If you ask attendees of the biannual Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City what goes on behind the doors of the Salt Palace Convention Center, the answers can sometimes be too wild to believe. But believe it: this Winter Market, whether meeting with top level executives and some of the largest specialty retailers across the world, newbie exhibitors literally making sunglasses out of flowers and feathers, husky sled dogs barking for treats, or beer mugs made of ice, the show never fails to deliver.
Although smaller in scale and volume than Summer Market, the Winter OR vibe stands on its own. Hinged by camaraderie on the hectic show floor, chit chat over the best All Mountain Demo Day run, and a passion for products that just keep getting better, ORWM got off to a quick start. Don’t be fooled by the smaller footprint however. Major players made their presence felt with bright marketing stories and unfettered optimism. At the close of day one, SGB looked back on some of the rub-your-eyes moments that captured the magnificence and madness that is the legendary OR.
Fjällräven sled dogs were playing with attendees at the decked out booth. Snow machine and rustic cabin included…
The A-list of Craghoppers executives made an appearance, including Managing Global Director Jim McNamara (left), Retail Marketing Manager Helen Johnson (middle), and Keith Black (right), CEO and Chairman of Regatta, one of Europe’s biggest outdoor clothing brands.
Osprey had it’s own in-flight chill station, a big prop to complement their line of travel luggage (packs included).
And of course…coffee. United By Blue was back with their aromatic pour over.
Voormi Co-founder and CEO, Dan English caught up with lifelong rancher and Duckworth Co-founder, John Helle.
Some refused to acknowledge the cold and foggy Utah weather, like Superfeet, who held a “Boycott Winter” photo booth and GoPro giveaway.
And on the other side of the show, Sasquatch was enjoying the cooler weather and getting avalanche prepared with BCA.
Vibram and Wolverine showed off their new Arctic Grip sole technology at the U.S. Olympic Training Site in SLC, complete with curling lessons.
Concept Designer and Founder of Schwood sunglasses hand-carved an axe to be raffled off from their Venture Out booth.
Ski nerds were ogling new, more flexible boot options, like these muted neon F1’s at Scarpa.
Outdoor specialty retailers shared their success stories, advice and vendor gripes at the first RISE (Retail Inspired Specialty Excellence) event put on by Outdoor Industry Association, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance and Emerald Expositions.
The North Face was as wild as ever with their sky-high booth design.
Some retailers met behind closed doors with brands like Sorel, to get order set before the show’s close.
Ruffwear pups walked the floor as part of the company’s adoption program. This buddy was already claimed; we did spot an old hound dog that might be up for adoption Day 2. The company takes care of all adoption and transport fees.
Happy Hour hit promptly at 4:30…ok 4…maybe 3:45. Patagonia’s brew came served in a mug made of solid ice.
And there were these guys… adding to the German vibe at Hanwag, which had both beer and pretzel necklaces prepped for tired attendees.
SGB closed Day 1 on the OR show floor with President and CEO of Darn Tough, Ric Cabot. Cabot mentioned some of his favorite brands showing were Patagonia and Arc’teryx. We also had a long chat about authentic growth and the secret to making and marketing the perfect sock.
Marc Cabot, original founder of Cabot Hosiery Mills, which would later become Darn Tough, was alongside at the booth giving a thumbs up.