DENVER—The SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show is one of the ski industry’s largest product events. It’s where retailers go to order their inventory for next year, and ardent skiers and snowboarders salivate over hundreds of skis, snowboards, winter clothing lines and a massive number of products – from avalanche transceivers and goggles to energy bars and ski racks.
The 2013 show, held at the Denver Convention Center in downtown Denver, is a multi-day affair running from Jan. 31-Feb. 3. And for the first time, this year, Meier Skis has joined the mix. The Glenwood Springs-based company is quickly making a name for itself for its handmade wood skis crafted from Colorado aspens and pine beetle-kill trees.
Meier Skis’ booth is set up in the middle of the convention center’s gargantuan exhibit space. The massive room looks a bit like an indoor city, covering more than 580,000 square feet with 10 aisles going one direction and 15 aisles going anothe. It's filled everything from small, tent-like booths to elaborately constructed exhibition areas, complete with wood inlay, carpeting and couches.
Meier Skis is there amidst K2 and Rossignol, Atomic and Volkl, and they’ve got a message.
“We’re fired up,” said Ted Eynon, who, with Glenwood’s Matt Cudmore started the company in 2009. “This is the first time we’ve exhibited on the national level.”
The company has already started to climb up the ranks. Meier Skis was recently designated as an Official Selection by Skiing magazine - a distinction that is helping the buzz to grow.
According to Eynon, up until now, Meier Skis has been selling in eight to 10 shops throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, and in Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and in Montana. But the SIA show puts them in a whole other category. Eynon and Cudmore have set a goal of signing up a minimum of 50 retailers throughout the country to sell the skis.
‘Boutique ski manufacturers’
Eynon said he’s seeing a trend of smaller ski manufactures launching companies like theirs.
“It’s like microbreweries,” he said. “Twenty-five years ago there was Bud and Miller. Then overnight, it seemed like there was a huge number of smaller brands. We’re evolving a lot like that. We support each other. We are like a friendly, growing fraternity of boutique ski manufacturers. We’re a growing segment.”
The company started when Cudmore was searching for an all-around, lightweight, high performance resort and backcountry ski. Not finding what he was looking for, he gave up and started engineering his own.
Eynon is proud that Meier Skis builds their skis right here in Colorado, and that the trees used in their production are from the state as well. The company uses aspens that are being carefully thinned out from Colorado’s forests that have become overgrown and therefore, unhealthy.
And, the company has taken advantage of the pine bark beetle epidemic ravaging Colorado’s pine trees, using beetle-kill trees in the skis’ production.
The company’s interest on using beetle-kill trees has prompted Colorado Sen. Mark Udall to support the company’s efforts, prompting the lawmaker to make an appearance at the Meier Skis' booth during the show to express his appreciation. In turn, Meier Skis has recognized Udall for his support of legislation to mitigate the pine beetle epidemic. Udall has also been recognized by the National Ski Areas Association and other environmental organizations for promoting sustainable treatment of beetle-kill wood in the western US.
For more information on Meier Skis, go to meierskis.com.