In early September, professionals in the Colorado snow sports industry headed to Washington, D.C. to speak out against President Donald Trump’s summer round of proposed tariffs. Products that could face a potential 25 percent tariff include sports bags, knit has, safety helmets, and ski gloves—items essential to the Colorado industry. Despite these efforts, company leaders are warning consumers to brace for change.
One company in particular, Hestra USA, has been in Golden, Colorado for 13 years. Selling ski gloves, work gloves, and a high-end fashion line, the company loves their location. To keep pace with market trends, sustainability, and durability, the majority of their products are made with leather. The percentage of leather used dictates that this falls under the new tariff code. 85 percent of their line is leather, so it’s going to be very, very impactful for them.
Similarly, Nick Sarent, President of the SnowSports Industries America, says that a tax increase of this size will be a huge blow to the industry. “Our goal is to take these product categories and remove them from the tariff list and get them excluded,” he said in a statement. While industry representatives testify in Washington, D.C., business owners are preparing to increase the cost to consumers. Asking any company to absorb a 25 percent increase is nearly impossible—they don’t have that kind of profit margin.
This tariff has the potential to impact helmet design. In an effort to keep prices low for the consumer, we are expecting to see American companies change the interior helmet lining, thus decreasing their reliance on the materials subject to these high tariffs. If the industry doesn’t shift, the prices will—and skier/snowboarder safety could be at risk.