B6- wait- what’s B6 again? Oh yeah, that’s where you can find action sports brands. Too bad not much was happening there.

The rebels from the 90s now present themselves dark, noisy, and uniform amid the new ISPO hall concept Polygon.

“We must remain flexible, focused on ROI, open to standards, yet curious,” according to the official ISPO mission statement. Reality check - Hall B6 looks more like the end of the line for action sports.

Blogger Lounge, Meet & Greet and DJs- wow, that sounds…boring!In recent years, sales figures have been slashed in half. More and more independent snowboarding brands have folded, leaving behind only a whiff of nostalgia instead of the bright future we once envisioned.

Back in 2005, together with my brother and a bunch of crazy Norwegians, I opened my very first exhibitor stand at ISPO. Besides some snowboards and elk jerky, we didn’t have much to offer when we arrived in Munich. We bought an old RV at the junkyard, a paddle pool and fake grass at the hardware store, with which we decorated our ISPO stand. We were all passionate snowboarders and loved the feeling of being on the mountain together.

Snowboarding wasn’t just some hip trend for us- it was our way of life. It was a movement of mavericks who rebelled against societal norms – we found ourselves in the sport we loved.

What happened? Snowboarding is suffering from an identity crisis and has become the victim of its own arrogance. It sold its soul and can’t buy it back. Dear industry: stop telling yourself that the next generation will fix your problems. Get back on the mountain. Feel the board beneath your feet and let it take you back to why we started this journey in the first place - get inspired, get creative.  

Otherwise, snowboarding will have reached the end of the line, and it will all sound like static at a half-empty trade show.


Julius Geis is a renowned expert in identity-based brand positioning for retailers and manufacturers. As CEO of JULIUS GEIS – BRAND AESTHETE® he consults globally successful brands in the sports, fashion and outdoor industry.