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SIA: Nick's Notes - Welcome back from Summer

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  • Nick Sargent, President, SIA

I hope you all had an enjoyable time during these hot summer months! I just returned from an exploratory trip to China as a guest of the World Winter Sports Expo. As you may have heard, the Chinese government has declared they will have 300,000,000 skiers/snowboarders by 2022. Even if they only realize 10 percent of this estimate, this will have a major impact on the global winter sports industry. Given the potential opportunities for US (and international) suppliers, SIA will continue to investigate the opportunity and help lead the conversation behind the number! More on that in the coming months.
 
We have been busy since I communicated with you last. There is a lot to talk about, so this note will be a bit longer than usual, but I will try to sum it up as concisely and swiftly as possible. 
 
Since the sale of the Snow Show, we have been deep in planning for the long-term success of SIA. At the end of July, the SIA board of directors approved the renewed direction for the organization. The plan is centered on responsible investment over the next three years and the creation of new events, tools, and programs that support our members’ business and help the industry thrive. Education, Research, Participation, and Membership have been designated as the four pillars of the organization, which will serve as the filters for all key initiatives moving forward. Here’s a quick note about each of these pillars:
 
Education - Education is crucial not only for making informed decisions, but also for building bridges and encouraging dialog. Whether it’s providing the latest research results, explaining the implications of climate change, disseminating latest trends and consumer buying habits, advising about best practices, or communicating the impact of a newly proposed tariff, arming our members with information is vital. We will provide this information and educational programming to all industry stakeholders, but with a primary focus on suppliers, retailers, and reps. Starting this fall, we will hold a series of regional events across the North America aimed at bringing the industry together to learn, engage in dialog and strengthen our community. These will take the form of Town Halls, Think Tanks, and a new program we will launch at the regional rep shows called “Data and Drafts” (I think you can figure out what that means!). We look forward to getting out of the office, meeting the industry on their home turf, and bringing greater value to our members.
 
Research - Research can be complex and challenging to understand, but it needs to be a fundamental tool in your tool belt. Reliable, actionable data enables good business decisions. We recognize this and have a mission to not only make data/research accessible and digestible, but also to create new research products that are essential to your business. Research will play a leading role in our education initiatives and will be a recurring theme in our communications. We will place a high priority on further developing consumer data, as well as creating custom surveys and analysis to enable our members to get exactly the information they are seeking. New collaborations will be instrumental in these projects, providing us with fresh data sets and different perspectives on analysis, as well as helping us hone in on the data that is most vital to the industry. To that end, we are excited to announce two new collaborations: The University of Utah’s MBA program will assist with new research projects; and Adapt Analytics, pioneers in mainstream sports analytics, will help us with data innovation. All in all, this is a new direction for SIA research and we are excited to roll it out to you in the coming months and years. With this new direction comes other changes: We will be saying goodbye to Kelly Davis, our longtime director of research. Kelly has been an amazing resource to SIA and its members for over 10 years. Please join me in thanking her for her service and congratulating her on her new position as the director of research for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Kelly has been instrumental in helping us define what’s next for research at SIA, and she will play a key role in the next several months as we transition in this new direction and add staff to manage research internally.
 
Participation - Getting more people involved in winter recreation both on and off the hill is key to growth. We continually look at how we can generate industry-wide dialog and action on this important issue, while highlighting programs that are currently helping drive participation. We will also forge partnerships that will help move the participation needle, as well as focus on providing better support for existing programs such as Winter Trails Month and Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. Locally in Park City, we are launching our own test program with the public library, making sleds and snowshoes available for patrons of all ages to get outside and enjoy the snow this winter!
 
Membership - Our mission is to help the industry thrive. Now more than ever, we must deliver a greater value proposition to our members and ensure that the value we deliver far outweighs the membership fees. We must provide programs and tools that align with our mission, support your business and help strengthen the industry. We also recognize that a diverse group of stakeholders makes for more compelling dialog. We are committed to  expanding our reach and our conversations to better include retailers, reps, and resorts. The issues we face industry-wide are not limited solely to suppliers but encompass each person and business that is involved in winter sports.
 
And one last area that is worth noting, even though it isn’t a pillar: events. As I mentioned above, we will launch a series of regional events that will allow us to forge closer relationships with industry professionals, as well as host several national events. We will continue to drive Industry + Intelligence in Denver and we are excited to work with OIA to present a full day of educational programming at the 2018 show. SIA and WWSRA will continue to co-produce the On Snow Demo at Copper after the OR + Snow Show, and we will implement some small, but important, changes for 2018. Lastly, we will host a new end-of-season celebration in Park City, April 5-7, 2018. This will be a chance for the global winter industry—including suppliers, retailers, resorts, media, consumers, and other winter enthusiasts—to come together for three days of education, entertainment, networking, and making business connections. The integration of consumers, on-snow elements, and a healthy dose of fun will be key to this season closing party.  Keep an eye out for more details on all of our events.
 
We hope you are as excited as we are about the direction of the organization. We are confident that we have the leadership, staff, board of directors, band-width, and most importantly, the motivation to get it done!
 
OR + Snow Show - Onto another hot topic….the trade show. We have been working closely with Emerald to transition the Snow Show into their care. I am sure the thought on everyone’s mind is, “When can we see the floor plan?” As you can well imagine, the creation of an entirely new floor plan for a combined 500,000+ sqft Snow Show + Winter OR is a monumental task! However, we have assurances that the floor plan will be ready in early November at which point it will be shared with the exhibitors. In the meantime, in order to manage everyone’s expectations, its important to remember that this isa new floor plan andit’s not realistic to expect to be in the same location as years past. Every square foot of space will be in use, there will be an equitable balance between winter and outdoor, and the floor plan will be both efficient and effective for buyers and exhibitors alike. We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding, as I know we are all anxious to see the end result.
 
Ski Mechanics Workshop - We will launch a completely new and updated SMW in early October. This will be an online-only workshop that covers all of the same key elements as the old SMW, but in a digital, interactive format. By taking SMW online, we will make the program accessible to more people for less money and provide a more comprehensive educational platform. We are busy putting the finishing touches on the program and will send out a notice when the program is ready to go live.
 
Website - Lastly, we will launch the new and updated SIA website in the next couple of weeks. This site will be clear, concise, and will better serve the members with more B-to-B opportunities and member-only areas that will be developed over the next several months. Keep an eye out for it!
 
Until next time!
Sincerely,

Nick
 
P.S. REMINDER THAT OCT 10 IS THE DEADLINE TO GET THE SIA MEMBER DISCOUNT FOR OR+SNOW SHOW BOOTH SPACE! IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, GIVE US A CALL OR EMAIL KYLE KENNEDY (kkennedy@snowsports.org) - DO IT NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY!

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