep. None of which we have any control over. On the positive side, a lot of people still like having fun outside. With the pressure life can bring getting up on the mountain to slide around offers a wonderful distraction from the outside world. We are producing top tier products that last a long time for those types of people that still enjoy being outside to have fun with family and friends.
With Never Summer being a product driven brand based on quality our core customer and new ones alike still find value in quality. I believe the core snowboarder appreciates durability and craftsmanship over hype, probably more now than ever. When buying a new gear customers want to have the comfort that their money is being well spent on products that last. Therein lies the opportunity and we fit that description of products that are built to last.
Following overall price increase, any positive developments with regards to manufacturing, sourcing, or logistics and the changes you’ve made? Are there any examples you can share of how your business pivoted effectively? What developments are you seeing with regards to product pricing?
With inflation hitting every category of products on just about every shelf across the globe snowboards are not immune. Pretty much every material we use to build our snowboards costs more today than it did a year ago. We still design, manufacture, and distribute every single Never Summer snowboard from our Denver Colorado USA factory which has not become less expensive. Prices are rising across every winter product category. You have to pay to play.
Is e-commerce sales still strong since most brands have been put a lot of effort in physical retail?
E-Commerce has been steadily growing and I think it’s safe to say it’s here to stay in the tech driven world. However, buying a snowboard online can create some challenges that can be easily overcome by visiting your local snowboard shop. From pin pointing the proper model to fit your riding style to sizing length and width the online experience can be less personal. If you already know what you want and need for your gear the online option may fit well but if you need assistance in the buying process brick and mortal physical store fronts offer a unique experience. Walking out of your local boardshop with your new snowboard in hand creates a special feeling that is difficult to replicate through online purchases. There is an added layer of service and connection through the brick and mortar retail experience. Both are crucial to long-term success.
After last winter and the lack of snow in Europe, what’s your overall sales and production/inventory strategy for 24/25?
Thankfully, our distributors and their network of retailers work closely and have ordered accordingly over these years. For the most part we have had solid sell through with most all of our partners. Early demand tends to be strong with Never Summer. We always have built to order based on what our distributors and US retailers order so we do not have much for leftovers. We will see how the season stacks up with snow and by the spring season we hope to see our partners in a good place in terms is inventory. Only time will tell. Fingers crossed for a solid winter.
What trends or developments are you seeing with regards to board construction, shapes, and general innovation? How is this shaping your 24/25 range?
We are sticking with what we know to be true. Durability, craftsmanship, and quality snowboards that ride well are keys to success and longevity. Having our own factory allows us to control the quality of what goes in and what comes out of production. Clean lines and conservative shapes seem to strong sellers on volume models. On the other hand, we have some fresh progressive shapes on new models that have me super excited to get on snow. Some segments of the snowboard market that have been around are more ready for progressive board shapes and fresh looks on board designs. It seems to make more sense now offering unique shapes that used to scare customers away.
Our biggest innovation we’ve put out over the last couple seasons has been the Triple Camber profile and edge tech that has gained momentum with our core customer base and beyond. When you put the Triple Camber models on edge you will feel the additional contact points doing the work and digging into any snow or ice you put under it. It works, try it for yourself and see. This profile and edge tech holds an edge unlike any other profile or edge tech. You feel smooth transitions edge to edge without drag making turning simple paired with unmatched edge hold that you can trust to hold up at high speeds. The Triple Camber profile and edge tech is going into new models that are going to expand the reach of the Never Summer Line up to a broader range of riders. The V-Twin and the Nohku expand the Triple Camber range to go along with the Proto FR, the Easy Rider and Valhalla.
Anything new concerning sustainability and related product or construction you would like to highlight?
We are continuing to minimise waste in every area possible and put as little as we can into trash bins every day. Our overall numbers compared to the big brands are modest and our boards last a really long time. Never Summer Snowboards take a beating and can be repaired to stay on the slopes. That means more boards still on snow being ridden rather than end up in landfills. We will continue to work with all of our vendors for any new options of sustainability are developed.
Are you using any new materials in your hardware for 24/25? If so, what and why? We’re interested in anything new in inserts / edges / cores / sidewalls / glue / resin/ wood types / base material / top sheet / etc. here.
As far as materials go, we are sticking with the tried and true P-tex on our base and Side-walls. Our P-tex side-walls never crack and do not get brittle in cold temps. For cores we continue to experiment using multiple blends of different species of wood across the different models to maximize the strength to weight ratios. The Pre-tensioned STS fiberglass that is exclusive to Never Summer Industries gives the boards that well known snap, pop in and out of turns, and unmatched longevity so you get more days for your Dollars/Euros. Carbon stringers work well to add strength and stiffness while helping keep the weight down.
Any new design or pattern approaches in your 24/25 gear? Any collabs on the line?
Are you planning to focus on a special product range or type of customers? What’s your newest range? We have been putting more focus here at the factory on pinpointing models with a specific rider in mind. The new models we are dropping will round out and compliment the line-up well. We have to keep all riders in mind, not rider left behind.
What is your top product marketing story for next season?
Top marketing stories would be the new models we are focusing on below.
We invite anyone reading this to please come visit us at the Never Summer Factory when you come through Denver Colorado USA on your way to the mountains to ride. You will pass close by our factory on your way through Denver from the airport to the mountains so come stop by and say hello so we can show you our factory and how we build boards.
Best Sellers/Hero/Key products
Three top product/models: V-Twin, Nokhu, Easy Rider
The Valhalla had a twin and its true twin brother is as aggressive in nature but with a balanced feel. A powerful mid-firm flex is modified with Triple Camber and extended contact points for unmatched grip on the iciest, hard packed runs. An alluring new shape adds to float on this twin and is capped off with stylish yet durable aluminum tip/tail protectors.
The new Nokhu features a shorter running surface that provides the nimbleness of a shorter board for knifing in and out of turns, while Triple Camber when put on edge gives the Nokhu the enhanced edge hold and stability of a longer length. A broad, early rise nose delivers exceptional float in the deepest pow. Its tapered shape makes this mid-flex ripper a complete board for tearing up the entire mountain.
What does Nokhu mean? Nokhu Crags is a rock formation and mountain summit in the Never Summer Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The name is derived from the Arapaho language, Neaha-no-xhu, meaning “Eagles Nest.”
The Easy Rider features the Triple Camber profile with a mid-flex for dominant all mountain performance. Pressed in a symmetrical version of the classic true twin Proto Type Two shape, this do it all board will appeal to the masses.