The Inertia Mountain Contributing Editor
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It was a good run... Photo: Laura Austin

It was a good run… Photo: Laura Austin


The Inertia

By now, it’s old news that Nike is pulling out of snowboarding. And right in time, I might add. They were here just long enough to have some fun, but didn’t stay around long enough to get us pregnant. The thing about Nike leaving snowboarding is that every hero on the internet has an opinion, but rarely is it an informed one. My opinion is like everyone else’s in that it is ripe with subjectiveness — the only difference being that I have seen inside the monster that is the snowboard industry, so I’m even more jaded than most people.

Whether you are stoked that Nike is leaving because you stopped dressing exactly like Jed two years ago and now Nike sucks, or you’re bummed because you’re a Nike pro who probably isn’t getting a lucrative snowboarding endorsement anytime soon, there are still some things to ponder about the big swoosh leaving us.

Here is a list of some the pros and cons of Nike’s departure. Enjoy.

Dismantling this caliber of a team is most definitely a CON. Photo: Nike

Dismantling this caliber of a team is most definitely a CON. Photo: Nike

PROS:

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Less Over-Saturation
You will no longer be able to walk into a Ross and see a pair of Nike snowboard boots for sale. But don’t worry, you will still be able to get a XXL neon green Tommy Hilfiger polo and some designer impostor cologne.

More Footage of Your Favorite Nike Pro
Nike had some botched video plans and I heard from more than one Nike team rider that they were frustrated because they were supposed to have a part in a Nike project that never came to fruition. I’m not sure if that footage ever made it to the web… but hey, more footage from Nike’s stellar team will be radical. (Though Never Not did, and that was awesome.)

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More Retail Space for Core Brands
There aren’t that many boot companies, but the less big ol’ corporate dogs there are forcing minimums and taking up retail space the better off the core brands are. So hopefully your local shop will bring in more 32 and Celsius and not just triple down on Adidas.

Possible New Companies
Snowboarding needs fresh blood and some new entrepreneurs to step up and make things interesting. So many amazing snowboarders are without sponsors right now, and that means it’s an amazing time to start something new. Here’s an idea, maybe a bunch of really talented shreds can get together and start their own thing, a la skateboarding. Snowboarders are always trying to bite skateboarding anyway, so here’s your chance.

CONS:

Talented Snowboarders are Losing Their Income
Nike is one of the only companies that actually pays their team what they are worth. I mean if you can die while promoting the brand you ride for, then you should be making some pretty sweet dough. If you have more logos on your snowboard than a Nascar and can’t pay your rent, you’re getting hustled.

Nike Had a Huge Marketing Budget
You’re probably thinking, who gives a shit about Nike’s marketing budget? Well, a lot of people do, including every snowboard magazine you read, lots of video production companies, and core shops that need manufacturers to drive customers into their stores through their advertising efforts. Basically, there are only a few bigger action sports companies who have a large enough presence to drive retail, and Nike was one of them.

Stud snowboarders and big budgets made Nike monsters — monsters that are now crawling out from underneath the bed and calling it quits. Photo: Thomas Bradley

Stud snowboarders and big budgets made Nike monsters — monsters that are now crawling out from underneath the bed and calling it quits. Photo: Thomas Bradley

Nike’s Decision Could be Based on Climate Trends
This one is mostly speculation, but the suits at Nike are no dummies, and they understand that if there is no snow than there will be no market place to sell their snowboarding product. Business growth has stalled a bit in the snowboard vertical and many retailers and resorts are point at global warming as a major factor. Nike may or not be consciously worried that all the snow is disappearing, but they are certainly well aware of the current global warming issues and have probably put two and two together.

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Is the long-term forecast partly to blame? For the sake of all of us, let's hope not. Photo: Protect Our Winters

Is the long-term forecast partly to blame? For the sake of all of us, let’s hope not. Photo: Protect Our Winters

If nothing else, I hope this helps you process the death of Nike snowboarding and maybe offers you some new insights into the snowboard industry. If not, well, at least you still have Adidas to either love or hate.

For more of Matthew Vanatta’s musings, be sure to follow him on Twitter.

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