It’s no secret that the traditional winter sports trade show Ispo, is dying a slow death. Low attendances and steep prices have forced more and more brands to change how they present their new collections. Leading the herd are Rome Snowboards who 3 years ago took it upon themselves to rent out a luxury chalet called The Rome Lodge, in Diedamskopf, Austria. Rome invited over multiple guests over the season from shop workers, media and riders to the Lodge to eat, drink and of course ride the new product with the company employees. Here we chat to Philipp Kämmerer the European Sales and Marketing Manager to find out more.
Why did you choose this Diedamskopf as the home for the Rome Lodge?
We wanted a location where our customers would somewhat feel at home. Diedamskopf is a great resort with incredible fun powder runs right next to the slopes and a nice little funpark as well. The best about the resort is how quiet it usually is though. We ride powder right next to the slopes even 3 or 4 days after a dump. You don’t get that in one of the famous resorts.
Why do you no longer show at Ispo?
We felt it was time to do something different. At the time the ISPO had become more of a party show than an actual trade show so we had the feeling that it didn’t effect our business to much anymore. And for real, who wouldn’t prefer 5 weeks of powder in the alps before standing around in smokey tradeshow halls.
Who came up with the concept of the Rome Lodge and did it get the green light from the initial idea or did it take some persuasion to make happen?
We have thought about it a couple years before we actually decided to go to Diedamskopf and did a test Lodge in 2013 for one weekend in Zell am See. The feedback was so good that we dropped out of ISPO the next year and started the Rome Lodge.
What do you hope to achieve with the lodge?
In the end we want to show our customers that we are a real snowboard brand, everyone working for Rome shreds for passion and you can feel that when you ride our products. It is so much more effective to actually have shop staff ride your products so that they can feel the difference to others. We also get to know our products much better and get great feedback from them for our further developments.
It seems like the ideal way to present product to people, have you noticed an increase in popularity for Rome since the beginnings of the lodge?
Since we have started the European HQ in Munich back in 2006 Rome has constantly grown in Europe and taken over more market share season by season. The Lodge definitely did its contribution to this over the past seasons.
Do you think other brands will present their collections like this in the future?
I think our main advantage when it comes to projects like this is that Rome is 100% Snowboarder owned. All of us love to board and we don’t have a big investment group sitting on our necks making decisions for us. Dropping out of the traditional trade show concept and starting our own project definitely was a gutsy and forward thinking move.
Will the lodge be operational next year?
Have you had any riders that aren’t on Rome stop by?
Yes, every season we get visited by Rome riders and non Rome riders as well. Mike Ranquet, Mikey Leblanc, Gigi Rüf and the whole Rome Team of course to just name a view.
What would you change for future seasons?
Make it longer with even more snow!