December Shows vs. January Shows

Which show should I attend and why do you have two shows so close together? Also, why can’t we just do one show?

In an attempt to simplify, it boils down to the following:

  • Softgoods vs. Hardgoods
  • Early sampling & deadlines (BEFORE January 1) vs. later sampling & deadlines (AFTER January 1)
  • Softgood accessories vs. Hardgood accessories
  • “Outdoor” vs. “Snowsports”
  • The differing cycles of all categories that WWSRA covers

Most softgoods deadlines are BEFORE January 1 and most/all hardgood deadlines are AFTER January 1, regardless of when they are sampled. Most hardgoods brands are not fully sampled until after January 1, particularly regarding ski hardgoods and accessories.

Please note, this is a generalized statement, but accurate for most brands.

Description of Shows

November/ December Shows

Our shows held in the early part of winter have expanded to many different categories based on the needs of our sales reps. They include nearly every type of product you could use in the outdoors, as well as active lifestyle brands and apparel. We are open to inviting any member/retailer with business that falls within these timelines. 

January Shows

Our shows held in January are now our longest-running events. They are specific to ski hardgoods, accessories, resort wear, and rental business. That said, they are open to all, and we welcome any member/retailer with business that falls within those timelines.

On-Snow Demos

Our on-snow demos are held at various resorts throughout the Western United States and exist specifically to allow retail buyers the opportunity to test product on the mountain. Due to limited space and resort regulations, these events are only offered for Snow Sports hardgoods and accessory brands.

Summer Shows

Much like the early winter shows, our summer shows include nearly every type of product you could use in the outdoors, as well as active lifestyle brands and apparel. We are open to inviting any member/retailer with business that falls within these timelines.


Why do your Shows Overlap?

Much of what we do within the show cycle gets crunched into a few key months: November, December, January & June. WWSRA, along with all regional organizations, brands, buyers, etc., are challenged with making these months’ work for a large # and variety of events, making overlaps inevitable. With many of our reps now covering multiple regions, we do our best to overlap shows with the most negligible impact; for example, the Rocky Mountain region & Northwest region have very few reps covering both territories, allowing us to overlap shows. However, the Northwest & Montana have about a 60% overlap in reps, Rockies & Intermountain have a roughly 80% overlap. In those cases, we do not overlap shows.

In the summer, Outdoor Retailer & GOA occupying two weeks in June and the month being sandwiched between the Memorial Day & 4th of July holidays, we are very limited in what we can do regionally. We are working diligently with our facilities and forecasting as far as possible to secure dates. Still, we will need our exhibitors and retailers to remain flexible, understanding, and communicative as we work through the next few years.


What is WWSRA doing and why?

As the national cycle (Outdoor Retailer & Buying Groups (GOA, SSL/SMC) has worked to establish their timing for shows, the regional associations have been asked for solutions on a regional level that accommodate the incredibly close yet diverse needs across the outdoor/snowsports/active lifestyle industries. As rep associations, we cover a cross-section of categories from skis, snowboards, camping tents, climbing gear, outerwear, and apparel to footwear, SUPs, and skateboards. If a product/brand exists in the outdoor, snowsports & active lifestyle space and sells to those styles of retailers, they are a welcome part of our organization, and we have all mutually benefited from that inclusiveness. And while we love the diversity within our association, we face the challenge of navigating all the different needs and cycles.

It is our role, as your association, to listen to our membership, assess everyone’s needs, and come up with solutions, options, and, more importantly, opportunities for our membership to show their products on a cost-effective, regional level when and where needed.

Are the options and opportunities always going to work for everyone, exactly when and where they need it? NO!  But with over 1,000 members and 2,500 retailers spanning six regions, we are committed to finding the best solutions to support the majority. We encourage reps & buyers to sign up for shows early so that you can all mutually assess your individual needs in real-time, with accurate data about who will be where and when.


What can you do as sales reps & retailers?

Sales Reps -

  • Talk to your manufacturers about sample ship dates, order deadlines, YOUR regional show dates, and where they would like you to exhibit.
  • Talk to your retailers about when you are ready to show vs. when they are prepared to see you.

Buyers -

  • Talk to your reps, communicate with them your needs, and be proactive in telling them what shows you would like them to be at.


Bottom line?

The staff at WWSRA cannot tell you where you should exhibit. Also, as a member or retailer, you ARE NOT REQUIRED to attend every show we produce. Nor can we say to an apparel rep that they HAVE to exhibit in mid-January, past their deadlines, any more than we can tell a hardgoods rep they HAVE to exhibit in early December before they have samples. We also can’t make any assumptions about where specific reps & retailers will be. We can only loosely advise you based on past experiences and what we are hearing/seeing within our industries.

We must be proactive, inquisitive, and willing to have the necessary conversations to help us make the best possible decisions for our unique businesses. Many, if not most of us, may have to exhibit in and attend multiple shows to define what works best for us individually. This is particularly true if you cover various categories as a rep or a retailer. We also must be tolerant and understanding of those who differ from us in need.

There are several ways to view this, and while we know this will be challenging and exhausting for all, we challenge and encourage everyone to view multiple shows as an opportunity to be part of your community to experience something and someone new to you.

Our challenges as an industry are endless and evolving, but we will always remain committed to working with our community to find solutions.

We will always be here to talk, so never hesitate to reach out.

– Cami, Rachel, Katie & your WWSRA Board of Directors