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Newly Elected Snowsports Industries America (SIA) Board Members and New Board Chair Poised to Deliver Immediate Business Value, Facilitate Long-Term Industry Innovation

March 31, 2022

Four newcomers join as SIA focuses on facilitating industry-wide work to solve immediate business problems, adapt to changing pressures, save and grow

Park City, UTAH (March 31, 2022)/OUTDOOR SPORTSWIRE/ – Four new Directors have been elected to the SIA Board and a new Chair has been appointed, as SIA balances delivering immediate business value and working with its member companies to spot trends that matter, facilitate industry-wide strategy, and innovate to ensure the winter outdoors thrives for future generations.

SIA is thrilled to announce that Michael Akira West (Mike West), founder of 686® technical apparel, is the new Chair of SIA’s Board of Directors. West, a prolific entrepreneur, founded 686® in 1992 from a business plan as a student while enrolled in the USC Entrepreneur Program. Since then, West has co-founded and owned several other lifestyle businesses in the outdoor, action, digital and logistics industries, including New Balance Numeric®, MAEKAN®, Matix®, Westwell® and NRI Distribution®, which is the largest North American 3PL provider in the outdoor and fashion markets. Mike is also an Adjunct Professor at USC Marshall Business School and an avid surfer, snowboarder, runner, yogi and explorer. “My first introduction with SIA was in 1993, one year after I started 686. We were young, driven, yet had no industry experience. In fact, we had to sneak into the show and the North Hall in Vegas where all the action was. We couldn’t afford to have a booth, so we walked the aisles and handed out our Kinko’s copied catalogs. Fast forward three decades later and several rotations around the sun, I was invited to the SIA Board of Directors and now serve as Chair. Since then, I’ve been privileged to work alongside talented industry leaders, resorts and retailers within the winter outdoor industry. My Northstar for SIA is to serve the membership and continually evolve the association well into the future,” states West.

SIA also proudly announces its newly elected Directors – Jonathan Degenhardt, Deuter/ORTOVOX USA; Matt Gold, Christy Sports; Melanie Hood, SCARPA North America; and Issa Sawabini, Fuse.

Jonathan Degenhardt is the Managing Director of Deuter/ORTOVOX USA. A Colorado native who didn’t ski until college, Degenhardt then made skiing the focal point in his life and an element of nearly every professional role in his career, including 12 years in specialty retail and 18 years with wholesale vendors. Degenhardt has worked with the US distribution branches of several European brands and within many departments including Sales, Marketing, Operations and most recently, with the Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility teams. He loves to travel, learn and teach, and most recently has started skiing with his 4-year-old daughter. Jonathan is excited to be part of SIA to give back to the industry that has fostered both his career and passion for skiing.

Matt Gold is the CEO of Christy Sports LLC, one of the leading specialty retailers and service providers for outdoor sports and lifestyle in the U.S. Gold is a passionate leader with strengths in brand management, new business development, sales and marketing, retail and e-commerce, and M&A. He has helped build and grow consumer businesses, brands, and organizations for more than 25 years. Prior to joining Christy Sports, Gold held positions at Amer Sports Corporation, and most recently served as General Manager, Asia Pacific, where he was responsible for the full financial performance, integrated go-to-market operations and overall regional strategy development for the company and its brands and was a member of the company’s Executive Board. Gold is fluent in Japanese and proficient in Mandarin Chinese. Gold is delighted to have the opportunity to serve on the SIA Board as the first representative of specialty retailers & service providers. He sees a plethora of opportunities for enhanced collaboration and activation across our industry and looks forward to driving positive change.

Melanie Hood is the Marketing Director at SCARPA North America. Hood launched her career in the fashion world, working as a consumer merchandiser and in various buying offices, but quickly realized she wanted to work in the winter outdoor industry. She began volunteering as a ski patroller at Winter Park and shortly after became the Director of Marketing and Communications at the National Ski Patrol Association. Four years ago, Hood moved to SCARPA North America to lead their marketing department. Growing up in Colorado, Hood has always found a sense of fulfillment, peace and confidence when outside. She enjoys spending her free time outdoors and working for organizations and companies that help make the outdoors more accessible to everyone. Hood believes we must all do our part for the winter outdoor community to thrive. She feels it’s very important to face the issues that confront our industry head-on, but also take the time to listen to both our members and consumers and move the industry forward by creating compromise, being innovative and being inclusive. Hood is excited to use her sense of adventure to help SIA chart a path for positive industry change and growth.

Issa Sawabini is the co-owner of Fuse and is widely considered one of the foremost marketing experts in youth culture, action and outdoor sports. At Fuse he develops and executes clients’ targeted marketing strategies, brand experiences, creative and content. Over the past twenty-three years, he has developed and implemented successful marketing programs for more than 100 brands, including Mountain Dew, Converse, Gatorade, Amazon, Harley-Davidson, Tik Tok, Burton Snowboards and MasterCraft. Issa is frequently sought out by the media to share his marketing insights and has been featured in outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, Forbes, Vice, PR Week and Ad Age. Issa was named one of the 40 most influential people in sports under 40 years old by Sports Business Journal and Fuse has been named one of the top 50 places to work in the country by Outside on multiple occasions. Issa is extremely excited about collaborating with others in the industry, developing new programs to help grow winter sports and giving more people in more places from more backgrounds an opportunity to enjoy the snow.

SIA is the trade association of the winter outdoor industry. Through SIA membership, brands, destinations, retailers, service providers, and nonprofits solve immediate business problems, adapt to changing pressures, save, and grow. Together SIA and its members spot trends that matter, facilitate industry-wide strategy, and innovate to ensure the winter outdoors thrives for future generations.

SIA welcomes the entire winter outdoor community to join them in pursuit of a more vibrant future for the winter outdoors.

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About SIA

Snowsports Industries America (SIA) is the trade association of the winter outdoor industry. Through SIA membership, brands, destinations, retailers, service providers and nonprofits solve immediate business problems, adapt to changing pressures, save and grow. Together SIA and its members spot trends that matter, facilitate industry-wide strategy and innovate to ensure the winter outdoors thrives for future generations. Founded in 1954, SIA is based in Park City, UT. We are #UnitedByWinter. For more information and to become a member, visit snowsports.org.