Slope Style and Self Expression: Exploring the Creative Spirit of Snow Sports at Snowbound Expo 2024
November 15, 2023
Recently, two members of the New York Consumer Lifestyle and Sports team, Megan Hollett and Elizabeth Daniell attended the Snowbound Expo in Boston, which brings together speakers and brands in the ski and snow industry to share skills, experiences and the latest and greatest gear, equipment, and apparel to inspire adventure.
While walking the floor of Snowbound, we couldn’t help but feel a sense of belonging and excitement when going from booth to booth, which had seemingly been lost at some other recent shows. Generally, the snowsports community is welcoming, fun and always lively, which is why listening to the opening panel discussion about the creative spirit of New England snowsports really resonated, and gave us a renewed sense of appreciation for the industry.
Slope Style and Self Expression
The engaging conversation from the opening panel underscored the connection between creativity and inclusion in the industry – how that relates to gear and apparel, arts and culture, and sustainability. Hip-hop artist and snowboarder Miranda Writes shared her perspective that snowsports are all about self-expression – from what we wear on the slopes to the music we listen to – and how important it is to give people of all backgrounds more opportunities to show up authentically. We’ve been admiring the mission of the newly formed Burton-back Outdoor Diversity Alliance, and it was nice to hear some mirrored messages come through at this session.
Constance Beverly, panelist and CEO of Share Winter Foundation, pointed out that from a business perspective it makes sense to offer more diverse sizes and designs for gear, which also supports Miranda’s call to offer more opportunity for authentic self-expression. Constance also highlighted the importance of embracing more diverse offerings as part of the core business initiatives in order to create meaningful and lasting change, rather than just releasing specialty collections as one-offs.
There were some clear stand-outs in slope-style at this year’s expo. From stylish après-ski outfits, to bright colors and bold patterns, there was a range of brands that really embraced style in unique and striking ways.
We were immediately drawn to energy at the OOSC booth, with the brand’s “head-turning” apparel filled with retro designs, epic patterns, and bright colors. But for those who may be looking for a more approachable way to express their style, brands like ORTOVOX showcased highly technical gear in eye-catching color blocking, which has a retro feel in a subtle way, and Hootie Hoo, which is on a mission to encourage kids to hit the slopes has quality gear in amazing prints and colors.
Similarly, and as FINN client, Marmot, heads into its 50th year of making a whole lot of epic in 2024, we’ve had the opportunity to embrace its heritage and share new collection pieces that go “way back and beyond,” bringing back original styles, patterns and that retro feel, but with new cutting-edge technologies that enhance performance.
Arts + Culture
Artist Lamont Joseph White spoke on the opening panel about fostering representation in the industry through art. His Skiing in Color collection is a reflection of his belief that its important “to observe our differences so that we can better embrace them.” His booth at Snowbound featured an opportunity for attendees to show off a bit of their own artistic expression in a group painting activity.
We also saw an exciting amount of brands and organizations at the Expo that are focused on fostering cultural moments and inclusion such as Shred Happy, which aims to grow the sports we all love through positivity, inclusion, and memorable interactions and experiences. We were also excited to see New England’s largest LGBTQ+ ski and snowboard club Outryders, National Brotherhood of Skiiers focused on increasing inclusivity in the snowsports industry, and the Share Winter Foundation, who strives to make winter sports accessible to a broader, more diverse community.
Sustainability Is Strong
We were particularly impressed with dedication to sustainability within the industry. With Consumer Lifestyle and Sports client Protect our Winters (POW), we are passionate about protecting the places and experiences we all love from climate change, so future generations can enjoy the slopes as much as we are able to today. Through this work, we know that sustainability is at the core of the snow industry and is responsible for spearheading many of the changes needed to allow for there to be a future generation of skiers and snowboarders. Reducing environmental impact is a necessity that will keep the industry moving forward.
We learned that OOSC makes all of its outerwear from recycled polyester made from plastic bottles, and ORTOVOX has reached climate neutrality in its winter 22/23 collection. Ski the East, a brand that unites the regional snowsports community with sustainably made apparel & accessories, premium media content, and radical events is one of the 5,000+ brands in the industry that is a part of 1% For The Planet, and dedicates at least 1% of yearly revenue to environmental nonprofits to work towards a better future for us all.
As a group of skiers, snowboarders, and outdoor adventurers, the FINN Consumer Lifestyle and Sports team is passionate about the work we’re doing, since it’s a part of our everyday lives. The insights we learned and brands we were able to experience at Snowbound left us feeling stronger than ever, that the snow industry is continuing to look for ways to make the mountains feel like home for everyone.