The Tribe is Gathering Again
The Snow Sports Industry of America’s Snow Show is returning to Colorado January 29th through February 3rd. The Denver show is described by some as “the biggest family reunion in the world.” The Snow Sports biz is a relatively small industry and our business relies on personal contacts and a personal connection with each other and the snow riding public. Skiing and riding has evolved and changed over the years, but it is still undeniably a family friendly sport. SIA Snow Show is where we show off our high tech, low tech, high fashion, functional fashion, cutting edge and simplicity of the sport. The fact is: Snow riding can improve lives and so our “product” is just as much a “way of life” as an industry. It is our “tribal” and “family” dynamic that makes us the medicine sport for body, mind and spirit.
Some might argue that if the Snow Sports industry is a family, then it is a dysfunctional one. I agree. But, we are not just dysfunctional we are beautifully bizarre. We have our bad boys, we have our clean cuts, we’ve got punks and pixies and Grandma and Gramps. We’ve got back country, snowboard, freeride and speed freaks. We’ve got the lovers, the haters and friendlies and hostiles. We got tech junkies, fashion monkeys, lodge posers and lots and lots of gadgets and gizmos. I mean we got it all. We got swag, and a good swag.
People are attracted to mountain culture and the snow riding way of life. Everyone may have an individual reason how or why they ride, but when you find your reason you are welcomed into the tribe. Jack Denny is an eighty-eight year old skier I met a few years ago. He confirms what many elder skiers say about the sport. He says, “teaching my kids to ski and board was the best move I ever made for our family.” I find it interesting that Jack and many others say, “Skiing vacations are the only time that the whole family re-unites and stays together. Even when the family does not ski together, they come back in the evening and tell stories about their mountain adventure.” It is the same feeling of togetherness that makes the SIA Show in Denver work, even in the age of online buying.
There is a unique sense of belonging to something bigger than ones self within the snow riding community. Each mountain has it’s own “ski tribe.” Our human DNA responds to rituals like “powder mornings,” tree skiing or a riding “rat pack” that meets on a ridge for the last run. There is something about our interaction with the natural elements and the mountain setting that wakes up our psyche and insures us that we are alive. Our industry is connected to the ancient tribal ritual of story telling. Stories are constantly shared around the fireplace, the bar, on a chairlift and anywhere snow riders are found. So, calling all ski shop owners and buyers. Calling all company personnel. Calling all riders, competitors, adventurers, inventers and snow business pros. It’s time to meet up in Denver to share some good stories and contribute your energy to the tech, fashion and fun that makes riding snow one of the greatest things that can be done for the human spirit.
Geoffrey Stump is a life long skier and the father of a clan of Snow Riders.