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Lib Tech: 2012/13 Snowboard Preview

Travis Rice C2BTX HP – $696.96; Skate Banana - $489.95

Contact Info:
Lib-tech.com
206.204.7800
info@mervin.com

Questions answered by Pete Saari, VP of Marketing and Creative

What are the biggest trends shaping the hardgoods market for next year?

Magne-Traction and Banana Tech rocker camber combination geometries.

What is the greatest change affecting your brand since last season?

The biggest change is we still make our own boards Near Canada in the USA and are constantly refining and improving our banana rocker camber geometries and constantly experimenting with high performance environmentally friendly materials and manufacturing processes.  We are pretty excited about improving camber performance with the addition of refined banana technology on Jamie’s Classic Series.

How has the market evolved over the last year and how do you see things changing in the years ahead?

The future should be fun,  so we are working on some new geometries that make snowboards work even better than they currently do. For this year More and more rocker and rocker camber designs with Magne-traction.

How has sales forecasting changed for your company?

We make all our snowboards at our own factory in the USA. Forcasting isn’t really an issue, we build to order. When we do get the urge to predict the future we have implemented the latest in computer modeling systems, combined with data from the Farmers Alminac and input from a guy that lives  under a boat mold in Westport Washington named Larry.

What lessons have you learned with bookings and production for this season and how will you apply those to next?

We love a good lesson and Olson story time is also a favorite. We are constantly learning and working with our dealers to get our pre-book orders in early so we can have coordinate efficient, accurate production runs that allow us to build the best quality boards and deliver on time.

 How are you working with retailers to help ensure strong margins, the right amount of product in the marketplace, and terms that set them up for success?

Our reps work with dealers to bring in the right amount of boards based on their previous years sales, our new product and the climate in the marketplace.  We have been introducing new technologies that provide real value to customers and provide healthy margins in the market place.  We provide our dealers with stable territory and work with them closely and proactively with any distribution changes.

How large are your lines going to be compared to years past? Have you seen customers confused by too many different stories?

Our lines have grown a little this year.  Travis has a new T-Ripper series for smaller riders, Jamie has a new Jamie Classic Banana Camber line all terrain freestyle line.

It has been over five years since we introduced the revolutionary Skate Banana all terrain rocker / camber technology and over seven since we introduced revolutionary Magne-Traction serrated edges.

Our rocker / camber / banana stories are very simple and intuitive  but we constantly work to simplify and communicate the story and rider profile for each model and contour.  

  With the shifting landscape of production abroad, are you reevaluating where you produce your hardgoods?  If so, why?

We handcraft all our boards near Canada in the USA at Mervin MFG. the worlds most environMental snowboard factory

What opportunities do you see for growing hardgoods sales?

We are focused on taking care of our existing dealer network and continued growth through core retailers. Internet has been an area of growth for us our Shop a Tron program focuses on directing internet sales to our core shops.

With product we are primarily focused on freestyle freeride performance boards…we are expanding our kids and womens offerings as well and continue to work with Travis on his Split board program.

 What do you anticipate prices doing next season?

I would expect overall prices to go up. Material prices have been going up at the same time Mervin is becoming more and more efficient as a manufacturer so for the most part our pricing is holding steady. We have dropped prices on our Lib Ripper youth series as well as on a few other models.  Mike Olson hand makes every Cygnus X1 and he eats a lot so they are real expensive.

Are you taking any steps to minimize your environmental impact?  If so, what are some of these steps?

We build all our own boards in our own factory and have been working to minimize our environmental impact for 30 years.  Some of the basics that go on every day at Mervin are finger jointing to maximize wood core yields, water based eco sublimation printing (we don’t use toxic solvent heavy screen printing or automotive lacquers…if a snow board top sheet looks incredibly glossy it was very toxic and unhealthy for whoever built it to get it that way),  recycling of all base materials,  use of FDA approved UHMW sidewalls (traditional ABS sidewalls put off toxic fumes), use of Beans Bio Polymer top sheet material made from Castor Beans, use of additive free Basalt Fiber,  use of only water and citrus based solvents.  Use of Low VOC  epoxy resin systems.   We work at the factory every day and are constantly working to maximize our factory efficiencies and reduce our environmental impact…when you work at the factory and have an idea you can actually implement it immediately.

What does your company hope to contribute to snowboarding?

We hope to make snowboarding sexier, more complicated, confusing and much more fun.

What are the biggest forces shaping the changes and developments you’ve made to your boards?

Rider input and refinement of Magne-traction and various Banana Rocker Camber contour combinations.

To what degree are you emphasizing camber shape in your lineup?

All of our boards are  camber rocker combinations (except the tip to tail rocker powder specific T Rice Banana Hammock).  All our boards have camber in varying amounts.  Banana Technology has a mild amount of camber at the tip and tails and is our most forgiving all terrain fun, jib, pow and entry level geometry.  EC2 has a more camber at the tips and tails and provides a bit more end to end stablity for more aggressive or freestyle or freeride. C2 BTX has the most camber at the tips and tails for aggressive freestyle and freeride and the new Jamie Classic has our most aggressive camber with mild banana “rocker between your feet” for maximum end to end stability and very aggressive freestyle and freeride and a more traditional camber feel with the added performance benefit of banana…this is traditional camber made the way it always should have been made…banana camber.

Are you cooking up any new materials or construction techniques?

We are always experimenting with new materials and building techniques.  Volcanic organic Basalt is becoming more and more of a favorite for us…it is really strong, lightweight and environmentally friendly.  As far as manufacturing goes we are hands on at the factory so there is a steady improvement and refinement of construction techniques targeted either at higher performance boards or being more efficient and consistant in the board building process.

What themes are you seeing for graphics?

We have been working with a great crew of snowboarder and skateboarder Artists and through their eyes moving into the future.  Mike Parillo and Carl Smith have collaborated on Travis’s graphics this year and the combination of Carl’s collage work with Parillo’s paint style is pretty amazing.  Our eco Sublimation graphic system really lends itself to the moving colors of artists like Nick Russian, Ryan Davis, Jamie Lynn and Matt French.

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