While snowboard season has yet to begin at most resorts around the country, Loveland has been open for nearly three weeks, and each year WWSRA takes advantage of the high-altitude mountain’s early opening to bring reps and retailers together for the first retail demo of the year.
The Loveland Shop Employee Demo, which went down this November 14-15, has come to mark the first gathering of the tribes of the season as nearly 40 snowboard brands roll out the gear, beer, grub, and hospitatlity for shred-hungry Rockies retailers.
While the snow has yet to come in earnest, the retailers did, with 593 taking advantage of free pre-registration and an additional 70 registering on site on the first day according to Mike “Gags” Gagliardi, who organizes the event in addition to his roles as Never Summer sales manager and board member at the WWSRA.
“It’s such a great way to kick off the season,” says Gagliardi in between laps with retailers. “PBR brought a keg, we’re grilling in the lot, there’s tons of swag, and everyone’s having a blast. It’s really important for retailers to be here and test all the gear they’re selling.”
While most retailers we talked to had ridden most of this season’s gear at last winter’s demos, the early season on-snow is a great opportunity to test surprise early season star sellers that they may not have ridden as well as refresh their memories about the fine points of hot product and better explain them to hungry shreds looking for a new kit before the season begins.
“I bring a big crew and we ride a good cross section to better describe it to our customers and understand who it will fit,” says Jeff Hoyle, owner of Colorado Springs’s Hoyle Board Company, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this winter. “It’s also a great chance to catch up and hang out with everybody—and we love snowboarding,” adds Hoyle, who came up both days, “proving just how hardcore old spinach chin Hoyle is,” says Gagliardi.
Loveland opened Chair 6 just in time for the demo, as well as numerous rails and features to help put the boards and bindings through their paces , while retailers took advantage of $25 lift tickets, flooded the runs, and filled the parking lot to celebrate winter’s return.