Feb 8, 2012
Author: Brian Peech
Ask most folks ridin' the bus on a Monday morning how they're feeling and you'll likely get responses ranging from lacklustre, flat or completely dread soaked. But on this first Monday of February, 2012, if you were lucky to be up at Big White resort and working in our industry, you were blessed with bluebird skies, springtime temperatures, and more than 200 new and exciting products to try.
Never mind the hangover from Sunday night's debauchery at the Burton house, somehow under the great big sun, we got to try some new whips, exchange stories and share more than a few belly laughs. It was a weekday like any other weekend for us. Here's a quick recap for all you suckers who couldn't make it.
There be snow up in them there hills. Big White Resort, Demo Days 2012.
Jeff Martino, Face Shots / Burton
Hey, its Liam McCarthy from Pacific Boarder and Jeff Martino from Face Shots. You guys got the memo, right?
OK Jeff, how would you say the turnout's been this year?
Definitely the busiest demo I’ve seen up here. And we were rockin’ busy, which is definitely a good sign. Great testing weather, bluebird and groomed snow, so people don’t just steal our powder boards and disappear all day. Don't laugh 'cause that happens.
Why do you guys make the trip up here?
It’s important to get people on our product, how you do that, there are lots of creative ways, but something like this, where everybody is here is ideal. Sometimes we do this in Vancouver, but nobody shows up. They’re just like, Ah, I don’t really care. Because this is a destination, and guaranteed good times, people come out.
How was the shop turnout this year?
Well considering every single one of them was in my cabin last night, it was pretty awesome. The party we didn’t have became the party we did when all our dealers showed up.
Burton house, seconds before 60-plus raging dealers and reps crashed it.
"People are looking for niche things, but they want guaranteed winners. They haven’t figured out you can’t necessarily have it all." —Jeff Martino, Face Shots.
What’s trending right now?
Dirty people who like heavy metal? No, but seriously, people are looking for niche things, but they want guaranteed winners. They haven’t figured out you can’t necessarily have it all. Rocker is going to continue to be a trend, whether it makes sense or not. But I do think you’ll see more people buying hybrids this year.
How does this compare to the other demos?
Well, it’s private, for one. Just for the shops. It’s good that this one is for the dealers. Out East, like in Vermont, they have these massive on-snows and the whole world shows up and they’re like eight days long. This is just more intimate, and easier to get to know the shops and them to know the product. I was told there were just like 13 or 14 dealers coming to this thing just last week, and apparently another 40 or so showed up.
Take your pick and let 'er rip.
Dylan Maas, Dinosaurs Will Die and Dave Birnie, Timebomb Trading
Smile and wave, Dylan and Dave.
Dylan Maas, Dinosaurs Will Die
Coming from a relatively new brand on the market, how important is it to be out here?
Well, this is our third year being here, and as a new brand it’s super important for us to be out here. It actually gives everyone a chance to ride our stuff. I mean, if you don’t know what you’re selling, how can you sell it?
"We don’t sell snowboards to be cool; we sell snowboards to have fun." —Dylan Maas, Dinosaurs Will Die
So, we all know it's good to be here, but what could be better?
I think more shops should come out from the East, like the prairies should come. Not many of them come out, really. And I think they’re missing out on this opportunity.
How is this different than a tradeshow?
I think this is a time you get to hang out with everyone and not have to deal with all tradeshow stuff. Everyone’s on the same playing field, just having a good time, building relationships with different shops in different towns. There’s a reason we all do this. We don’t sell snowboards to be cool; we sell snowboards to have fun.
David Birnie, Timebomb Trading
What’s been fun this time around?
Nitro’s Hotwing, Sub Zero board, Forum’s Honeypot, Capita’s Defenders of Awesome, Dinosaurs will Die Genovese, 54 Flat Kick.
Whoa, you've tried a lot of boards. It's only noon.
Yep, I don’t just stand around buying drinks all day.
What are some of the trends you’re seeing this year?
The industry likes black. And vests are really hot right now. The general consumer seems to be as colour blind and style blind as always—a lot of plaid and striped combos.
"If you really care about how your shop is being portrayed in the industry and what you sell, you’re kinda dumb not to be out here trying what you’re selling." —Dave Birnie, Timebomb Trading
Any new technology you’ve tried out.
Naw, haven’t tried any of that, yet. Want to try some of those Now bindings but haven’t had a chance yet.
How important is it for retailers to be out here?
If you really care about how your shop is being portrayed in the industry and what you sell, you’re kinda dumb not to be out here trying what you’re selling.
This place was jumpin' all day.
Bluebird at Big White. Perfect conditions for demo'ing. And pretty much everything else, for that matter.
C3's Tony Lefroy had a lot of Capita boards up the hill being tested when we ran into him. He seems happy about that.
With a quiver of about 60 boards, the Burton boys were setting up and tearing down non-stop. Smiles all around for Ariel Erez and Mike Cerka, though. Was it the sunshine, and not having to wear oven mitts between set ups? Or thoughts of what Scott Herbert did last night? Either way, on a day like this, who wouldn't be stoked?
Location, location, location, right off the highway...
Brad Cashman and Ben Couves manning the Step Child booth. Brad's board looks way better without bindings, and both these dudes looked all-star come hockey time, but for once can Couves play in a game where he can let loose?
Garett Halayko, Forum Snowboards
Forum's Garett Halayko spreading the knowledge before a few turns. Gary knows his stuff and is happy to share.
What’s exciting product-wise these days?
People are starting to come around again with cambered snowboards. I definitely see the benefits of rocker, but it seems like everybody’s going back to camber, and starting to ride real snowboards again. There’s a lot of stuff now that’s a combination of camber and rocker. That’s kind of been our strongest point, especially with the Destroyers and the Double Dog. But yeah, the stuff that people have been wanting to try is the cambered stuff, like the Kitchen Sink.
"People are starting to come around again with cambered snowboards...and starting to ride real snowboards again" —Garett Halayko, Forum snowboards
How’s the après been this year, Garrett?
Always too much fun. Tacos and hot tubs. Then we went down to watch the hockey game. It’s a yearly tradition, lots of fun, but they turn off the lights too early. They shut ’er down way too quick for us.
The annual pond hockey game just getting started. By the time the lights went out, skaters of all skill levels were out there, thanks in part to the free rentals, and maybe a few nips of the Fire Ball. Even Tom Kato was out there, not letting not knowing how to stop stop him. Wait, does that make sense?
Speaking of Fire Ball, when's Martino going to toss the Roman candle into the fire pit?
This isn't the most revealing photo of Scott Herbert from the trip, but at least he can show this one to his kids some day.
"I rode with guys who’d already tried like six boards today alone. That’s amazing. Usually it’s, like, two." —Scott Herbert, Face Shots.
And as the sun sets slowly in the West, we bid you farewell from Big White. A great time was had by all, except maybe the hot tub cleaner guy. Be sure to catch it all next year. Guaranteed you won't be disapointed.