The Outdoor Retailer Snow Show got underway Tuesday in Salt Lake City, Utah, with a series of events, educational sessions, lots of line showings in brand booths, and a nighttime block party complete with a drum line, food trucks, a beer garden, and an aerial trampoline performance.
We spoke with a lot of brand leaders at the show, and most of the feedback was positive, even though the show was smaller than in pre-COVID times.
Several brand executives we spoke with said they had been pleasantly surprised by the retail meetings they had on Day One.
“It’s been busier than expected,” said Mark Ducharme, vice president of sales at Baffin. “We had felt that attendance was going to be down dramatically, but that has not been the case. We’ve been busy so far today.”
Usually, Baffin has a 40 x 40 booth, but opted to scale it back for this show. “We are here because we wanted to support the industry and we have a great connection with the show,” Ducharme said. “We like to be an active member of the outdoor industry.”
In the Venture Out section, which features emerging brands, there was a lot of energy for a good portion of the day.
“We were busy all morning – retailers were definitely coming to Venture Out,” said Chad Crites of OTIS Eyewear.
Some brands at the show are generating excitement with parties in their booths. Groove Life is hosting happy hours during the show, and raffling off prizes such as snowboards, skis, a Yeti cooler, and a trip to Iceland. Their booth was packed late Tuesday afternoon.
We also saw a lot of buzz happening at Jack Wolfskin, which hosted an extensive happy hour that included beer and food.
And despite the uncertain economic climate and the smaller trade show, the outdoor and snow industries have a lot to be thankful for right now, according to Marty Carrigan of Global Sales Guys, which represents Picture, Db Bags, and more.
“You hear all the headlines about a possible recession, inflation, etc. – I don’t think our consumers got the memo,” he said. “They are snowboarding and skiing and playing on the mountains. And as stewards of the outdoor industry, it is our duty to provide our retail partners and consumers with the best possible products. And showing up here is part of that.”
In other parts of the show, over 200 women showed up for the @OR Gather Women + Brunch, a casual networking brunch for women, non-binary, and agender members of the outdoor industry.
The show also debuted a new feature called the Community Corner at Outdoor Retailer that connects organizations, brands, retailers, elected officials, and athletes.
Those participating in the Community Corner conversation on Tuesday included Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, Cotopaxi CEO Davis Smith, Thread Wallets Co-Founder MacKenzie Bauer, and more.
The day ended with the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show Homecoming Block Party, which included live music, a beer garden, and a pep rally.
We’ll have more coverage coming from the show in the next few days, including a product roundup.
See lots of photos from the show floor above in our slide show.