Each year at the start of the season, the Snow + Rock Equipment Supervisors from across the company come together in Manchester at the Chill Factore to find out about hot new products for the year ahead, improve their skills, expand their knowledge and test ski equipment.
The Equipment Launch is run over 3 days and covers a vast array of topics from making and moulding foot beds to sales figures and trends, to hands on product testing with each day having an overall theme.
Day 1 was reserved for the fitting process of boots, including manufacturing custom footbeds, and fitting transfoam liners. All of the staff had the chance to make custom footbeds using the Sidas custom moulding process, while under the watchful eye of Martin Driscoll and Julian Thorpe from Sidas.
In addition, many equipment staff also worked with the Transfoam custom liners, with the experienced staff shared their tips and tricks with those newer to the foaming process.
Big thanks to Sidas for continued support on such an important day.
New for this year was the inclusion of a Backcountry product day where we had experts from across the field come and share their product knowledge & hands on experiences with our team. Throughout the day there were multiple practical workshops from all of our suppliers who were always there to ensure that our staff have some of the best training in the industry.
- Noble Custom were on hand with Ortovox transceivers, shovels and probes giving the staff a chance to have some practical time with this year’s products, plus walking us through the new Ortovox Zoom transceiver and explaining about what makes these products unique.
- Black Diamond worked with all the groups passing on key information on Avalung, skin cutting and the many exciting ski and pole products on offer this year – showcasing their strong, lightweight equipment which is as much at home on piste as it is carving in 2 feet of snow.
- Anatom who closely work with BCA, set up a simulated search scenario in the car park to let our staff work with the BCA Trackers and find “buried” victims. In addition, there was the opportunity to try out the new BCA Float Avalanche Airbag system – both inflating it and packing it away.
- Working with Noble Custom, ABS sent over from their head office Daniel Buss European Export Manager who worked with all our staff to make them familiar with the ABS system. Everyone had the chance to try on the packs, and experience an inflation simulating what happens in an emergency.
To cap the day off, Snow + Rock were awarded the distinction of “PRO Dealer” from ABS thanks in part to our level of understanding, depth of product offerings and long partnership with ABS . This is quite the honour as we are the only retailer in the UK to have this status, and one of only a handful outside Europe to hold this distinction!!
It was a really successful day for all the staff and a great opportunity to share knowledge and hear from industry leaders and experts in the field about backcountry equipment. It became quite clear to everyone that the products we have on hand for the year ahead are better and simpler to use than ever before as manufacturers continuously work to make off piste skiing safer and the equipment more cost effective.
It is worth noting that proper education in the use of these tools is essential – if you’re considering heading into the backcountry this year, pop into store and speak to the Equipment Team for guidance and information. You can be sure that if you’re heading off piste this year, there is something on offer for almost every budget to keep you safe.
We’d like to say a big thank you to Sam Noble and Miles Parry-Jones at Noble Custom; Daniel Buss at ABS, Dan Phillips at Black Diamond and Mark Staddle from Anatom.
One of the key reasons that Equipment Launch is held at the Chill Factore is to allow everyone to try the ski equipment that will be in our stores, and offers first-hand slope experience to the staff. This year is no exception and we had a huge offering of equipment, products and activities throughout the day to give everyone the maximum opportunity to try various products.
Everyone tried equipment from all our brands, from Piste to Big Mountain and participants could see why each piece of ski equipment was particularly selected to go into our range.
One of the day’s highlights had to be Nigel Shepard working with everyone to introduce and experience the new Salomon Guardian Binding, as well as making sure that everyone tried their hand at putting skins on trekking to the top and skiing a few laps.
In addition, Simon from K2 spent time building the K2 Rescue Sled using the parts from the K2 Rescue Shovel. The key thing here was how relatively simple it was to do and that in an emergency – this sled could literally be the difference between life and death. Of course once it was complete, it was important to test it out to see a) how comfortable it was and b) how easy it was to pull. On both accounts it stands up to muster and in an emergency it would be a welcome addition.
These events are key to making sure our staff are up to date on the latest products and have the best training and experiences, which in turn means they can offer a better level of service and understanding to our customers.
A big thanks to the brands for all their help on the day and for bringing such great equipment to ski:
- Atomic – Russ O’Neil
- Salomon – Eric Davies, Pete Waghorn, Pat Sharples , Dan Botham, Kayleigh Hill
- Scott – Mark Wood, Lee Hardy
- Rossignol – Chris Best, Hugh Scott
- Lange – Scott Dobson
- Head – Matt Humphries
- Fischer – Robert Reid
- K2, Volkl – Simon Smith
Thanks to everyone involved in the setup and running of the Snow + Rock Equipment Launch 2012. Here’s looking forward to a great year ahead!