(Here's OnTheSnow.com Associate Editor Jill Adler's exclusive "Day Two" report to you from the huge Snow Industries America Trade Show in Las Vegas. She'll check in every day this week. This is where snow sports manufacturers, buyers, and retailers come to spend money, make money, and party hearty. Jill's got all your dish.)
The floor's still hopping and, considering the late night many retailers and manufacturers had both at the SIA Farewell bash and at the circle bar in the Hard Rock Hotel, they looked quite dapper and ready to sell. Personally, I got a late start. With the one hour time change between Utah and Nevada and the boyfriend's insistence on blowing cash at the craps table, it was well into 2 a.m. at home before we called it a night.
The Criss Angel show caused a bit of the drowsiness. Although I love everything Cirque du Soleil produces, this one has a split personality that was never quite resolved. You've got Criss Angel as a stage magician trying to wow the audience and acting way too into himself and Cirque's talented dancers, singers, and acrobats mystifying us with their incredible moves. The two together felt forced, staged and, ultimately, unsatisfying.
Plus, despite spotting several kids in the audience, the themes (one scene has Criss sinking in a pool of his own blood; another he's getting sawed in half with guts spilling out) are nightmare inducing. If you're looking for a strictly magic show, you'll probably be disappointed. My happiest memories are of an SIA show night when KA had recently opened. Now there's the best event ever.
I rolled into the hall around 10 a.m., already two meetings behind. One thing that kept cropping up around every corner were these mannequins wearing suspendered pants with the suspenders dragging. Guess it's not enough to have pants that hang off your butt. Next season you'll see suspenders. Wouldn't someone hook a rail or a chair riding like that? Looks dangerous, not to mention silly, to me, but then I never understood having your crotch hanging at your knees. One new brand to the U.S., but tops in Korea, is SugaPoint. It offers some innovative styling like sleeves that zip off mid-bicep rather than under the arm. You can actually wear a hoody underneath and look like a street urchin.
It's hard to miss the snowboard influence in the major youth brands. Burton, Orage, Liquid Boardwear, Obermeyer (to some extent), Salomon, Oakley, all have baggie cargo pants and jackets with prints, metal buckles, and longer lengths. One pieces are also selling well and I was surprised to hear several manufacturers waving their high-end technical jackets at the same time recommending them as a lifestyle piece you could wear to dinner.
Speaking of technical fabrics, Powderhorn has an $850 jacket made with Schoeller C-Change that apparently acts like a pine cone - opening up when you're moving and closing down when you're inactive to retain your body heat. That's the richest of the rich, but there are many softgoods companies like White Sierra touting lower price points and emphasizing that consumers next season will be meticulously counting their dollars, hunting for the bargains while still getting the function. White Sierra's jackets will run you a respectable $130, fleece baselayers around $30.
As for accessories, more snowboarding influences in the hat category - thick knits, not so many ear flappers but lots of hats that slouch in the back (tip of hat pointing at whoever's behind you). You still have the good old stand by's - socks and neck gaiters. Bula was out on the floor passing out those fleece rings around your neck. Essential.
Today, there seemed to be a more positive vibe on the Ski Show's impending move to Denver in 2010. Some companies, like Oakley, said they thought a change to a winter climate for a winter show was needed; a place where they could host "Big Day Out" events for retailers to actually try out their new products.
As I hunted for après ski boots to match my skirt (my heels were killing me), I noticed the lack of options. Several sock companies, base layers, headphones manufacturers, but only a handful of shoe brands and they all looked the same - Emu, UGG, Australia Love (with not a single rep in the booth all three times I passed by), featuring a calf high suede and shearling pull-on with slight variations with ribbons, buttons, and zippers. A new entry into the SIA show, however, Rubber Duck, offered a younger skew with a nylon "puffy" waterproof upper over a running shoe sole. "If you wanted to jog in these, you could," said one booth rep. Available in a multitude of bright colors as well as next season's metallics, I predict these will be the next pink UGG fad. Of course, the company may need Paris Hilton to flash them at the next Sundance party to make sure everyone knows they're supposed to be wearing them.
Closing out tonight's show, Snoop Dogg popped into the Skull Candy booth to satisfy the hordes. He was teasing the Skull Candy party scheduled for 10 pm. I hope I hit there and back and back to the show with a few of my wits about me. --See you tomorrow -- Jill.