SIA Day Two - "All In" for Denver

Friday was the second day of the SIA tradeshow. Day one, on Thursday, had already seemed long in spite of the fact that we didn't really go party that night. In spite of this, I still planned to get an early start on day two. Since Zoe had been fighting a cold, however, we left her behind so she could get some more sleep. We were therefore left to our own devices to take photos so I apologize in advance if there aren't many.

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In 2009, Venture's sales were around 50-50 between split boards, and solid boards. The trend seems to be toward more split boards.

Our first stop after entering the conference center was at the Venture Snowboards booth to talk with Lisa Branner about split boards. With more and more winter sports enthusiasts becoming concerned with the effects of anthropomorphic climate change, and desiring to mitigate its effects, split-boarding seems to have become a growing segment of the market. One of the questions I've been asking of companies who make any backcountry related products is whether or not the numbers actually reflects this instinct. In general, the answer to this questions seems to be in the affirmative.

After a quick chat with Lisa, and a good overview of Venture's lineup for 2011 (which incidentally will be 100% rocker), we decided to casually browse the various booths until mid-day when the 10th anniversary of Capita celebration was to take place. Capita launched 10 years ago on the second day of the SIA snowsports tradeshow. They thought they'd celebrate by having a New Year's Eve style countdown at mid-day on day two of this years show. To help showcase the event, they put up a cross section of all the snowboards they've produced over their ten year life, all the way back to the days before Forum was swallowed up by Burton when Capita had licensed the Forum slider technology.

After the countdown, we stopped off at the Pow gloves booth where we met Brady Stoddard, the sales and brand manager for Pow, Ogio, and Bataleon. Pow is a pacific northwest company and Brady was super stoked to find out that we were big fans of Pow gloves that far east.

While chatting with Brady and Dustin – the CEO of Pow gloves – Jon Cartwright, the owner of Westbeach, stopped by to express his stoke that I was wearing a Westbeach t-shirt. He even gave me a copy of the Out West, a book which chronicles the history of Westbeach and snowboarding in Canada. Brady and I commented about how stoked we are on Westbeach because a) we're canadian and b) we're old enough to remember when Del the Funky Homosapien was in Hieroglyphics. Incidentally, Del was set to play later on that night at a private party at Ink Monster; a party to which we were fortunate enough to be invited... thanks Brady.

Later in the afternoon, we were getting tired of walking around, so we decided to hit up the Burton booth to play some Texas Hold 'Em in their mini-casino setup. This is ironic considering that last year, I attended SIA in Las Vegas and didn't gamble at all. However, in this case we weren't playing with real money and poker involves sitting down which was a win-win situation; I was no longer standing and I could play fast and loose and not worry about losing the farm. After a couple hours of playing, however, I wound up winning more than $80,000 worth of fake money (all in for the win!).

After cashing in my “winnings”, we made our way to the Yard to see Generations, a short film by Teton Gravity Research about climate change. This was sponsored by The North Face, and Protect Our Winters. Jeremy Jones and North Face rider DCP were on hand to provide a little bit of background. This movie had been screened for U.S. Senators the day before to try to bring more attention to the impact on climate change. Having a name like Jeremy Jones behind it will hopefully bring a greater amount of attention to this important cause.

Later that night, on our way out to the Free Funk, Del the Funky Homosapien party, we ran into DCP who happened to have a room on the same floor as us at the Hilton Garden Inn. We got to talking with him about the show, about “Generations”, and about the evenings parties. Throughout our conversation, it never once occurred to me that he might have been more comfortable if we had been speaking french with him (DCP has a pretty pronounced french accent when speaking english). I'll definitely address him in the language of “la belle province” the next time I see him.

We got to the Ink Monster warehouse shortly after 9PM and happened to be first in line which was good because only the first 300 people with wrist bands were going to be allowed in (the warehouse looks as though it can only safely hold 300 people). Many people were being turned away because they didn't have wrist bands for the show. “How do you get a wrist band”, they would ask. The answer was always “you have to know someone who has them.” Apparently we roll with the right people.

Del hit the stage around midnight. Although we had been standing most of the day since before 9AM, we still had lots of energy to bust some moves to some funky tunes. One thing I have to say about Del is that he is incredibly passionate about his music as art. So much so that he doesn't care how you appropriate yourself of his music, as long as you listen to it. This is a refreshing attitude from the perspective of the fan, especially nowadays when people are getting sued for vast sums of money for “illegally" downloading music. Perhaps this hearkens back a little bit to the idea behind split-boarding; when you earn your turns, and remove much of the B.S., you start to remember that snowboarding, much like music, is really about having fun. Thanks for showing us the way Del.

Winter Matters Bubble

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