Independent ski manufacturers surprising bigger brands

Posted By: The Ski Channel on October 26, 2009 2:58 pm

Everyone knows the big players when it comes to ski manufacturing: Rossignol, K2, Salomon and so on. What people are slowly starting to realize however, is that smaller, independent manufacturers are starting to really make a name for themselves. They’re on the map in a major way these days, and they’re only getting bigger. Reno, Nevada is a hotbed of growing independent ski manufacturers like Smokin’ Snowboards, Moment Skis and PM Gear.

Rob Savo writes for Northern Nevada Business Weekly, and he wrote a great article about these ski shops. Click here for the full article. Here’s Rob: “Jay Quintin, 38, founded Smokin’ Snowboards 13 years ago. A former pro snowboarder, Quintin cut his teeth on the mountain, as a sales rep for Palmer Snowboards and as photo editor of a snowboard magazine. By building snowboards using an innovative edge design that helps boarders turn better, Smokin’ Snowboard’s sales more than doubled during the past year, Quintin says. Smokin’ Snowboards sells about 1,500 snowboards annually in 14 countries, including Russia, Korea, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada and Argentina. In the United States, 70 retailers handle its products. Quintin says that independent manufacturers such as Smokin Snowboards can compete against industry heavyweights such as Burton, Lib Tech and Gnu by advancing technological innovation. ‘We have technology that the big guys don’t have,’ he says. ‘We went from four countries last year to 14. That is how we compete.’

The best way to compete against multi-million dollar marketing budgets… is to create skis with revolutionary designs and graphics that create buzz among ski enthusiasts — and with editors at ski industry publications.”

Thanks Rob. And thanks for breaking out the mold, all you independent manufacturers. Keep those creative wheels going, and soon you’ll become a household name.