Although there was no actual snow there, the 37th annual SIA.08 SnowSports Trade Show (, which was held January 29 to February 1 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, was a blizzard of activity. With nearly 1,000 brands exhibiting in 3,570 booths and covering 357,000 sq. feet (33,166 sq. meters), the show attracted more than 17,350 attendees and highlighted what slope-friendly fashions companies are serving up for f/w 2008-09.

SIA said 4,800 buyers from 1,532 buy companies attended the show.

Most exhibitors were thrilled with the show. “This is the last day and we have four shops writing as we speak,” said Shaun Neff, owner of Neff (, the 5-year-old Ventura, California-based headwear brand that now also offers fleece items and soft shell tops, including a new hand-painted one. “We’ve been seven to ten shops deep every half hour,” he added about the brisk business his brand did at SIA. “The show has been beyond our expectations,” said Robert J Fenton, president of Nex-Lvl Inc., the new US distributor of Head’s ( ski and snow line.

Trendwise, the show featured jackets and snow pants with multicolored zippers, kimono- or Asian-inspired prints – especially at Spyder (, Holden ( and Dakine ( – plaids, “dressy” fabrics such as gray pinstripes and bright colors, as seen in Burton’s ( colorful checked outfit (pictured above), several of Descente’s ( and DNA’s ( offerings and the Tokidoki collaboration unveiled by Ride Snowboards ( at the show.

As is the case at most trade shows these days, eco-friendly aspects were also in the spotlight. The brand Holden ( featured coconut linings, for example, while Betty Rides ( showed jackets made from recycled polyester. Arbor (, meanwhile, showed snorkel jackets and snowboards made primarily from bamboo. In addition, a new display called ECOsource showed “green” products from 70 different brands.

New technologies were also touted at SIA and innovative ones included a Boost Mobile phone jacket by Vans ( that allows riders to communicate via phone or walkie-talkie and the negative ion impregnation in Descente’s skiwear.

— Christopher Blomquist