National Ski & Snowboard

Retailers Association

Member Update
November 18, 2012

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


Those of you who are not NSSRA members are encouraged to join and take advantage of the exclusive member benefits and to add your voice to those who advocate for all specialty snowsports retailers.


Larry Weindruch

NSSRA President
(888) 257-1168


Please feel free to share this newsletter with your colleagues. 
In This Issue
Slow Start, Situation Normal
SmartEtailing: Omni-Channel Retailing for Ski and Board Shops
The Ski Industry is Built by Leaders. Nominate Yours Now
EWSRA Establishes Rep and Retail Relief Fund for Victims of Hurricane Sandy

Slow Start, Situation Normal

NSSRA's recent unscientific survey of a few shops around the country affirms that for specialty retailers the season is starting out slowly. No great news there. While last season was a bust by just about every measure, it did start out strong because of the robust 2010-11 season. Shops that we spoke with are finding that their early season numbers are lagging behind last year's numbers.


If history tells us anything, it's that a fast start follows a strong snow season and a slow start follows a poor snow season. Add to that wisdom the fact that last season wasn't just bad, it was the worst snow season since the beginning of...snow. In addition to that, add in that it's an election year, hurricane Sandy, a Nor'easter and we've got ourselves the perfect storm for a slower than normal start.


If you're looking for a reasonable benchmark it sounds like an average of the last three years is a good place to start. Somewhere within spitting distance of that area is where most shops seem to be finding themselves.


The recent SIA RetailTRAK by Leisure Trends report on August through September sales reports a 2% increase in snowsports dollars and a 1% increase in units. That's the good news. The bad news is the specialty channel showed a decrease in all merchandise categories; 3% in equipment sales, 2% in clothing and 7% in accessories. Meanwhile the Internet channel showed an 18% increase in equipment sales, 6% increase in clothing and a whopping 17% increase in accessories!


I'm not a research guy, but it appears that the Internet channel was able to take better advantage of vendor closeouts last year and was able to find enough value priced inventory to fuel the channel's strong start to the season. So is this a good thing or a bad thing? The answer is...yes.


It's good for vendors to clear out warehouses (and get paid for it!). It's good for consumers to get great deals on last year's merchandise. It's good for resorts because motivated consumers play in the snow. For specialty retailers who continue to hear how highly they're valued by the industry, it's another kick in the gut. The snowsports industry's buy-cycle is 60 years old and the world has changed!


A one-turn industry works when there is an abundance of margin, but in our industry that's not the case. For the snowsports industry, a single inventory turn is unsustainable. And it's unsustainable for both vendors and retailers. Wishing it was different and hoping for more ________ (fill in the blank) isn't working anymore. It is time for change.


Hopefully by the time this missive finds its way to you your weather has turned for the better, and local areas and resorts have either gotten snow or cold enough temps to make their own.


-- Brad


SmartEtailing: Omni-Channel Retailing

For Ski and Board Shops

It's probably no surprise to you that consumers like shopping online but here's something that may surprise you: When it comes to shopping, consumers have stopped thinking about the Internet.


The reality is that consumers no longer think "I'm going online." Instead, being online is now such a regular part of their daily lives, at home and work, that they take it completely for granted. Like it or not, we have all come to expect Internet connectivity to be everywhere, all the time. It's omnipresent.


And when it comes to shopping, the term "omni-channel retailing" is what's being used to describe how brands (both vendor and retail) are expected to be easily and always accessible. It's the best way to maintain relevance with today's consumers.


In a recent newsletter we mentioned SmartEtailing, a company that has been helping specialty bike retailers create a web presence for their stores. SmartEtailing has recently joined both NSSRA and SIA and is contacting key snowsports vendors to explain how its services can help specialty brands make it easier for specialty retailers to create ecommerce sites.


NSSRA is excited to have SmartEtailing involved in our organization. The company's goals are well aligned with those of our members: SmartEtailing's mission is to help specialty retailers thrive through technology and services that leverage their local strengths, and provide consumers with a richer experience than national chains and large online operations.


When NSSRA asked SmartEtailing's co-founder, Mark Graff, to summarize the key points his firm wants all vendors to know, here's what he said:


"Product vendors depend on specialty retailers for professional product presentations, comprehensive product selection, local experience and relationships, and service and warranty support for their products. The typical specialty retailer excels at the hands-on support that makes them special but does not have the time and financial resources to create ecommerce sites that compete against the more robust ecommerce platforms in the snowsports industry. SmartEtailing provides vendors with a unique and economical way to help specialty retailers do more business with their brands." invites snowsports vendors to contact it to learn more about the company's plans for helping specialty retailers in our industry.


Coming soon: A look at what leading vendors in the bicycle business are doing with SmartEtailing to leverage the power of hundreds of local specialty retailers as the focal point of each firm's strategy for online sales.


The Ski Industry Is Built by Leaders;

Nominate Yours Now

The industry thrives because of exceptional shops and the people who support them. That's why Skiing Business is recognizing outstanding retailers, sales reps, shop employees and, new this year, the most supportive brand with national awards.


Nominations for the categories listed below are open through Nov. 27, and winners will be announced at the Skiing Business Industry Awards party during the SIA Show in Denver on Thursday, Jan. 31.


Spread the word. The more overall votes, the better. Submit your nominations now at


Retail Categories: Best in-shop merchandising: softgoods; Best in-shop merchandising: hardgoods; Best in-shop merchandising: accessories; Most knowledgeable staff; Best vibe; Most innovative; Best women's engagement; Best backshop: ski tuning; Best backshop: bootfitting; Best family shop; and Best digital services.


Sales Rep Categories: Best accessibility; Best presentation; and Best shop knowledge.


Brand Category: Best dealer services.


Shop Hero: Best overall shop employee


EWSRA Establishes Rep and Retail Relief Fund for Victims of Hurricane Sandy

The Eastern Winter Sports Reps Association (EWSRA) has established a fund through the organization Waves for Water to help colleagues who were severely affected by Hurricane Sandy in the Mid-Atlantic. Many association members, their families, and the retail accounts that they serve, were wiped out from Hurricane Sandy, losing their homes and businesses in New York and New Jersey.


Kerry O'Flaherty, a member of EWSRA who lives in Rockville Center, N.Y., is spearheading the fundraising effort along with the EWSRA office. One hundred percent of the funds generated will go to snow, outdoor, surf, skate and bike shops, reps and their families to help them rebuild. Donations can be made at






The NSSRA Annual Meeting will be held at 1:00 PM on the first day of the SIA Snow Show, immediately following the NSSRA Board of Directors meeting, and will adjourn no later than 2:00 PM. The exact room number will be announced in an upcoming NSSRA newsletter, but please note the change from the traditional meeting date and time.

NSSRA Thanks Our Supporting Members

3M Trade Show Management Services

Aegis Insurance Markets

Alpina Sports

Amer Sports

Boa Technology, Inc.

Dalbello Sports

Descente North America, Inc.

Dryguy, LLC

Dynacraft BSC, Inc.


Fischer Skis US

Horizon Agency, Inc.

Hotronic USA, Inc.

K2 Sports

Leisure Trends Group

M. Miller Luxury Outerwear

Marker-Volkl USA

Newberry Knitting

Nils, Inc.

Nordica USA



SmartEtailing (New)

Smith Optics

Snowsports Industries America (SIA)

Tecnica Group USA

Turtle Fur Group


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