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Snowsports Industries America

Q & A with SIA President Nick Sargent

We talk data, Demo Days, Denver, and his favorite all-time place to ski.

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With just days before the first ever Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show event, we talked with Nick Sargent, President of Snowsports Industries America (SIA) about what he’s most excited about, what to expect from demo days, and why research is a vital part of his organization.

Research is important to SIA. Tell us about your data gathering process, and how you hope your members will use the data you publish?

We have a panel of winter sport enthusiasts from across the country, including industry professionals, retail owners, ski schools, resorts, and more, which we poll to get a lot of our data. We cover issues with retail, products, consumers, weather, climate, and a number of other aspects.

The data is helps benefit your business. The more people using the data, the better understanding of the business. For a person using the data, they’re able to fine tune their own business for their successes and make the decisions they need to make to drive their business forward. Whether it’s consumer buying behavior or sales strategy, you use it to justify your business strategy and hone that strategy, or take a couple degrees left or right to adjust your business.

What are you most excited about around the new OR + SS combined format?

I’m just excited that we have the entire north American outdoor community under one roof. When you break down what exactly is outdoor, its everything from camping and outdoor product to winter to ice to snow. It’s going to be fun to see all these categories together that have been isolated for decades in our own category. It’ll be interesting to see what the outdoor business in totality looks like. It’s a chance to see old friends and meet new ones. I think people will walk away from it with a lot of interesting thoughts and maybe concerns, but also truly having an Experience of what outdoor really has to offer.

Nick Sargent SIA
Get a glimpse at the deep data that SIA gathers.Courtesy

How do you feel about having the show in Denver?

SIA helped pioneer the trade show business in Denver. Snow Show was in Vegas for 30 plus years before we moved to Denver. SIA and Snow Show had a wonderful relationship with Denver for the last decade, and I’m super excited. Knowing what the other cities were, Denver was the obvious choice. It’s the brightest city and state with a governor who really supports the outdoor industry. Denver has all the amenities – lots of fun spots, an easy train from the airport to Union Station, it’s convenient and easy to get around, and it’s a cool and vibrant city.

Having the Demo after the show will be a big change for OR-goers. Is the SIA on-Snow Demo more of just a day of play after the show, or does real business get done at the demo?

It’s a departure for the Outdoor Retailer squad, but it’s been status quo for the winter group. You go to the show, see the goods, and hone in on what you’re potential buying. Then you go to the demo to try the products. It’s still all business. We’ll see upward of one thousand buyers. The snow show has historically attracted a global audience, and it’s the only pure outdoor winter demo that allows competitive companies to try other products.

Quick, don’t think: what’s your favorite all-time resort trail?

Nosedive at Stowe – it’s one of the most difficult trails but one of the most fun as well.

What the best ski movie you’ve seen this year?

I’ll still say Hot Dog…The Movie. ­It’s an iconic movie. It really embodies what the ski bum lifestyle was and why my generation got into the ski industry.