Friday, November 20, 2009

Snowboarder participation

In one of my previous blog, I wrote about the latest SIA report and how the number of snowboarders has decreased since 2004.

While an excellent snow season certainly helps boost the sales like in 2008 and be a good equalizer. It is obvious that the snowboard industry is facing numerous threats.

U.S economy
More than one out of every six workers — 17.5 percent — were unemployed or underemployed in October. And it is close to 20% in States that experienced a big housing bubble (like Ca, Az, Fl) or have large manufacturing sectors, like Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and South Carolina. Additionally sales in snowboarding have shown a market decrease over the past years. One of the reason is that the initial participant demographic has aged and while there is a new market niche (older snowboarders), O\overall they are not being replaced like-for-like by younger participants.

Generation "Millenial"
It is obviously the most important target for the snowboard industry but it has to compete with other leisure activities such as freeskiing, street sports as well electronic entertainment (online game, videos..).

A bruising sport
15% of people that try snowboard go on to become core snowboarders. Rental equipments are usually pretty bad and so are group instruction. Again before buying all the gear for my wife, the boots and bindings she rented were terrible. Then she went into a 4 hours group lesson while I was hitting the snowpark. After two hours I could see that they couldn't take care of everyone in the group and she didn't make any progress and had numerous bruises. While many of those beginners gave up, I decided to be her instructor and buy her sick equipments.... 4 hours later she was riding by herself.

Demos, Contest & Programs
For the past few years, resort and companies have developped several programs to get the mainstream youth to try the sport and get hooked up such as LTR, SOS, Chill, demo days and big contests. In addition new board designs have stepped up to facilitate the fun and learning curve.

Downtwon Rail Jam contests are an excellent way to reach the wider audience and also show kids that you may not need lift tickets to have fun on a snowboard. Just like skateboarding, find some good rails and build a little kicker could be enough to enjoy this exciting sport.

"Hosted by Salomon Snowboards and The Art Institute of Colorado, the homegrown rail jam brings the best up and coming pros and amateurs from the Rocky Mountain region and beyond to compete in the heart of Denver's Golden Triangle District on November 21st.

Visit the John Jellico Gallery at The Art Institute of Colorado during the event to browse one-of-a-kind snowboards, all individually designed by Art Institute of Colorado students, alumni and potential students as part of a selective design competition. Over 30 designed snowboards will be on display in the gallery.

The event is free, open to the public and will include food, refreshments and a wide range of entertainment options. Games, giveaways, autograph signing with pro riders and a DJ booth will all be a part of the day's activities."

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