National Ski & Snowboard Retailers Association                                            January 16, 2015
Ski Lift

Chairman's Letter:

Saying Goodbye as Chairman, but not Farewell

This is the last Chairman's Letter I will write as Chairman of NSSRA. My term ends at this year's NSSRA annual meeting. I am stepping back to assume a position on the NSSRA board under the leadership of our new chairman who will be introduced at the annual NSSRA meeting in Denver on January 29.


It has been an honor to serve as Chairman of NSSRA. Many of the relationships I've made with other retailers, vendors and persons in the industry were a result of the time I've spent on the Board. Being a member of a trade organization is a great way to expand your contact base and learn from other retailers. If you're interested in developing new relationships with other retailers I would highly recommend serving on the NSSRA board -- we all can benefit from new ideas and fresh perspectives.



First, growing Snowsports is the most critical issue our industry faces. Through NSSRA's relationship with the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), I've learned that the lack of new participants in Snowsports is not something that is unique to our industry. It is a cultural issue that many sports and activities are facing. Many of these industries are taking aggressive steps to attract new participants, which makes it imperative that we step up our game and work even harder to attract new skiers and riders.


I think that for our industry to move the needle in attracting new participants the stakeholders in the Snowsports industry need to adopt a new paradigm. Instead of focusing all of our energy on selling "stuff," we each need to devote some amount of our resources (time and money) to attracting new participants. We stay in business by selling the things we sell but we'll continue in business by attracting new participants.


Accordingly, our industry's trade associations, NSSRA, SIA and NSAA need to work even harder to develop the resources and programs that can be used to help their members bring in new participants. Investing in growing our sport is investing in the future of our own businesses.


Secondly, business in general is tougher today. The Snowsports industry is no exception. A question I have about our industry -- and in fact my business -- is this: as we have all become more focused on the business of our businesses, have we overlooked what this business is really about -- fun and excitement for the people we serve?


For example, my store sells clothing and gear but is it "fun" to come to my store? We all have to go to rep shows, buying group shows and/or the SIA show but are they fun? Or exciting? The bigger question is: if our industry and all the businesses in it focused on fun as much as it focuses on efficiencies, what would it mean for our employees and staff and how might that affect the customers they serve?


What would it mean for the issue of succession and the "graying" of Snowsports retail businesses? What would it mean for attendance at trade shows? An even bigger question is, as our industry has turned inward to become more "efficient," has this focus on terms, discounts, show dates and efficiencies sucked some of the fun out of our businesses? Might it be, in some small way, a little bit responsible for some of the lack of growth we struggle with today?


It's easy to ask questions, tough to answer them. I'll leave that to the next chairman to deal with.


We are all blessed to be able to work in an industry that does sell fun and adventure, and as long as we never forget that, I think we'll be in good shape.


-- Brad Nelson

You're Invited To Attend the NSSRA Annual Membership Meeting

January 29 at the SIA Snow Show

The annual meeting of the National Ski & Snowboard Retailers Association will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 29, in Room 102 during the SIA Snow Show at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.


All specialty snowsports retailers are invited to attend, whether or not you are an NSSRA member. Last year, more than 100 retailers and industry members attended. Members of the NSSRA Board of Directors will report on activities and accomplishments of the past year as well as initiatives for the future.


Also, we invite you to stop by NSSRA's booth at the show. We are located in Booth #4219 in the ski hardgoods section of the show.

SIA Presents All-Day Education Event Wednesday, January 28

SIA's INDUSTRY + INTELLIGENCE daylong educational event, Wednesday, January 28, is an opportunity to gain insight into the latest trends, consumer behavior, retail data, design/production, digital marketing, social media, and customer connection.


It also will include two keynote speakers; top ranked US adaptive snowboarder, three-time World Cup Para-Snowboard winner and 2014 Paralympic Bronze Medalist, Amy Purdy, presenting The Power of Imagination, as well as author/motivational speaker, Brad Montgomery, who will present Happiness Improves Bottom Line Performance during a lunchtime keynote (lunch is provided).


The seminar schedule begins with Category Research Seminars presented by SIA's Director of Research, Kelly Davis, who will also share the initial results of the Downhill Consumer Intelligence Project (DCIP), a groundbreaking new view into snow sports consumer behavior that will enhance participants' understanding of the market and help them make decisions for the season and beyond.


The detailed list of INDUSTRY + INTELLIGENCE breakout sessions includes seminars on increasing sales, connecting with customers, strategic use of social media, product development and more. Highlights include the Wealthy Retailerseries, which offers a free assessment at the beginning of the day and then guide retailers through various tracks that will help them improve their bottom lines and decision making; the Birds and the Bees of Production series will give production professionals strategies for brand creation and product design; and Growing Snow Sports -- Attracting Today's Time-Starved Consumer and How Do We Increase Sales will feature SIA President David Ingemie joined by industry leaders from the retailer, rep, resort and supplier communities. They will host a panel representing all four areas of the industry to discuss the current climate of our market and how to best prepare for the years ahead.


Additional information and updates can be found at the INDUSTRY + INTELLIGENCE section of the Snow Show website at SIAsnowshow.com/jan28.Follow SIA on Facebook and join the conversation about INDUSTRY + INTELLIGENCE on Twitter using #SIA15intel.

You Are Invited to Workshop for Learn To Ski and Bring A Friend

This first-ever event will share information on how these programs can help you create new customers. It will be held Friday, January 30, at 9:00 AM in Room 301 of the Colorado Convention Center.


In this session, attendees will learn:

  • How LSS(M)/Bring a Friend partners have attracted more than a half million newcomers to skiing and snowboarding.
  • What free resources are available to YOU in your own efforts to create new customers.
  • Tips that work / Planning for 2016.
  • Ways to collaborate with resorts in YOUR community.
  • Examples of Best Practices.

NSSRA is a co-sponsor of Bring-A-Friend and encourages you to attend.

2014-15 Combined Indemnified Bindings List 
Has Been Sent to NSSRA Members
The Combined Indemnified Bindings List is available at no cost to all NSSRA members. If you are a member and haven't received the list, please contact NSSRA President Larry Weindruch,  lweindruch@nssra.com.

If you are not an NSSRA member, we invite you to join so that you have full access to all of the exclusive member services and benefits, including the bindings list. A downloadable membership application can be found at the NSSRA website, www.nssra.com. Please direct any questions to Larry, lweindruch@nssra.com.

Apex Sports Group, LLC

Boa Technology, Inc.

Comfort Zone Apparel

Cross Insurance

Dalbello Sports

Dryguy, LLC

Fischer Skis US

Head, USA

Horizon Agency, Inc.

Hotronic USA, Inc.

Leisure Trends Group

Leki USA, Inc.

Marker-Volkl USA

National Ski Areas Association (NSAA)

Nils, Inc.

Nordica USA




Smith Optics

Snowsports Industries America (SIA)

Sports, Inc.

Tecnica Group USA

Turtle Fur Group

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1601 Feehanville Drive, #300, Mount Prospect, IL 60056
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