The Mountain Times

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Darkside snowboards named Regional Retailer of the Year

Owners Bill and Teeta Langlands credit their staff for helping the Darkside snowboard shop earn its third SIA award. Pictured (l-r) Evan Ricker (manager), Teeta Langlands, Bill Langlands and Tyler Mills (manager.)


Darkside Snowboards was recently voted the 2013 SIA Regional Retailer of the Year, the third time it has won this prestigious honor (also received in 2006 and 2008).
Bill Langlands, owner and proprietor of Darkside, which has shops in Ludlow and Stowe as well as on Killington Road, was pleased to win this award, saying it's really a reflection on the staff, quality of service, and activities the shop sponsors as well as the gear he carries.
Langlands also noted that all SIA ski, ski and snowboard, and snowboard specialty shops are in the running for this honor so he has stiff competition.
SIA is the SnowSports Industries America, a national non-profit, North American member-owned trade association representing suppliers and service providers of consumer snow sports with constituents in the retailer, sales rep and resort communities.
Ed Wray, eastern sales and marketing manager for SIA, noted that there are some 225 hardcore specific member stores in New England and that it is indeed remarkable for a snowboard specialty shop to win this award as they are competing against all ski or ski and snowboard shops.
The award itself is based on voting by New England-based sales reps who are given a blank ballot and general guidelines with leeway to vote for the shop they feel is best, Wray noted. Those guidelines include such criteria as sales performance, customer service, product representation, financial responsibility, promotions, and strong social media presence as well as special programs or offerings.
Wray also explained that sales reps are knowledgeable judges who represent multiple brands and products so a "ski rep" could have voted for Darkside.
In noting the shop was very deserving of the award, Wray commented, "There's a difference between selling a customer a board and selling a customer the right snowboard. This differentiates Darkside - they get it right for the customer."
Darkside also received New England Winter Sports Representatives shop award in 2012 and was chosen as the recipient of TransWorld Business Magazine's 2012 Regional Shop for the Northeast.
Asked about the key to Darkside's success, Langlands cited a "commitment to the sport.
We sponsor a snowboard team (ages 12-26) and help set them up with vendors and help get them into events."
Additionally, he noted the Darkside Park - rails, boxes, quarterpipe, etcetera -next to the shop where contests are frequently held.
"Darkside is the only shop in Vermont to win the SIA award three times," Langlands said, adding that "it tells you that when you are going to work every day, you are accepted and respected for your efforts." That includes his staff, he said, noting they are passionate about the sport and know how the boards ride.
That's significant as there have been many technology changes in snowboards, so being familiar with the boards enables staff to match a customer's needs to the snowboard that will work best for them, he explained.
 "Our employees are able to ask the right questions and send them out with a demo board that they know the person will like. That leads to a purchase and a satisfied customer, and most times it just takes one demo," he added.
In addition to receiving a plaque and gift at a special awards presentation at the 2014 SIA Snow Show in Denver, CO, on January 31, Darkside receives a complimentary one-year SIA Retailer membership.
The Mountain Times congratulates Langlands and the entire Darkside team.