In 1982, Snow+Rock was born from an obsession with snowsports, and that obsession continues to drive everything we do. We're proud to be pioneers in our industry, only bringing you quality gear from the best brands in the business, from major players to future favourites. This is the story of the pioneering roots we grew from, and how we got to where we are now.
The Snow+Rock story begins with Mike Browne and Sharon Campbell, who met whilst working as sales assistants at Alpine Sports on Kensington High Street. 18-year-old Sharon worked Saturdays before going travelling, and while she was away, Mike set up competition across the road. He named his shop Snow+Rock.
"I wrote to Mike from Indonesia asking for a job", explains Sharon. "He told me to come home right away and work for him as a buyer. I had no experience, so he also hired a trained buyer, Elizabeth, who would coach me over the coming months."
Sharon skiing in the 80s
Mike and Sharon at our Chertsey store launch on 21st October 2016
Sharon remembers "Elizabeth dealt with the numbers but didn't have my eye for skiwear. I knew that I wanted to buy high-end brand Bogner, and we managed to snap up tickets to their fashion show - the biggest and best show at ISPO which everyone wanted to attend! After the show, we made an appointment to express our interest in buying the brand. Many brands had refused to sell to Snow+Rock, with Alpine Sports directly across the road, but Bogner invited us to their showroom with the champagne flowing!
The rep came out with a big order book, and wanted to show us the full range, but I'd seen a white women's one-piece suit which retailed for £1,500 (nearly £5,000 in 2018). Elizabeth told the rep we wanted to buy the suit in three sizes - one size 10, one 12, one 14 - and that's all we could afford. It was so embarassing because they were expecting us to spend a lot of money, but Elizabeth calmly explained that we were a new company and would be back the following year to buy more".
The following autumn, Sharon sold all three Bogner suits at the Ski Show, cementing Snow+Rock's reputation as the go-to retailer for people who were passionate about snowsports. Our quickly-expanding dominance and eye for introcuign new brands to the UK, and the closing down of Alpine Sports, swiftly made us a market leader, and in 1985 our first catalogue was launched.
By 1991, Snow+Rock had 9 stores nationwide and an equipment range so extensive, it had its own catalogue. 1999 saw us become one of the first UK retailers to sell online. And whilst equipment tech has moved on, our goal remains exactly the same: to bring our customers nothing but the best snowsports apparel and equipment out there.
Today, Snow+Rock's buyers bring Sharon's instinct for great gear to work every day, knowing exactly what our customers want over a year before they know it themselves. The buy for a season begins around 18 months before it drops online and in our stores, with our experts testing the latest innovations from the market's biggest players and handpicking the new range, making sure there's something for every skier and boarder. And that's what sets us apart: we're out there with you, testing the gear in its natural environment, finding out for ourselves what's going to perform out there every time.