Nidecker Snowboards Expands In North America, Hires Tom Pelley To Head Up Marketing
Nidecker Snowboards, the legendary Swiss company which has made a resurgence on the international scene in recent years, has hired San Francisco-based industry veteran Tom Pelley to drive their marketing efforts on North American soil. We caught up with Pelley to understand the move and learn more about the brand’s positioning and strategy.
First up, who are you, Tom Pelley?
Tom Pelley: Even though California is home now, I was born in Australia and started snowboarding at seven. During my pro career I rode for Quiksilver, Grenade, 3CS, Dragon, KAB, Burton, Lib Tech. I grew as much as I could in the Australian scene through contest wins and the magazines, then moved to America to chase the dream. Over here I rode Superpark, the Eddie Wall Invitational, Grenade Games and filmed a ton. Then I moved into various industry roles including distribution, coaching and judging, and ended up team captain for the Australian Olympic Halfpipe team. Finally I sidestepped into marketing.
Where does Nidecker sit in the North American market landscape right now?
Tom Pelley: Nidecker is in an exciting position in my opinion; we have a reputation amongst those in the know for making super quality products. Any coach or shop owner who remembers Nidecker when we were huge in the NA market back in the ’90s only has good things to say about the quality of the product, and that’s a great base to build off. Next year Nidecker celebrates 40 years of making snowboards. No brand lives for that long without doing a lot of things right. Of course, the Supermatic has been a total success story for everyone involved and really put us back on the map, and our boot line – headed by Maurizio Molin, the creative genius formerly behind Burton’s boot program – is unmatched in quality, value and comfort. Add to that an insane board line of thoughtful, creative and well-built shapes and it’s pretty clear that this is a brand on a strong growth curve.
What’s the wholesale scene like for Nidecker?
Tom Pelley: We have an awesome network of shops across North America who have been incredible partners over the years. Nidecker works best when the brand is understood, when our values and approach can be explained, and where we can really help the shop in terms of sell-through rather than just another brand stuck up on the wall. We’re already rolling out a new retail marketing and POP program to help shops get customers excited about Nidecker. Shop kids are the OG influencers, so they’re the ones we’re stoked to support.
What’s the plan now?
Tom Pelley: I just got back from a super inspirational week at the Swiss office and it was clear to me that Nidecker’s plan is to grow quickly but carefully. Of course we’re not turning our backs on the heritage of the brand and where its roots are – in freeriding and carved turns – but you will see an expansion of the brand into a bit more of the freestyle side of the sport, done in the Nidecker way. That means bringing innovative tech and high quality products to the market, and building out a team that blends creativity with real edge control – Mons Røisland being a great example. There’s also a lot of investment into supporting everyone involved with the brand to help with sell-in and sell-out. We’ll be running and partnering at events to create hyper-focused brand activations in the true spirit of snowboarding. Ultimately Nidecker is a brand owned by snowboarders, run by snowboarders and designed by snowboarders. They’re out there riding, testing and building products for rippers all over the world to enjoy, and that shines through very clearly to me.
Who else is involved?
Tom Pelley: NA distribution is run by Low Pressure Studio, out of Seattle, WA. On the sales side, we’ve got an all-star rep team of true grinders – Dale Rehberg, Greg Oakley and Tim Brennan in the US, then Ricky Styles, Andrew Murdison and Nic Picard in Canada. Gershon Dorfmann manages sales over here. In Switzerland, the brand manager is Thierry Kunz, who used to run the global winter market for Boardriders and who has been in the industry forever. The marketing, design and dedicated R&D teams all work out of there too.
Lastly, what’s coming for Nidecker? Can we have a sneak peek of anything that’s in the works?
Tom Pelley: Winter 2025 is going to be massive for us. It’s a celebration of 40 years of building boards, and as I mentioned there will be a campaign around our Sensor freestyle boards. We’ve also got some sick new colors for the Supermatic and a brand new, super stiff Carbon version. Plus some of the best boots I’ve ever ridden. Of course we’ll be present in all the major endemic print media – supporting snowboard mags is key to building culture, so we’re all in on that. And we’re making big moves on the team side, adding some household names who totally send it. Finally, since we’re a 1% For The Planet member, we’ll keep supporting the activists in the trenches doing the work to get cleaner air and cleaner water all over the earth. It’s a great time to be along for the ride at this brand – a dream come true.