The Snow Season at Surfside And Salty Peaks
Now that the snow season has wrapped up, we checked in with two owners of key snow accounts in the West to see what worked this year.
SURFSIDE SPORTS, COSTA MESA
How did this season’s snow sales compare to last year’s?
Duke Edukas: The season went way better than last year, and was one of our best ever. This year was on par with the 2016-2017 season.
This year, things started a little slow, but took off like gangbusters in January and February.
However, it’s always good to remember that seasons like this are the exception when it comes to snowfall, not the norm.
How did board sales go? Any interesting brand or technology trends?
Duke Edukas: Board sales were solid across the board. The standout was Lib Tech’s Orca, and all the energy it created in a market that was craving powder boards.
Jones Ultra Mind Expander did well too. There were no real “dogs” in our snowboard offering this year.
The standout board for ladies was the Burton “Yeasayer.”
What about outerwear? What brands are doing well in men’s and women’s?
Duke Edukas: In men’s, all the usual suspects always do well: Burton, Volcom and 686. Quiksilver, Billabong, and Patagonia, also performed well.
I think the biggest surprise is how well Dakine Gore outerwear did, and how the core customer embraced it. A $400-plus price point isn’t usually an easy pill to swallow, and is usually reserved for brands that that people totally trust and that have been around awhile like Burton AK or Volcom Gore.
But Dakine’s Gore outerwear was an instant success and is considered “legit” with the demanding backcountry enthusiasts.
In woman’s, Roxy was our real standout, but all the brands performed well.
It looked like goggle sales did well this season. Was there a star in that category?
Duke Edukas: With my personal workstation at the store located right next to the goggle wall, how could goggle sales not go well?!
Seriously, understanding how a customer shops for goggles, and knowing which ones are going to fit them well, perform in all snow/weather scenarios, with or without a helmet, and within their budget is a real art.
Some people just can’t afford a $200-plus goggle, and, you need to be sensitive and aware of that. On the other hand, some people will spend anything for the right goggle.
Within each goggle brand there are compatible goggles for every customer. At the end of the day, it’s up to the customer.
That being said, Anon and Smith with their Magnet technology did extremely well. Anon’s M4 sold out really quickly, even though it is $300. All the other brands sold through nicely as well.
How did snowboard boot sales go? Did brands have enough stock to meet demand?
Duke Edukas: Boot sales were through the roof. Sometimes it’s better for the brands to run out of stock, and this year was no exception.
It makes people not want to wait too long to buy because their size might not be in stock, not just in our store, but, anywhere.
Is there any new product or technology you are excited about for next season?
Duke Edukas: We think the most exciting thing is that Smith is expanding their Magnet goggles into smaller and larger sizes.
Also, we are excited about the expansion of the Burton Step On bindings and boots, including a new wide version from Burton, and a DC boot that will be compatible with Burton Step On bindings.
SALTY PEAKS, SALT LAKE CITY
How did sales go for Salty Peaks this winter?
Dennis Nazari: We have seen an absolutely huge increase in sales, the best in at least 15 years. And our income from the services (like tuning snowboards) we offer is breaking all-time records!
Several factors are helping sales, including:
- More online sellers are realizing they’re losing more money than they thought they were because of discounts, free shipping, fraud exposure and others costs. Plus, online sales are now taxed in some cases. (All of which is thinning the field of online-only retailers.)
- Travel passes like Epic, Ikon and Mountain Collective rotating more shoppers into our store.
- Epic snowfall totals.
- Manufacturers shortening the time allowed for discounts with MAP policies.
- The booming Trump economy.
Also, because so many specialty shops have gone out of business in the past 20 years, folks are starting to realize the importance of specialty shops and are appreciating what we do on a level not seen in years.
Any standout categories?
Dennis Nazari: We sell a bunch of patented gear in almost every category that has been in high demand with fantastic profit margins.
Patented technology gives customers a reason to buy new gear!
Any standout new products in hard-goods, softgoods or accessories?
Dennis Nazari: Yes, it’s all about the better gear that is more convenient and stuff that makes snowboarding easier and more fun.
The patented sidewall geometry in snowboards like Mervin’s Magne-Traction and Never Summer’s Vario Power Grip have elevated the performance of boards, and in many minds, made traditional camber boards obsolete. It’s been said that traditional camber snowboards are snowboarding’s “straight ski” – a reference to the obsolescence that came to straight skis when parabolic skis took over in that industry.
The market is flooded with traditional camber boards and they are getting harder and harder to sell at a profit.
The other standouts were:
- VO gloves, which are gloves you never have to take off when you are doing stuff on the hill. They are great for photographers, split-boarders, snowplow operators or anyone that’s ever lost a glove or dropped one off the lift.
- Zip Tech outerwear from Volcom.
- Quick-change goggle lenses and goggles with increased optical clarity and scope.
- Burton’s binding tech and patents have elevated them above the competition.
- Boots with Boa laces are the lion’s share of the market now with the lifetime parts guarantee in place.
Is there any product or brand you are excited about for next season?
Dennis Nazari: Yes. Outside of the stuff already mentioned, the increased field of vision for Smith’s 4D Mag goggle will be a big deal.
And we are the only shop in the world that has sold Step In’s continuously since their debut in the mid-90’s.
The 2020 K2 Step In and Burton’s Step On have the potential to see a big comeback if they can get some of the minor bugs worked out and continue with the development.