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Snowsports Industries America

Biz briefs: SIA earlier, travel booms, lessons double & more

SIA more than set the clocks ahead, announcing after a special meeting of its board of directors that in 2013 the Snow Show will open on Jan. 12, a jump of two weeks. In other business news, mountain travel is closing strong, learn to ski numbers doubled, and the U.S. Forest Service has restored Telluride's backcountry access.

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The SIA Snow Show will hit Denver two weeks earlier in 2013 according to an e-mail that SnowSports Industries America sent to members on March 17, 2011. SIA decided to make the change following a special SIA Board of Directors meeting held on March 16, 2011, and explains that the move is being made to address earlier ordering cycles, and to make the Snow Show, “THE national preview show for winter sporting goods products, once again.”

“Changes in the winter sports industry show schedule and the increase in early private presentations have called into question the current show dates in late January to meet this objective,” SIA stated in the e-mail. “This reality, combined with the fact that ISPO–the international sporting goods show hosted annually in Munich, Germany–announced overlapping dates with the SIA Snow Show starting in 2012, prompted the SIA Board of Directors to convene a series of meetings and conduct research over the past several months.”

The 2012 Show will be held from January 26 to 29, but the 2013 Show will be held from January 12 to 15, and the 2014 Show will start a day earlier than that, on January 11. The e-mail stated, “We will be working with buying groups, regional rep associations and retailer associations to make this transition as smooth as possible.” More on this as information becomes available at

Mountain travel numbers roar into March

For the sixth consecutive month, actual occupancy at western mountain destinations was up. According to the most recent report released by the Mountain Travel Research Program (MTRiP), occupancy was up 1.2 percent compared to February 2010 and overall results for the past six months (September through February) are up 7.3 percent compared to the same time period last year. Daily rates remained essentially flat–down 0.2 percent for February and 0.3 percent for the past six months.

March data showed on-the-books occupancy up 12.2 percent compared to the same time last year as well as a 4.9 percent uptick in average daily rate for the month of March. “Good early snow and a stabilizing economy brought strong momentum to the start of this winter season,” said Ralf Garrison, director of MTRiP. “However, that momentum decreased through February, but we expect a very strong March that should compensate for what looks to be a weak April.”

Learn to Ski lessons double to 60,000 nationwide

Organizers of Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (LSSM) 2011 estimate that ski areas nationwide provided more than 60,000 lessons this January. The results are based on a preliminary survey of participating resorts and resort association partners, and represent a 100 percent increase over the 2010 effort.

“And we think 60,000 is a conservative number,” LSSM director Mary Jo Tarallo told SNEWS. “But we wanted to give people an indication at this point of how we did.” Tarallo said a full report will be presented at the National Ski Areas Association Convention in May, where “the final number could be higher than that.”

Forest Service reopens Telluride backcountry access

The U.S. Forest Service has decided to establish a backcountry access point on Palmyra Peak at the Telluride Ski Area, according to a press release. The access point, which allows backcountry skiers public access to Bear Creek, had been shut down earlier this season as the result of trespassing complaints from private landowners at the base of the backcountry terrain.

“Schutza’s decision is the result of partnering with the Telluride Mountain Club (TMC) who provided ideas that would restore public access, while reducing the potential for trespass across private lands within Upper Bear Creek. In addition, TMC will assist with public education and information about legal routes and access to terrain that doesn’t affect private land,” the release stated. According to Schutza, “This decision restores reasonable public access to Alta Lakes Basin, Lena Basin, Bear Creek and also provides for future discussions and exploration of ski access issues with local government and interested publics before the next ski season.”

–Peter Kray

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