Steamboat outdoor companies head to Denver for combined Outdoor Retailer/Snow Show
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Hopefully, another powder storm arrives Jan. 25 to 28. If so, the snow may stay untracked a little longer than usual.
Those are the days an annual pilgrimage ensues from Steamboat Springs to Denver’s Colorado Convention Center for the annual Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show, which this year joins forces with Ski Industry America’s annual Snow Show for the first time ever, making the gathering bigger and better than ever. Estimates place upwards of 200 locals descending upon the trade show this year to meet with outdoor industry buyers and sellers.
“We’re thrilled to be heading to Denver for our largest trade show of the year,” said Smartwool President Travis Campbell. “Much like our consumers choose with their dollars, we’re happy to be supporting a state that understands both the economic and societal value of outdoor recreation. And, since it is so close to home, more of our team will get the invaluable experience of attending the show for at least a day.”
This year’s show will draw such local manufacturers as Smartwool, Point6, Chaos/CTR Headwear, Big Agnes and Honey Stinger looking to showcase new wares, outdoor retailers like Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare and Ski Haus sniffing out new products to carry for the upcoming season, members of public relations firms, independent reps, athletes and more.
At least eight local outdoor companies are exhibiting at this year’s show, where they’ll conduct business in a festive setting while attending seminars, workshops and obligatory parties.
Different “zones” of the show include Venture Out for traditional outdoor wear; Luxe, for premium and luxury outdoor apparel; Scandinavian Village, highlighting Scandinavian brands; Rental World, featuring Alpine, snowboarding and cross-country rental gear; Education, tailored to everything from avalanche awareness to retail trends; and Trend+Design, showcasing innovations in materials and manufacturing.
“Outdoor Retailer is the most important trade show we attend each year as we show our retailers and outdoor media our latest products,” said Big Agnes and Honey Stinger President Bill Gamber. “We’re proud that our home state is now hosting the show, and it’s great for our crew that it’s closer to Steamboat. The merging of the show with SIA gets our products in front of even more store buyers, media and influencers.”
Honey Stinger outdoor sales manager Nate Bird added, “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.”
Included at this year’s sold-out show is a presentation by keynote speaker Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts, at the annual Industry & Intelligence seminar, as well as a new collaboration with Icelantic’s Winter on the Rocks Festival to bring Outdoor Retailer’s annual Fashion Show to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre on Jan 26, in conjunction with a concert by Rick Ross, Jauz Brother Ali, Trev Rich and more. Other events include the Inspiration Awards and the new Night of Stoke, an evening of films and speakers.
“We’re excited for the entire winter sports outdoor industry to come together under one roof,” said SIA Marketing Director Todd Walton. “We are really one industry that is about enabling people to get outside and have fun no matter what season it is.”
Indeed, the two shows joining forces is resulting in savings, synergies and enhanced offerings for attendees and organziers.
“The response to the combined show has been great,” said show director Marisa Nicholson. “We are going to be bursting at the seams with gear. The access to outdoor and snow brands will be unparalleled, as well as the education, networking and event offerings.”
It also represents a chance for attendees to socialize and see one another away from their keyboards.
“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 Wigwam Socks. “People migrate there from all over the world to see each other and conduct business.”
Chaos and CTR Headwear, which bases its customer service and shipping operations in Steamboat, is another company attending the show.
“It’s critical for us to attend to connect with retailers from all corners of the globe,” said Gary Supple, U.S. director for both brands. “We learn about new trends, 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 here, it can perform 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 — especially the unique, up-and-coming companies pushing the envelope of design and presenting new ideas.”
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