Consumer Shows Reveal Upbeat Mood

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SAM Magazine-Los Angeles, Dec. 11, 2011-The L.A. Ski Dazzle wrapped up a successful season for the nation's consumer ski and snowboard shows. The event drew 90,000 Dec. 1-4. Once La Nina kicks in and starts to deliver snow and colder temperatures across the U.S., resorts, too, should see evidence of pent-up demand.

The Ski Dazzle was "above average," according to co-organizer Judy Gray. Retailers sold between $4 million and $6 million of equipment, apparel and accessories during the four-day event. The organizers' Sacramento show drew an "average attendance" a few weeks earlier in November, Gray said.

Also in November, the Boston and Denver Ski & Snowboard Expos produced by BEWI Productions saw record or near-record attendance. The Boston show drew about 45,000 visitors, an increase of 10 percent, bolstered by record attendance on the opening Friday, thanks to it also being the Veteran's Day holiday. The show's retailers recorded strong sales; they ran out of product on Saturday and scrambled to restock for the final day. The Denver show in early November drew 28,000, up 18 percent, as good weather contrasted with difficult travel conditions the prior year.

BEWI produces a show at Minneapolis' Mall of America, and reported that resorts were very happy with the levels of traffic. The exhibits brought out the usual wintersports crowd and attracted many non-participants as well.

For next year, Ski Dazzle plans to begin a push into Texas. It will inaugurate a consumer show in Dallas, with Austin and Houston shows as well in 2013. Ski Dazzle abandoned its Chicago show this year, after 10 seasons, as the local market never recovered from 9/11 and the economic downturns in 2001-2 and 2007-09.