Snowbound Festival, the inaugural pair of consumer trade shows from Snowsports Industries America (SIA), will have to wait another year before making their long-anticipated debut. This week, SIA announced that the shows—originally scheduled for Nov. 5-7 in Denver and Nov. 19-21 in Boston—have been postponed 2022 because of the resurgence of Covid cases around the country.
“The health and safety of our attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, guests, and staff is always our number-one priority,” SIA President Nick Sargent wrote in an email Wednesday afternoon. “As a result of the current growth of new Covid cases and the ongoing public health impact of the virus, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the 2021 Snowbound Festivals in Denver and Boston until November 2022.”
Sargent went on to say that over the last year, the Snowbound team has worked hard to stage the festivals as planned. “We all believed that we were nearing the end of the pandemic,” he wrote in this week’s postponement announcement. “In reviewing the latest public health guidelines and the most recent health and safety protocols, we felt that even with mask mandates and proof of vaccine or a negative Covid test requirement, we could not guarantee a completely risk-free environment for winter enthusiasts of all ages.”
Brands that had booked booth space or sponsorships for this year will have the opportunity to transfer funds to reserve booth space at the 2022 Snowbound Festivals, put funds towards digital initiatives on snowboundfest.com, or receive a full refund, according to show organizers.
SIA said it’s planning to offer a virtual experience in place of the in-person events.
“We look forward to creating exciting new experiences that bring the winter industry and consumers together, both in-person and online,” Sargent wrote. “While we cannot move forward with the physical Snowbound Festivals this year, please stay tuned for some exciting new virtual developments, unique experiences, and all new content that will help keep the stoke alive all year long on snowboundfest.com.”
This is the second postponement for the B2C shows because of the pandemic. Last summer, around the time it named Brian Stephenson as Snowbound Festivals director, SIA announced that the 2020 debuts wouldn’t happen due to Covid.
In March, Stephenson told Outside Business Journal that everything was “trending in the right direction,” and he was optimistic—as were most people—that shows scheduled for the following winter, including Snowbound, would take place as planned. The last few months, unfortunately, turned those trends upside down as hospitalizations and mask mandates increased.
If and when the shows do happen, the dual Snowbound Festivals will be a reimagined version of the former Boston and Denver Ski and Snowboard Expos that were run by BEWI Productions Inc. for years before SIA acquired them in November 2019.
“These shows are going to be unlike anything that we’ve done in the past in Boston or Denver when it was run by BEWI,” Stephenson said in March. “We’re going to celebrate the past and the legacy they’ve created with those shows for 20-plus years, but we’re showcasing the future of the winter lifestyle and where the snowsports industry is going. We’re going to deliver a completely reimagined experience that is authentic through and through on all levels.”
Another large-scale outdoor trade event scheduled for this winter—the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show, staging Jan. 26-28 at Colorado Convention Center in Denver—is proceeding full steam ahead. According to OR’s website, that show will still take place as scheduled.