Outdoors apalooza | SteamboatToday.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Outdoors apalooza

Peter Hall, of Hala Gear, talks shop at the Outdoor Retailer on water demo day in Salt Lake City.
OIA/courtesy

Steamboaters at the tradeshow

Hala Gear

Grip Pro Trainer

Honey Stinger

Sweetwood Cattle Co.

SmartWool

Trespass USA

Point 6

Big Agnes

Chaos Hats

Helinox Campchairs

New products from your favorite local brands showcased

Big Agnes Deer Park Sleeping Bag

Big Agnes’s new 600 fill DownTek™ Deer Park Sleeping Bag is part of its new System bag-pad combo geared for those who want girth, but also might want to carry their bag. Its Park Series Downtek™ bags are big on room, with double zippers and top corner hand pockets that feel like your comforter at home. The Park bags’ unique, quilt-like construction turns your bag into a backcountry bed. $299.95, bigagnes.com

Helinox Camo Chair

Tell your tales and sing around the campfire in comfort in this versatile, low-profile, easy-to-pack camp chair for keeping your backside out of the dirt and your eyes on the sunset. A super comfortable and supportive back and neck rest, along with the simple shock cord poles, make this the must-have chair for just about any occasion. Plus, you can’t beat the camo color scheme. $119.95, bigagnes.com

Creek Company T.Rex

For the perfect float craft for the Yampa, try the new 9’8” T.Rex 9.8 Mini Drifter from Creek Company, a two-person fishing raft weighing just 115 pounds. Ready to drop in anywhere, it fits in the back of a truck or on a roof rack (no trailer required), and is made from heavy duty PVC with a self-bailing floor and 18-inch diameter tubes. The six-chamber craft comes with a custom NRS two-person fishing frame with leaning bar, self-draining high back fishing seat and low back rower’s seat; as well as two-piece, 8-foot-long Carlisle oars. $2,495, creekcompany.com

Hala Gear Rival Line

Built on a platform of durability, stability and maneuverability, Hala Gear hits this year’s OR show with a slew of innovations, highlighted by its new price-point-friendly Rival line – with three new competitively priced boards, including the Yoga-specific Hala Asana and Rival Hoss and Rival Straight Up. It also debuts its Inflatable Composite™ Technology, making its boards lighter and more rigid than ever. $1,079-$1,099, halagear.com

Hog Island SW 16 Skiff

Hog Island Boat Works’ latest offering is the SW 16, a motorized skiff which poles, rows and motors in the shallows. Made of tough, rotomolded polyethylene, it comes with molded-in inserts for plug and play accessory mounting and configures quickly. Options include poling platform, oar locks, casting platforms, anchor system, trolling motor mounts and rod storage. Rated for a 40-horse motor, it measures 16’4”, with a 78” beam and 54” floor. $5,950, hogislandboatworks.com

Point 6

Boot Medium Mid-Calf

Made in the USA, Point 6 uses merino wool fibers combined with state-of-the-art spinning and knitting to create socks perfect for hunting. Its Boot Medium Mid-Calf (wool 70 percent, spandex 3 percent nylon 27 percent) comes with a lifetime guarantee and offers cushioning around the entire leg and foot, with extra cushion on the instep to provide support and protection against pressure points from heavier footwear. The cozy, next-to-skin wool insulates the foot from hot spots and blisters, while its compact-spinning process keeps it soft, non-itchy and durable. $23.95, point6.com

Smartwool Hunt Medium Crew

Smartwool’s Hunt Medium Crew carries a medium full cushion leg and foot with SmartWool fit system, arch and ankle support and flat knit toe seam. Made from 65 percent Merino Wool, 34 percent nylon and 1 percent Elastane, they’ll keep your feet warm, breathing and cozy over hill and dale. $18.95, smartwool.com

Chaos Kids CTR Aqua Torrent

This new kids line from Chaos features a multitude of proactive fabric, color and prints for youth, as well as new, smaller sizes up to tweens, as illustrated in the Summit Junior Torrent, which comes with a waterproof/breathable shell, sealed seams, moisture wicking sweatband, removable chin cord, floatable brim and one-handed size adjustment system. $28, chaosheadgear.com

Trespass

Men’s Kumar DLX Rain Jacket

Also available in the women’s Martina, this high-performance rain jacket comes with an adjustable, zip-off hood, water-repellent front zip, underarm ventilation zips and welded lower pockets with water repellent zips. It’s made from a woven shell of 100 percent polyester TPU membrane, with a polyester lining. $199, trespass-usa.com

Alphabetical sampling of local outdoor businesses

With an educated workforce, easy airport access and great product-testing grounds right out the office door, Steamboat Springs is a true hotbed of outdoor businesses. “They’re a very major driver of the community that decreases our reliance on tourism dollars and offers year-round employment and quality wages,” said Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association CEO Jim Clark. “With more than our share of outdoor businesses calling Steamboat home, it makes town have a much more balanced economy.”

Adventure Hounds

Founded by competitive ski racer SaRa Gezon and John Bowers, who recently graduated from Colorado State University with degrees in marketing and sustainability, Adventure Hounds offers lifestyle apparel, while enriching the lives of shelter dogs. With a line of shirts, sweaters, neck warmers, beanies and more, it donates 20 percent of its monthly sales to different animal shelters. “We have two passions: spending time outside and dogs,” said Gezon. “Our donation helps provide sheltered dogs with food, shelter, caretakers, grooming and other necessities to help find them a home.”

Big Agnes

Founded in 2000, Big Agnes is an award-winning tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad manufacturer headquartered downtown. Since its inception, it’s won multiple Editor’s Choice awards from national magazines and has grown to harbor more than 600 North American retailers, including EMS and REI, where it has become the co-op’s number one outsourced tent brand. Employing nearly 40 people locally, the company is also in 10 international markets throughout Asia and Europe. “Steamboat is a great place to be based,” said co-founder Bill Gamber. “You couldn’t ask for a better place to test our gear.”

Boa Technology

Founded in 1998 by Gary Hammerslag, Boa Technology builds dialed, reel and steel cable closure systems for tightening everything from recreational footwear to medical supplies. The system can be found on a third of the world's snowboard boots, as well as 100 brands in more than 15 categories. With its main office now housed in a new 23,000-square-foot facility in Denver, Steamboat still houses an outsourced medical branch.

Cogma Bikewear

Cogma Bikewear is fueled by passion for pedaling. Founders and competitive cyclists Karen Tremaine and Clint Ball began as bike apparel makers in 2011, producing comfortable and “slightly rebellious designs.” “Ours is a lifestyle brand,” said Ball. “The foundation we build from is that we actually live the mountain-town lifestyle. Product ideas come from our daily experiences and friends. We get to play and work outside in our backyard every day. We feel lucky to be here.”

Creek Company

In 1982, Steamboat locals Dave Gowdy and Chris Timmerman invented the Quick Float to inflate float tubes for fishing high-alpine lakes. In 1986, they added the open-front float tube U-Boat to its offerings. Recently celebrating its 25th anniversary, Creek Company is now a market leader in the high-end personal flotation craft category, manufacturing pontoon boats, float tubes, tackle bags, flyfishing accessories, and more. "Having our business here has been a great inspiration for all we do,” said Gowdy. “When it comes to R&D we can test our product in a matter of minutes.”

Hala Gear

Design. Adventure. Better. That’s the premise behind stand-up paddleboard company Hala Gear, founded in 2010. The company offers an innovative line of inflatable stand-up paddleboards and accessories, testing its wares daily on the Yampa River. “We wanted to make a better paddleboard that was stable and performed well,” said founder Peter Hall. Hall manufactures the boards overseas, with distribution centers in Steamboat, Seattle and California. “They’re stable enough for everyone,” Hall said, “from grandparents to the younger generation.”

Hog Island Boat works

Hog Island Boat Works, based along the Yampa River, introduced the world’s first rotomolded drift boat to the fishing market in 2007. The company now produces a full line of rotomolded drift boats, available with trailer, anchor and other accessories, as well as a new line of equally accessorized rotomolded, motorized skiffs. “We make performance roto-molded boats that can go anywhere,” said founder Johnny St. John. “And it’s great to do it all out of Steamboat, where you can wet a line during lunch break.”

Honey Stinger

Founded in 2002 by Big Agnes co-founder Bill Gamber, energy food company Honey Stinger has grown to more than 40 local employees. While the company’s original line of honey-based energy gels arose as a natural, long-lasting energy source for endurance athletes, it now also produces bars, chews, waffles and gels. The company’s best seller, the Stinger Waffle, improves upon the popular stroopwafel racers use in Europe. The company is on track to double its sales again this year. “It’s another great company to be based in Steamboat,” said Gamber. “We use the product every day.”

Kent Eriksen Cycles

Kent Eriksen helped introduce mountain biking to both the country and Steamboat Springs. Owning bike shop Sore Saddle Cyclery in the 1970s, he founded Moots in 1981 and was elected into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 1996. He later founded Kent Eriksen Cycles downtown, also specializing in titanium bikes (he recently won the Best Titanium Construction award at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show). The company produces up to 200 custom cycles per year. “Steamboat is already a special place to live, and its wealth of biking options make it even better,” said Eriksen.

Moots

Founded in Steamboat in 1981, Moots hand-builds titanium road, mountain and cross bikes, with a staff that lives and breathes cycling. "We’re surrounded by great riding, which inspires us personally and professionally," said marketing manager Jon Cariveau. Moots was recently selected as a Colorado Company to Watch by the State Office of Economic Development. The company also sponsors numerous community programs, from trail work days to cycling teams. "We build the most innovative, high-performance titanium bikes in the industry,” said Cariveau. “We’re proud of them, our team and the town we call home.”

Point 6

Founded by Peter and Patty Duke, who started sock giant SmartWool in 1994, Point 6 is another local company putting Steamboat on the world’s sock map. The company uses merino wool fibers, combined with state-of-the-art spinning and knitting techniques, to create soft merino products built for optimal comfort and performance. It currently has about 15 employees working out of its Steamboat headquarters, serving more than 800 retailers and 20 distributors in 15 countries.

PowerICE

PowerICE is a frozen, hydrating ice bar designed to enhance performance by cooling core body temperature while replenishing lost electrolytes. An all-natural, 1.7-ounce bar contains 30 calories and no high fructose corn syrup, stimulants, artificial colors or artificial flavors. Also catering to the medical field, the product is available in nearly 1,000 grocery outlets nationwide and hundreds of retail locations. In 2014, it received a $515,901 tax credit from Colorado’s Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit program for creating local jobs.

Smartwool

Based out of the old Steamboat Springs Airport building, Smartwool is Steamboat’s leading outdoor brand. Its merino wool apparel was born on a simple belief: keeping feet comfortable on the slopes. It’s since expanded into a complete apparel line, all made from New Zealand merino wool. Owned by VF Corp, the company has received multiple Editor’s Choice magazine awards and continues to lead the merino wool sock and apparel market. Its 400 sock and apparel products — which use enough yarn each year to circle the earth 500 times — enjoy worldwide distribution through more than 6,000 retailers in 40 countries.

Spiffy Dog

Founded in 2002, Spiffy Dog is home to the World’s Most Comfortable Dog Collar. With experience designing climbing gear out of lightweight, quick-drying aerospacer material, its founders applied the material to pet products, and the result is its top-selling dog collar and other pet accessories. “It’s a dog-friendly town and a great location to test our products,” said brand manager Kyle Nelson, whose Air Collar line includes 25 styles and matching leads.

Sweetwood Cattle Co.

Founded by Under Armor co-founder Ryan Wood, Sweetwood Cattle Co.’s mission is to promote American agriculture and the Western way of life. A family owned company, it offers a full array of naturally raised beef products, from all-natural hand-cut steaks sent in reusable, recyclable containers all across the U.S., to award-winning Sweetwood Beef Jerky and its new Sweetwood Fatty, a delicious hickory smoked meat stick. You can find its products all over the country in specialty grocers and stores such as REI and Academy Sports, and it stands behind every order shipped from its Steamboat headquarters.

TALON Grips

TALON Grips targets law enforcement officers and other gun users desiring enhanced grip for their firearms. The company has grown from a basement operation in 2012 to now having five employees with 75 U.S. retailers and three international distributors. Offering 126 different gun model grips in two textures, business is, well, booming. “We never could have imagined it would grow so quickly,” said president Mike Morris, whose company is expanding into iPhone grips, as well. “Steamboat’s a great place to be based. The mountain lifestyle and community are hard to beat.”

Trespass USA

Founded as Jacobs & Turner in Scotland in 1938, and launching Trespass USA in 1984, Trespass is a longtime maker of winter and summer outdoor apparel, opening its U.S. operations headquarters in Steamboat Springs in 2004, where it employs three people. It’s a great place to be based, said operations manager Barbara Clark, for its lifestyle and location. “We’re excited to offer our sprint and summer line to the U.S. market at this year’s OR show,” she said. “And it’s great that Steamboat is so close to the show’s location in Salt Lake City. It’s also a great place to be based for our brand, because we work with companies across the nation.” l

Every year around this time, an exodus ensues from Steamboat Springs to Salt Lake City for the annual Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Tradeshow, held this year Wednesday through Sunday. This season, estimates place as many as 100 locals descending upon the outdoor industry’s biggest gathering, all in the name of meeting with buyers, sellers, media and more.

Bicyclists in Steamboat’s 10th anniversary ride to the tradeshow approach an aid station en route to Salt Lake City. SmartWool/courtesySmartWool/courtesy

New products from your favorite local brands showcased

Big Agnes Deer Park Sleeping Bag

Big Agnes’s new 600 fill DownTek™ Deer Park Sleeping Bag is part of its new System bag-pad combo geared for those who want girth, but also might want to carry their bag. Its Park Series Downtek™ bags are big on room, with double zippers and top corner hand pockets that feel like your comforter at home. The Park bags’ unique, quilt-like construction turns your bag into a backcountry bed. $299.95, bigagnes.com

Helinox Camo Chair

Tell your tales and sing around the campfire in comfort in this versatile, low-profile, easy-to-pack camp chair for keeping your backside out of the dirt and your eyes on the sunset. A super comfortable and supportive back and neck rest, along with the simple shock cord poles, make this the must-have chair for just about any occasion. Plus, you can’t beat the camo color scheme. $119.95, bigagnes.com

Creek Company T.Rex

For the perfect float craft for the Yampa, try the new 9’8” T.Rex 9.8 Mini Drifter from Creek Company, a two-person fishing raft weighing just 115 pounds. Ready to drop in anywhere, it fits in the back of a truck or on a roof rack (no trailer required), and is made from heavy duty PVC with a self-bailing floor and 18-inch diameter tubes. The six-chamber craft comes with a custom NRS two-person fishing frame with leaning bar, self-draining high back fishing seat and low back rower’s seat; as well as two-piece, 8-foot-long Carlisle oars. $2,495, creekcompany.com

Hala Gear Rival Line

Built on a platform of durability, stability and maneuverability, Hala Gear hits this year’s OR show with a slew of innovations, highlighted by its new price-point-friendly Rival line – with three new competitively priced boards, including the Yoga-specific Hala Asana and Rival Hoss and Rival Straight Up. It also debuts its Inflatable Composite™ Technology, making its boards lighter and more rigid than ever. $1,079-$1,099, halagear.com

Hog Island SW 16 Skiff

Hog Island Boat Works’ latest offering is the SW 16, a motorized skiff which poles, rows and motors in the shallows. Made of tough, rotomolded polyethylene, it comes with molded-in inserts for plug and play accessory mounting and configures quickly. Options include poling platform, oar locks, casting platforms, anchor system, trolling motor mounts and rod storage. Rated for a 40-horse motor, it measures 16’4”, with a 78” beam and 54” floor. $5,950, hogislandboatworks.com

Point 6

Boot Medium Mid-Calf

Made in the USA, Point 6 uses merino wool fibers combined with state-of-the-art spinning and knitting to create socks perfect for hunting. Its Boot Medium Mid-Calf (wool 70 percent, spandex 3 percent nylon 27 percent) comes with a lifetime guarantee and offers cushioning around the entire leg and foot, with extra cushion on the instep to provide support and protection against pressure points from heavier footwear. The cozy, next-to-skin wool insulates the foot from hot spots and blisters, while its compact-spinning process keeps it soft, non-itchy and durable. $23.95, point6.com

Smartwool Hunt Medium Crew

Smartwool’s Hunt Medium Crew carries a medium full cushion leg and foot with SmartWool fit system, arch and ankle support and flat knit toe seam. Made from 65 percent Merino Wool, 34 percent nylon and 1 percent Elastane, they’ll keep your feet warm, breathing and cozy over hill and dale. $18.95, smartwool.com

Chaos Kids CTR Aqua Torrent

This new kids line from Chaos features a multitude of proactive fabric, color and prints for youth, as well as new, smaller sizes up to tweens, as illustrated in the Summit Junior Torrent, which comes with a waterproof/breathable shell, sealed seams, moisture wicking sweatband, removable chin cord, floatable brim and one-handed size adjustment system. $28, chaosheadgear.com

Trespass

Men’s Kumar DLX Rain Jacket

Also available in the women’s Martina, this high-performance rain jacket comes with an adjustable, zip-off hood, water-repellent front zip, underarm ventilation zips and welded lower pockets with water repellent zips. It’s made from a woven shell of 100 percent polyester TPU membrane, with a polyester lining. $199, trespass-usa.com

Alphabetical sampling of local outdoor businesses

With an educated workforce, easy airport access and great product-testing grounds right out the office door, Steamboat Springs is a true hotbed of outdoor businesses. “They’re a very major driver of the community that decreases our reliance on tourism dollars and offers year-round employment and quality wages,” said Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association CEO Jim Clark. “With more than our share of outdoor businesses calling Steamboat home, it makes town have a much more balanced economy.”

Adventure Hounds

Founded by competitive ski racer SaRa Gezon and John Bowers, who recently graduated from Colorado State University with degrees in marketing and sustainability, Adventure Hounds offers lifestyle apparel, while enriching the lives of shelter dogs. With a line of shirts, sweaters, neck warmers, beanies and more, it donates 20 percent of its monthly sales to different animal shelters. “We have two passions: spending time outside and dogs,” said Gezon. “Our donation helps provide sheltered dogs with food, shelter, caretakers, grooming and other necessities to help find them a home.”

Big Agnes

Founded in 2000, Big Agnes is an award-winning tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad manufacturer headquartered downtown. Since its inception, it’s won multiple Editor’s Choice awards from national magazines and has grown to harbor more than 600 North American retailers, including EMS and REI, where it has become the co-op’s number one outsourced tent brand. Employing nearly 40 people locally, the company is also in 10 international markets throughout Asia and Europe. “Steamboat is a great place to be based,” said co-founder Bill Gamber. “You couldn’t ask for a better place to test our gear.”

Boa Technology

Founded in 1998 by Gary Hammerslag, Boa Technology builds dialed, reel and steel cable closure systems for tightening everything from recreational footwear to medical supplies. The system can be found on a third of the world’s snowboard boots, as well as 100 brands in more than 15 categories. With its main office now housed in a new 23,000-square-foot facility in Denver, Steamboat still houses an outsourced medical branch.

Cogma Bikewear

Cogma Bikewear is fueled by passion for pedaling. Founders and competitive cyclists Karen Tremaine and Clint Ball began as bike apparel makers in 2011, producing comfortable and “slightly rebellious designs.” “Ours is a lifestyle brand,” said Ball. “The foundation we build from is that we actually live the mountain-town lifestyle. Product ideas come from our daily experiences and friends. We get to play and work outside in our backyard every day. We feel lucky to be here.”

Creek Company

In 1982, Steamboat locals Dave Gowdy and Chris Timmerman invented the Quick Float to inflate float tubes for fishing high-alpine lakes. In 1986, they added the open-front float tube U-Boat to its offerings. Recently celebrating its 25th anniversary, Creek Company is now a market leader in the high-end personal flotation craft category, manufacturing pontoon boats, float tubes, tackle bags, flyfishing accessories, and more. “Having our business here has been a great inspiration for all we do,” said Gowdy. “When it comes to R&D we can test our product in a matter of minutes.”

Hala Gear

Design. Adventure. Better. That’s the premise behind stand-up paddleboard company Hala Gear, founded in 2010. The company offers an innovative line of inflatable stand-up paddleboards and accessories, testing its wares daily on the Yampa River. “We wanted to make a better paddleboard that was stable and performed well,” said founder Peter Hall. Hall manufactures the boards overseas, with distribution centers in Steamboat, Seattle and California. “They’re stable enough for everyone,” Hall said, “from grandparents to the younger generation.”

Hog Island Boat works

Hog Island Boat Works, based along the Yampa River, introduced the world’s first rotomolded drift boat to the fishing market in 2007. The company now produces a full line of rotomolded drift boats, available with trailer, anchor and other accessories, as well as a new line of equally accessorized rotomolded, motorized skiffs. “We make performance roto-molded boats that can go anywhere,” said founder Johnny St. John. “And it’s great to do it all out of Steamboat, where you can wet a line during lunch break.”

Honey Stinger

Founded in 2002 by Big Agnes co-founder Bill Gamber, energy food company Honey Stinger has grown to more than 40 local employees. While the company’s original line of honey-based energy gels arose as a natural, long-lasting energy source for endurance athletes, it now also produces bars, chews, waffles and gels. The company’s best seller, the Stinger Waffle, improves upon the popular stroopwafel racers use in Europe. The company is on track to double its sales again this year. “It’s another great company to be based in Steamboat,” said Gamber. “We use the product every day.”

Kent Eriksen Cycles

Kent Eriksen helped introduce mountain biking to both the country and Steamboat Springs. Owning bike shop Sore Saddle Cyclery in the 1970s, he founded Moots in 1981 and was elected into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 1996. He later founded Kent Eriksen Cycles downtown, also specializing in titanium bikes (he recently won the Best Titanium Construction award at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show). The company produces up to 200 custom cycles per year. “Steamboat is already a special place to live, and its wealth of biking options make it even better,” said Eriksen.

Moots

Founded in Steamboat in 1981, Moots hand-builds titanium road, mountain and cross bikes, with a staff that lives and breathes cycling. “We’re surrounded by great riding, which inspires us personally and professionally,” said marketing manager Jon Cariveau. Moots was recently selected as a Colorado Company to Watch by the State Office of Economic Development. The company also sponsors numerous community programs, from trail work days to cycling teams. “We build the most innovative, high-performance titanium bikes in the industry,” said Cariveau. “We’re proud of them, our team and the town we call home.”

Point 6

Founded by Peter and Patty Duke, who started sock giant SmartWool in 1994, Point 6 is another local company putting Steamboat on the world’s sock map. The company uses merino wool fibers, combined with state-of-the-art spinning and knitting techniques, to create soft merino products built for optimal comfort and performance. It currently has about 15 employees working out of its Steamboat headquarters, serving more than 800 retailers and 20 distributors in 15 countries.

PowerICE

PowerICE is a frozen, hydrating ice bar designed to enhance performance by cooling core body temperature while replenishing lost electrolytes. An all-natural, 1.7-ounce bar contains 30 calories and no high fructose corn syrup, stimulants, artificial colors or artificial flavors. Also catering to the medical field, the product is available in nearly 1,000 grocery outlets nationwide and hundreds of retail locations. In 2014, it received a $515,901 tax credit from Colorado’s Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit program for creating local jobs.

Smartwool

Based out of the old Steamboat Springs Airport building, Smartwool is Steamboat’s leading outdoor brand. Its merino wool apparel was born on a simple belief: keeping feet comfortable on the slopes. It’s since expanded into a complete apparel line, all made from New Zealand merino wool. Owned by VF Corp, the company has received multiple Editor’s Choice magazine awards and continues to lead the merino wool sock and apparel market. Its 400 sock and apparel products — which use enough yarn each year to circle the earth 500 times — enjoy worldwide distribution through more than 6,000 retailers in 40 countries.

Spiffy Dog

Founded in 2002, Spiffy Dog is home to the World’s Most Comfortable Dog Collar. With experience designing climbing gear out of lightweight, quick-drying aerospacer material, its founders applied the material to pet products, and the result is its top-selling dog collar and other pet accessories. “It’s a dog-friendly town and a great location to test our products,” said brand manager Kyle Nelson, whose Air Collar line includes 25 styles and matching leads.

Sweetwood Cattle Co.

Founded by Under Armor co-founder Ryan Wood, Sweetwood Cattle Co.’s mission is to promote American agriculture and the Western way of life. A family owned company, it offers a full array of naturally raised beef products, from all-natural hand-cut steaks sent in reusable, recyclable containers all across the U.S., to award-winning Sweetwood Beef Jerky and its new Sweetwood Fatty, a delicious hickory smoked meat stick. You can find its products all over the country in specialty grocers and stores such as REI and Academy Sports, and it stands behind every order shipped from its Steamboat headquarters.

TALON Grips

TALON Grips targets law enforcement officers and other gun users desiring enhanced grip for their firearms. The company has grown from a basement operation in 2012 to now having five employees with 75 U.S. retailers and three international distributors. Offering 126 different gun model grips in two textures, business is, well, booming. “We never could have imagined it would grow so quickly,” said president Mike Morris, whose company is expanding into iPhone grips, as well. “Steamboat’s a great place to be based. The mountain lifestyle and community are hard to beat.”

Trespass USA

Founded as Jacobs & Turner in Scotland in 1938, and launching Trespass USA in 1984, Trespass is a longtime maker of winter and summer outdoor apparel, opening its U.S. operations headquarters in Steamboat Springs in 2004, where it employs three people. It’s a great place to be based, said operations manager Barbara Clark, for its lifestyle and location. “We’re excited to offer our sprint and summer line to the U.S. market at this year’s OR show,” she said. “And it’s great that Steamboat is so close to the show’s location in Salt Lake City. It’s also a great place to be based for our brand, because we work with companies across the nation.” l

This year’s pilgrimage includes local manufacturers looking to showcase their new wares, outdoor retailers sniffing out new products to carry for the upcoming season, members of public relations firms, independent reps, athletes and more — all conducting business in a festive setting while attending seminars, workshops and obligatory parties. At least nine local outdoor companies are exhibiting at this year’s show.

“It’s a great gathering of the outdoor tribe,” said Paige Boucher, attending the show as founder of Inside-Out PR, whose clients include The North Face, Mystery Ranch packs and Mojo, a solar-powered speaker company. “People migrate there from all over the world to see each other and conduct business.”

And despite all the revelry, that’s the bottom line. “The show allows small brands a level playing field with larger brands and delivers an audience that all brands need,” said former show director Kenji Haroutunian, adding it’s just as important for smaller brands from towns such as Steamboat as for larger corporations. “The opportunities are comparable, regardless of a brand’s size or marketing budget.”

Companies attending from Steamboat include such larger companies as Smartwool, Honey Stinger and Big Agnes, as well as smaller businesses, such as Point6, Sweetwood Cattle Company and stand-up paddleboard company Hala Gear. They’re joining nearly 1,500 other exhibitors on the show floor.

“Outdoor Retailer is an integral part of our business,” said Honey Stinger outdoor sales manager Nate Bird, adding that nearly 20 employees from Big Agnes and Honey Stinger make the migration every summer. “The face time and product exposure we get with buyers is invaluable. It’s a huge opportunity to have sit downs with key account buyers and showcase new products we’d like to get into stores. Every show, we end up with new dealers and expanded SKU sets in existing accounts.”

Smartwool also sends a large contingent to the show, taking advantage of the show’s proximity to Steamboat. With former SmartWool president Mark Satkiewicz’s triathlon background, it also takes a unique route to Salt Lake City. This year marks the 10th year SmartWool employees have ridden bicycles to the show, more than 300 miles away in Salt Lake City, with media and other guests.

“The Outdoor Retailer trade show is really significant for us,” said Dane Howell, vice-president of North America wholesale sales and marketing. “It’s where we connect with retailers and industry partners, highlight products for next year and sell-in. We value the time to strengthen relationships within the industry.”

Hala Gear, a maker of inflatable stand-up paddleboards — is also using Steamboat’s proximity to attend OR this year, including the on-water demo day, offering retailers a chance to sample its wares first hand.

“We got a lot of retailers onto our boards at the demo day,” said President Peter Hall, touting the company’s new price-point Rival line. “There’s no way we could have done that without attending.”

Chaos and CTR Headwear, which bases its customer service and shipping operations in Steamboat, is another company attending the show. “As both a local brand to Steamboat and a growing national brand, it is critical for us to attend the Outdoor Retailer show and connect directly with retailers from all corners of the U.S. and international outdoor shops,” said Gary Supple, U.S. director for both brands. “We learn about new trends and emerging hat brands and make new connections for the future. And, we love being located in the Rockies, where we get to test our products every day. If the product can perform for us here, it can perform for our customers anywhere.”

Buyers have as much to gain at the show as manufacturers, with several local retailers making the trek to better stock their shelves. “OR is very important to us,” said Ski Haus manager Murray Selleck. “It’s our chance to find what’s new out there. We already know what sells well; what we really go for is to find the unique, up-and-coming companies pushing the envelope of design and presenting new ideas.”

But it’s not all business; some people attend for accolades and others, for the social aspect. This year, local Luke Kimmes made the journey to receive the Expedition of the Year Award from Canoe & Kayak magazine for his team’s 2015 Rediscover North America Expedition, which saw them canoe 5,200 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean. And local Barry Smith, who has attended the show ever since opening Mountain Sports Kayak School 35 years ago, uses it to suss out new kayak and SUP offerings to use on the Yampa River, but also to brush elbows with fellow boaters “I go to see all the new equipment, but also, to see all my old friends,” he said. “It’s a pretty unique gathering place for people in the industry.” l


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.
 

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User