The Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show, which debuted for the first time this year in its new home in Denver, drew over 29,000 total attendees, with more than 7,500 verified retail buyers from 60 countries joined with over 1,000 brands for four days.
The show occupied over a half million net square feet and covered all three floors of the Colorado Convention Center, making it the largest show ever staged at this venue. Buyer and other attendance categories surpassed the sum of the 2017 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market and SIA Snow shows when they stood separately.
“Denver exceeded our expectations as the new home for the first Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show, reuniting the outdoor and winter sports communities for the first time in nearly 30 years,” said Marisa Nicholson, vice president and show director for Outdoor Retailer events. “Retailers were able to see key product and trends for Fall/Winter 2018-2020 under one roof, creating an air of anticipation for what’s next. The city of Denver and the state of Colorado laid out the red carpet for our exhibitors, our buyers from around the globe and our team. We couldn’t think of a better place to call home.”
“I was impressed with the scale of the show,” said Mike Adams, newly elected chairman of Snowsports Industries America and commercial director for winter sports equipment for the Americas at Amer Sports. “It provided a close up view of the blending of outdoor and winter sports. The retailers were exposed to both communities under one roof. The comment I heard was, ‘Why didn’t they do this sooner?’ People immediately understood the opportunity and the scale. We loved it and we are putting our deposit down for next year.”
“It’s a tribute to the excitement and energy of the show that one of our store managers elected to come back to the show on Friday rather than go snowboarding as planned,” said Lisa Hollenbeck, co-owner of The Alpine Shop, in Chesterfield, Mo.
Exhibitors agreed. “Best show in three or four years; I was pleased with retailer attendance that appeared to be up considerably,” said Ross Saldarini, CEO and founder of Mountain Khakis. “It was a surprisingly notable, warm and genuinely glad welcome to visitors given by our new friends from Colorado. The combination of SIA and OR added new dealers and a freshness to the great vibes Denver was throwing down. I loved seeing governors, top CEOs, senators and other leaders kicking off each day with excellent thoughtful remarks and ending those same days at venues like Red Rocks, with top entertainers sandwiched several great days. I look forward to coming back in July.”
“The general mood of the show last winter was a little lethargic,” said Scott Russo, vice president, Nordica USA. “This year, with such great attendance and with so many people excited about everything that’s going on, it infected our customers; they came into the booth much more engaged, much more enthusiastic, a lot more positive and a lot more optimistic.”
Outdoor Retailer events are about more than just the booths, with activation areas around the show floor including the Camp, the RANGER Station and the Trend + Design Center that gave attendees the latest insights on trends, advocacy issues, marketing and retail ideas and, of course, products. The Scandinavian Village and the popular Venture Out areas gave attendees the chance to discover new brands in smaller, more curated settings. Events also play a big role in the Outdoor Retailer experience. The Inspiration Awards, presented by adidas Outdoor, recognized Donna Carpenter and Jake Burton Carpenter for their role in pioneering and building the sport of snowboarding at a gala event the first night of the show.
New for this show and embracing the unique opportunities that Denver offered, the public was invited to two events: Outdoor Retailer’s “Whole Mountain” Fashion Show as part of Icelantic’s “Winter on the Rocks” at Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the “Night of Stoke” as part of the Backcountry Film Festival. Each event brought consumers and media in touch with not only the latest products, but also, the innovators, athletes and thought leaders they read about in magazines and follow on social media. The events were an important step in creating and spreading the enthusiasm and engagement between consumers and the outdoor industry.
This first show in Denver set the stage for more to come for Outdoor Retailer’s July and November events.
“We look forward to coming back to Denver for Outdoor Retailer Summer Market this July,” Nicholson continued. “We will see the addition of water sport brands and other accessory brands that didn’t attend this show. The Demo Experience will feature on-water clinics, stand-up paddle board demonstrations, kayaking, trail running and climbing, among other activities. Attendees will see outdoor activations throughout the city of Denver including cycling, camping, running events and outdoor concerts, among many others.”
The third Outdoor Retailer show is scheduled for November 8-11, 2018 and will be the launch event for the 2019 season. Retailers will see the entire range of products available and gather intel about innovations, trends and industry initiatives at the beginning of the buying cycle. They will have more information, see what’s possible and then be able to analyze their sell-through and place their orders according to the appropriate deadlines, maximizing their open-to-buy dollars and minimizing order changes, creating an overall more efficient and effective buying process.
Attendees, as well as those who missed last week’s Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show, may relive the week with photos and video on Outdoor Retailer’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube pages. Registration for Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, July 23-26, 2018, in Denver, Colo., opens in early April.
Photo courtesy Outdoor Retailer