Sunday, February 10, 2008

SIA: Actual Photos Have Been Withheld to Protect the Guilty.

For years I've felt like I was swimming upstream against the tide of the rabid Hunter S. Thompson fans. I choked my way through "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", feeling decidedly uncool, because I simply found no redeeming traits in Thompson and his attorney. It's difficult to make it through a novel when you could give a ... well, you know ... about the protagonists. Now, I have to ask, was it Thompson who made Vegas what it is? Or was it Vegas that made Thompson who he was?

Maybe it's the fact that the bastion of excess flat-out shouldn't exist in the middle of a desert. Living in such an unnatural environment for a week encourages an irrational, if-you-can't-beat-them-join-them mentality. Luckily, all of your compadres are in the same boat, and the situation boils over into one hell of a good time.

The recent week at SIA in Las Vegas reaffirms that the ski/snowboard industry is still vibrant and that Vegas is still dirrrty. Things were a little fuzzy after the open bar of the Transworld Snowboarding Riders' Poll Awards and the impromptu Wu Tang Clan concert, but I awoke neither newly married nor tatooed. So all was well with the world.

It was tough to leave two feet of fresh snow to go to the desert and talk about skiing. That is, until I arrived. For me, walking into SIA was like when Homer Simpson inherited the ice cream truck - pure bliss. I was there working for Hot Chillys, 66 North and White Sierra. All three are showing really great lines for fall 2008 and their booths were steady with traffic for three days.

Hot Chillys has pretty much revamped its entire collection for fall. It's current, relevant and damn good-looking. As they move ahead with their environmental inititiatives and sustainable fabric collection, they refuse to compromise performance or the incredibly soft feel they're known for.

White Sierra's line has a youthful, snowboarding vibe to it. They nail the fashionable snowboarding look without alienating the core skiers. You're not going to find such high quality fabrics from any other outerwear company at that price point. White Sierra appeals to the recreational enthusiast, the dedicated athlete and now the fashionista on the slopes.

66˚North ventured into its first SIA. They were over in the Euro-chic section - which is appropriate for the heritage. But the garments have such a wider appeal. Incredibly high quality blends with sleek lines and immaculate fit. I'm confident that they're line has a piece in it that will appeal to just about every sector of the snowsports world.

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