Outdoor Retailer closed a successful 2007 Winter Market with a record 17,973 total attendees, up 24% from 2006*. The largest Winter Market to date attracted 5,602 buyers, up 14% from 2006*, who toured a show packed with innovative gear, apparel, accessories, footwear, educational events and hundreds of new exhibitors.
“There was a plethora of energy throughout the entire show,” stated Peter Devin, group show director for Outdoor Retailer. “The increase of floor space, new exhibitors and attending buyers all signal a healthy show, and we're grateful for the opportunity to host this vibrant marketplace.”
The first Winter Market in the expanded Salt Palace Convention Center housed a total 815 exhibitors, including 274 new exhibitors and 152 expanded booth presentations. Many exhibitors, such as Merrell, Snowpeak, Keen and Crocs designed larger booths to show more of their line to more buyers in an ideal merchandising space.
George Curleigh, director of North American wholesale for ArcTeryx said, “We had to expand based on show demand, both for the size of our line and the number of meetings we had at the show. Its been a great show for us and weve got a lot of momentum going for the brand.”
First-time exhibitor Grant Dupré of Scapegoat reported, “Well absolutely be back. For us, this is the first of many shows here at OR. The reception has been great and everyone thats come by has been warm and welcoming.”
Sustainability was the hot-button topic at Winter Market, illustrated through pervasive “green” products, exhibitor announcements, new recycled-paper show badges, sustainability seminars and many industry awards. The show kicked off with the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Industry Breakfast featuring keynote speaker Jill Bamburg, dean of the Sustainable MBA Program at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute. Bamburg praised the outdoor industry for its continued commitment to sustainable business practices and urged a record crowd of 620 to take brand-focused steps toward sustainability in the years to come.
Throughout the four days of the show, a number of exhibitors announced sustainable practices initiatives for the New Year. prAna announced plans to expand its Natural Power initiative to Canada and Europe, and Patagonia announced plans to recycle garments manufactured by competitors through its Common Threads Recycling Program.
“We took a huge step this year with our Common Threads recycling program,” said Coley Glasgow of Patagonia. “Any customer who has a Polartec garment can bring it back to us and well recycle it into new Patagonia clothing.”
Other exhibitors incorporated sustainability into the design of their booths this year. Erika Bruhn, marketing manger at Keen, reported that Keens booth reflected the companys award-winning Hybrid.Think brand initiative. Bruhn explained that Keen has moved to a trade show booth that has cardboard pillars, a recyclable Tyvec graphic platform and a recycled floor.
Outdoor Industry Association sponsored the Carbon Neutral Challenge throughout the show, with a goal of attracting 10% of the attendees to offset the carbon emissions caused by their travel to the show. Several companies, including GoLite, Timberland and Merrell, and countless small businesses offset the carbon emissions generated by their travel to and from the show.
“The response to the Carbon Neutral Travel Challenge was incredible. Final participation numbers are still being determined, but the enthusiasm demonstrated – and the number of tons of CO2 offset – by the industry surpassed our expectations,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, OIA president.
Winter Market 2007 highlighted growth in a number of outdoor segments including telemark skiing, Nordic skiing, performance-lifestyle apparel, footwear and even paddlesports.
While paddlesports has not traditionally had a presence in years past, first-time winter exhibitor Michael Pardy, executive director of the Trade Association of Paddlesports, said that they were thrilled by the positive response at Winter Market. He went on to say that they plan to attend and expand their presence at the winter show for years to come.
Crow Wing Kayakers, another new exhibitor to Outdoor Retailer, also had a wildly successful show. “Many of our potential buyers would not give us time over the phone,” said John Magnuson of Crow Wing Kayakers. “We met with some big accounts and had a great response when they were able to see the products in person.”
The fourth annual Backcountry Base Camp (BBC) at Brighton, held prior to the show on Friday, January 26, attracted a record 1,095 buyer attendees. Sponsored by Mountain Hardwear, Salomon and Yaktrax, the BBC welcomed buyers, media and industry influencers to test products across a wide range of segments, from the latest in beacons and sleds to telemark equipment and snowshoes.
“It was thrilling to see such a strong turnout from the ski mountaineering world, especially Nordic and telemark/alpine touring,” said Kenji Haroutunian, senior account executive for Outdoor Retailer. “Backcountry Base Camp is a one-of-a-kind event focused on wintersports backcountry gear, bringing athletes, key buyers and manufacturers together in the snowy Wasatch range for serious testing of prototype product.”