What disease did I fear the most prior to 2020? That’s an easy one: the dreaded ISPOla. Spend a few days trawling the grim halls of Munich’s annual trade show, absent of any fresh air, healthy food or natural light, and it’ll get you every time. When the 2021 edition pivoted to an online-only format, few tears were shed. Our immune systems had enough to deal with, after all.
Of course, in the precious hours before the snowboard hall starts to resemble a particularly bleak episode of The Walking Dead, events like ISPO offer patrons a first look at the new and innovative products set to come their way the following winter. With the launch of his outerwear collection, freeride legend Jeremy Jones actually had something worth catching the lurghy for. “It would have been great, actually. It’s been so many years in the making, and we put so much into it, we’re super proud of it. The thought of introducing that and launching it at a show would have been a nice reward.”
“Does the Jones offering have what it takes to shoulder its way into the market? And does it even deserve to?”
As one of the biggest names in snowboarding, just about anything he does is likely to get attention, and will hardly sink or swim based on the number of available hype-building opportunities – so perhaps an ISPO-less launch was no great loss. Even so, this latest enterprise has its work cut out for it. With the high-end outerwear market dominated by a few household-name companies, most of which enjoy the economies of scale that you get by also catering for the skiing and climbing crowds, does the Jones offering have what it takes to shoulder its way into the market? And does it even deserve to?
Jones outerwear is, of course, only the latest arrow in the brand’s quiver. Since the boards and splitboards first appeared in 2009, that familiar mountain peak logo went on to adorn bindings, backpacks, apparel, skins and poles. Producing quality jackets and pants feels like a natural progression; if you’re going to spend hours shuffling up the skin track to reach places where Mother Nature doesn’t mess about, you’d best come prepared.