We sent our apparel and board buyers out to the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Tradeshow in Denver, Colorado, then sat them down to talk about what’s new for 2017.
ERIK’S: Introduce yourself. What is your experience in the snow sports industry?
Mano Yanez: I’m Mano Yanez, the Apparel Product Manager at Erik’s, and I’ve been snowboarding 20+ years.
Andrew Pettis: Andrew Pettis, I have been in the snowboard industry for 22 years. I managed a snowboard shop in Duluth when I was going to school at UMD. After that I was a sales rep for a number of snowboard companies for 15 years. Now I’m a product manager for winter hardgoods at Erik’s.
ERIK’S: What has been the biggest game changer for the 2016-17 winter season? A new technology? A new style of riding taking off?
Andrew Pettis: Carving in snowboarding has taken off! The feeling you get just laying into the snow and feeling the energy that you load into the board snap back at you when you transition edge to edge is a rad feeling. Many companies are making products just for this style of riding. Shorter wider boards that you can really lay on edge and not worry about toe and heel drag. Some companies are even making bindings with ramp angle on the baseplate and more supportive straps to give even more control while carving.
Mano Yanez: The unique shaped boards have been all the rage, I’ve ridden a handful of them and most of them are really fun. We are also seeing more and more stretch fabrics used in the apparel. Stretchy stuff is always a plus in my book.
Also goggle lens technology is making huge strides right now, everybody has some form of color-filter lens that enhances the definition in the snow. I’ve tried a bunch from Dragon, Oakley, Von Zipper and a few others. Bottom line, they work. Do yourself a favor ditch you goggles from ’98 that “still work fine” and get some new ones. Not only can you see way better, it’s better for your eyes too.
ERIK’S: What has you excited for next year? An event? A product that hasn’t been released yet?
Mano Yanez: I’m really excited to try the new Burton STEP ON system. I’m old enough to remember how bad step ins were, but I had a chance to try on the STEP ON boots with the bindings at Burton in VT this fall and it feels like a normal set up.
I’m also excited to build our product selection to try and have variety and selection for both skiers and snowboarders. Last year we added Karbon outerwear and Under Armour and we brought back Dragon goggles, which cater to both snowboarders & skiers. Next year we will also have Spyder outerwear.
Andrew Pettis: Burton STEP ON! This will be big! For more information on Burton’s STEP ON, check out this link.
ERIK’S: What exhibits did you see and who stood out?
Mano Yanez: Helly Hansen makes such a great jacket, every time I look at their line and try on jackets I’m blown away at how good they feel. Their H2Flow system works amazing. A great blend of styling, technical features and feel.
ERIK’S: Pick one brand we carry and tell us about their new product, reps, exhibit, etc.
Mano Yanez: That’s tough, we carry a lot of great brands. I think ANON goggles adding new Zeiss lenses, and continuing to bring their MFI technology farther down the line is pretty awesome.
The new Burton LIVING LINING is really cool too. It’s a lining that is designed to adjust to and regulate your body temp based on your body temp. If you’re hot the fibers open up to allow more heat out, when you’re cold they tighten up to trap more heat. Bottom line, less hot/cold spikes and a more comfortable piece of outerwear.
Andrew Pettis: Nitro has some very cool new tech in boots that I feel is the best way to lock down the laces on liners of your boots. It’s called RE/LACE, you just twist the laces and lock them into the system and pull the laces tight. No need constantly mess with laces or fight to get a clamp tight enough to keep things put. Because you don’t have to push that clamp down, you can tighten your laces on your liner throughout the day without unlacing the outer of your boot.
For bindings Nitro a new ratchet system. it’s called micro drive, it’s a split ratchet that gives you twice as many clicks every time you pump the ratchet. Faster into your bindings = more runs per day.
ERIK’S: Thanks for sitting down with us Mano and Pettis.
To check out this season’s best boards, apparel and goggles, go to shoperiks.com.