National Ski & Snowboard

Retailers Association

Member Update
January 2, 2013

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
Chairman's Letter: Last Year's Tough Season Keeps Getting Worse
NSSRA Helping Grow the Industry
Sturtevants Ownership Changes
Your NSSRA Membership Gives You Access to Employee Benefits Program Through NSGA
Is Now the Time To Talk About Binding Certifications?
Six Reasons To Use PartnerShip for Every LTL Shipment


NSSRA Annual



New Date,

New Time

Join us at the NSSRA Annual Meeting, which will take place from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 31, the first day of the SIA Show in Denver, in the Colorado Convention Center. We will be meeting in Room 203, located on the Street Level.  Enter the time and place in your planner and be part of the conversation on the issues important to our success in the snowsports industry. If you are unable to attend the Annual Meeting, please stop by and visit us at Booth 4206, across from Dalbello.


 Chairman's Letter: Last Year's Tough Season Keeps Getting Worse

The first half of the 2012/13 season has been tough.      


Most retailers and vendors knew that on the heels of last year's poor season, this season would likely start slow. But, being the optimists we all are, most of us thought that given a somewhat normal weather year and an improving economy, the season would eventually gain momentum and get going.


Instead, what we got was a number of events that have slowed retail in general and snowsports in particular: Months of election rhetoric that told the country how bad things are, the storms in the east, the tragic shootings, the fiscal cliff and lack of early snow in some parts of the country. Many retailers have had a slower start to the 2012/13 season than even their conservative planning anticipated.


What's different about the start of this season, though, is that the snowsports business mirrored a slow holiday season across many different retail categories. This season's slow start was by no means unique to snowsports. As this is being written, general retail holiday sales reports are being issued and they are not good. So, while many of us are working our tails off trying to hit some reasonable numbers, at least there is some comfort in knowing that snowsports isn't alone.


The next question is what are we going to do about it? Here are some thoughts to chew on:

  • In the history of snowsports, there has never been as much competition for our customer's discretionary time and money. Continuing to do what we're already doing is going to get us more of what we've already got. Flat participation numbers. We need to consider new strategies to attract participants. Revolutionary change is exciting and always attracts new participants. Evolutionary change of existing products, services or sports is ho-hum. Consider the effects of revolutionary changes like the introduction of snowboarding, the iPod or smart phones; they resulted in explosive growth and excitement for their categories.  Every member of the snowsports community should consider how to become their own toughest competitors by reinventing how we do what we all do.  If our stores, areas and products are innovative and new, then new participants will find us.
  • In a completely unscientific survey of retailers from around the country, the word on the street is that the amount of new equipment being carried in for service is significantly greater this year than in years past.  Arguably, all these sales have come out of the hides of the specialty retailers, in a year when none of us could afford it. We all know that vendors, like retailers, need to clear inventory at the end of the season (because of an outdated buy-cycle, but that's another topic). So what's a vendor to do? First, stop telling the specialty retail community how important they are while at the same time dumping inventory to the ecommerce channel. That goes over about as well as fingernails on a blackboard. Second, ditch the internet 1.0 solution of dumping inventory to any ecommerce retailer with a checkbook and adopt liquidation strategies that support the specialty community. Take orders through your own website but deliver through your dealers. These solutions protect your brand, support your specialty dealers and serve the consumers' desire to shop online. The brands that do this correctly will be the new leaders of snowsports.

Babe Ruth said "yesterday's home runs don't win today's game." Nothing could be truer about snowsports. It's time for the snowsports industry to stop talking about how great things used to be. It's time for each and every one of us to re-kindle the fire that got us all into this business. And it's time to develop the strategies that will allow us to compete in today's world.


Good luck in 2013.


--Brad Nelson, NSSRA Chairman 

2012 in Review:

NSSRA Helping Grow the Industry

In 2012, NSSRA participated in industry-wide talks about how to grow our industry through increased participation. While the presence of snow - or lack thereof - plays a critical role in year-to-year participation levels as well as retail sales, there are some things we as an Association and you as members can do.


For example, NSSRA is a co-sponsor of Learn To Ski & Snowboard Month, a successful consumer outreach program that runs nationwide this month.


As an NSSRA member, you can access the LSSM website ( and use its online marketing tools to attract new customers and bring new participants into snowsports.


This year, the Bring A Friend Challenge has been added to motivate your customers to bring someone new into skiing or boarding. Great prizes are available to those who sign up on the BAF website,


As part of Bring A Friend, NSSRA created and distributed to retail members a customizable document that can be posted at your check-out, on the front door, or near the repair shop. It can also be used as a bag stuffer. If you did not receive this promotional packet, please let NSSRA President Larry Weindruch know, and he'll re-send it. His email is


The biennial NSSRA Cost of Doing Business Survey will be distributed to all members in late January. This year's report boasts the largest NSSRA participation ever, with nearly 50 members taking part. We thank everyone who submitted information.


Sturtevants Ownership Changes

The Idaho Mountain Express and Guide reported that after 30 years of guidance under Rob Santa, Sturtevants Mountain Outfitters has new owners -- store manager Olin Glenne and long-time seasonal valley resident Ben Jacobson.


During his tenure as owner, Santa served on the NSSRA Board of Directors.


For the complete article, Click here. 


Your NSSRA Membership Gives You Access 

To Employee Benefits Through NSGA

Why do employers like you offer employee benefits?  The most direct answer is to attract and retain the best and brightest employees over the long haul, and hopefully prevent the competition down the street from hiring them away from you.


These health, income protection, savings, and retirement programs, which supplement the salary you pay, provide security for employees and their families.


One strategic approach is to supplement whatever your health plan offering is with additional benefits that can provide financial protection and coverage, while positioning you as an employer of choice. You can convey the message that regardless of what your company's health plan offering is, you still care about the financial wellbeing of your employees and are providing protection against catastrophic illness or injuries.


As an NSSRA member, you have access to the NSGA Employee Benefits Suite, which affords you an opportunity to offer employees a comprehensive benefits package that maximizes the buying power of a much larger group.


The benefits offered include:

  • A catastrophic illness plan
  • An accident plan
  • A group indemnity medical plan
  • A dental plan
  • A vision plan

These coverages can be offered on a completely voluntary basis and include provisions that are generally not open to most employers, such as guarantee issue with no medical questions.  In addition, you will have access to a state-of-the-art enrollment system that becomes a key component in your communication efforts to maintain a sense of loyalty in your employees.  


For more information, please visit or call David Wierkiewicz at 262-780-3482.


Is Now the Time

To Talk About Binding Certifications?

A number of NSSRA members have contacted me in recent months with a similar question. They ask, "Is there something you can do about all the different binding certifications needed for our technicians?"


One New England retailer related how his small shop, with three technicians, must pay a fee per tech for each of three or four different binding brands he carries, despite the fact that some of those brands are made in the same factory by the same company.


He reasoned that if NSSRA was able to compile and publish the Combined Indemnified Bindings List -- simplifying that process for retailers -- perhaps the Association can also work with the binding manufacturers to come up with a simplified method of certification that meets each company's requirements.


So we are asking for your feedback. To be viewed by your vendors as more than just complaints about an issue, your participation in a dialogue with binding manufacturers is required. Please let us know how the current binding technician certification process affects your business. Tell us which binding brands you carry and how many technicians you certify each season.


Send your email to


-- Larry Weindruch, NSSRA President


Six Reasons To Use PartnerShip

For Every LTL Freight Shipment

As a member of NSSRA, you have access to a number of value-added services, including the NSSRA Shipping Program managed by PartnerShip. This program includes an exclusive money-saving benefit on less-than-truckload (LTL) freight services. Here's why you should use PartnerShip for every LTL freight shipment you send and receive:

  1. Save at least 70% on every LTL freight shipment arranged through PartnerShip.
  2. Savings with the country's most reputable carriers, including UPS Freight, YRC Freight, Con-way Freight, and many regional carriers.
  3. Access to a dedicated account representative for all of your questions and concerns - a shipping expert on your side.
  4. Consolidated, weekly invoices from PartnerShip, saving you administrative time usually spent auditing and paying invoices to multiple carriers directly.
  5. Access to our 24/7 online LTL freight management tools at, where you can manage your inbound shipping, compare rates, view transit times, track shipments, and pay invoices.
  6. And best of all, the NSSRA Shipping Program directly supports your association!

Visit to request a FREE, no obligation shipping analysis, and see your savings first-hand.


To learn more, click the Free Shipping Analysis link above; call your dedicated account representative at 800-599-2902; or email us at


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

Leatherman Tool

Group, Inc.

Leisure Trends Group

Marker-Volkl USA

Newberry Knitting

Nils, Inc.

Nordica USA


Polartec, LLC


Smart Etailing

Smith Optics

Snowsports Industries America (SIA)

Sports Accessories/America (SAA)

Tecnica Group USA

Turtle Fur Group



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