National Ski & Snowboard

Retailers Association

Member Update
October 2011

NSSRA Member Update
is transmitted via e-mail and contains news of interest to members of the National Ski & Snowboard Retailers Association.

Please feel free to share this newsletter with your colleagues or others in the snow sports industry who you feel would be interested.

Larry Weindruch
NSSRA President
(888) 257-1168, Ext. 129
In This Issue
Amer Sports E-Commerce Update
Combined Indemnified Bindings List No Longer Free For All
NSSRA Membership Meeting To Be Held at 2012 SIA Show

Amer Sports E-Commerce Update

Earlier this year NSSRA began what has become many meetings and conversations with the management team at Salomon and Atomic to offer input from the specialty retailer community on the e-commerce initiative that Amer Sports announced earlier this year. From the beginning there were two points that set the stage for these discussions.


First, this decision was initiated by Amer corporate and passed down to the various brands within their holdings; it was not instigated by the brands themselves. In snow sports those brands are Atomic and Salomon hardgoods and Arc'teryx, Salomon and Bonfire softgoods. It was up to the management of the various brands to determine the appropriate implementation of this directive.


Secondly, at our first meeting with Amer U.S. it was announced that the decision had been made to go consumer direct with the clothing brands. Their feeling was that these brands are or will be targeted beyond the scope of snow sports industry and need to be as accessible to e-commerce shoppers as other outdoor lifestyle brands (North Face, Patagonia, etc). Our position was that these brands are not as lifestyle oriented as other brands on the market, and accordingly distribution should be kept within the specialty snow sports retailer community. While we are hopeful that Amer U.S. will revisit this decision, at this writing the clothing brands are expected to be offered direct to consumers.


For Salomon and Atomic hardgoods the discussions were very different. To the credit of the management of these companies, NSSRA was contacted soon after the Amer announcement and asked to offer input on the direct-to-consumer strategy proposed by Amer. Our position was that specialty retailers were not likely to support a direct to consumer e-commerce strategy by Salomon and Atomic hardgoods, and the consequences of this action could be detrimental to the brands.


Shortly after the first initial meeting NSSRA president Larry Weindruch commissioned a survey to gauge the opinions of our members regarding this action. In all the years I have been involved in this organization I have never seen a response like we got to this survey; it was overwhelming. For all of you that took the time to respond to that survey you need to know that when these results were presented to the management of Salomon and Atomic, it had the impact you hoped for, and your voice was heard.


During these negotiations the board of NSSRA worked under the following two principles. First, if we continue to do what we're already doing we're only going to get what we've already got. While the snow sports industry had an excellent year last year, many specialty retailers feel that business has gotten tougher. Any change that supports and/or enhances the position of specialty retailers should be considered.


Secondly, e-commerce is here to stay; consumers demand it. As vendors develop e-commerce strategies snow sports retailers could either be victims of abusive vendor commerce strategies, or we could be part of the process of creating a strategy that gives consumers what they want and at the same time supports the important role that retailers play in our industry. We chose the latter.


Over the last couple of months of back and forth discussions with NSSRA, the management of Salomon and Atomic have crafted what I think could become an e-commerce model for the snow sports industry in the future. Many things could change between now and the future but at this writing I think they have come up with a model that retailers can support. It is up to Salomon and Atomic to announce this model in the coming weeks, and, of course, it is up to each individual retailer to decide if this model is good for his or her business.


In the coming weeks, as you will hear more about the model Salomon and Atomic have created, I hope that you will keep an open mind to the idea. Don't judge it by what other vendors have done in the past; judge it by what these two vendors are doing now. Second, remember that if at any time in the future this model were to change to the detriment of specialty retailers, retailers will still have the option to voice their displeasure by voting with their pens.


A special thanks to NSSRA board members Tom Gately (SMC), Steve Rogers (SSL), Larry Weindruch (NSSRA president) and the rest of the board of directors of NSSRA for their time and input on this issue. Also thanks to Tom Fuerst (SMC chairman) for his presence at our last meeting. And lastly, the entire retail community owes a huge thank you to the dues paying members of NSSRA for your help in keeping this organization going. When NSSRA works the way it is supposed to work, this is the type of positive outcome that can be accomplished!


If you are a member but haven't completed the renewal process, now is the time. Those companies with unpaid 2011-12 dues will have their memberships terminated on October 21. Just call the NSSRA office at 888-257-1168, ext. 129, and Larry Weindruch will help you complete the renewal process.




Brad Nelson, NSSRA Chairman


Combined Indemnified Bindings List

No Longer Free For All

NSSRA member dues help fund the ongoing advocacy efforts that are made on behalf of all specialty snow sports retailers. NSSRA addresses issues like binding testing and ASTM rules, pro forms abuses, MAP pricing, and vendors selling direct to consumers via the Internet, all issues that threaten the continued survival and success of specialty snow sports retailers. These are issues that would be dictated to retailers were it not for the advocacy of NSSRA.


Currently, NSSRA is engaged in several issues on behalf of specialty snow sports retailers;

  • Working with SIA, NSAA and other stakeholder groups on efforts to increase participation in skiing and snowboarding.
  • Throughout the summer, we have been engaged in talks with a Salomon and Atomic about their previously announced plans for e-commerce.
  • Our agenda also includes discussions with vendors on retailer concerns about the buy/sell cycle in our industry.

The cost to support these efforts is currently being born by about 20% of snow sports retailers. The mission of NSSRA is to focus on issues that affect specialty retailers. This involves travel and expense by our all-volunteer board members and is a drain on our resources. To ensure that we have sufficient resources to continue these efforts, we are forced to limit some of the support we have historically provided to retailers that do not pay membership dues. The Combined Indemnified Binding List is one of those programs.


Starting with the 2011-12 season, the Combined Indemnified Bindings List, long considered one of the most important benefits of NSSRA membership, will be available at no cost exclusively to NSSRA members.


Non-members who wish to continue receiving the Bindings List may do so by purchasing it for $99.00. In addition to the List, those who make this purchase will be accorded full NSSRA membership privileges for one year, as a trial membership. An order form to purchase this list can be downloaded from the NSSRA website,


NSSRA dues, which start at $135.00 and are based on the number of stores, are a fraction of the value of the services and programs offered by NSSRA. Your dues are critical in allowing the Association to continue providing these services. In addition to exclusive publications like the biennial NSSRA Cost of Doing Business Survey and the annual Snow Sports Participation Report, NSSRA offers services that help you keep your costs under control. A complete listing of these services can be found on the new NSSRA website,


We thank you for being an NSSRA member and hope you will continue supporting the only association that works exclusively for specialty snow sports retailers.


-- Larry Weindruch, NSSRA President



You are invited to attend the Annual NSSRA Membership Meeting, which will be held Friday, January 27, 2012, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. This is the second day of the SIA Snow Show.


The meeting is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. We will let you know the exact location as soon as the meeting room is assigned.


The NSSRA Board of Directors will report on the Association's activities and accomplishments of the last 12 months and its plans for the coming year.


At the conclusion of the meeting, you are invited to mingle, network and enjoy light refreshments.

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