From January 25 – January 28, Denver was host to Outdoor Retailer, the largest Outdoor Retail Expo in the world. This year, there were over 1,000 brands in attendance, from the heavyweights North Face, Spyder, and Patagonia, to smaller regional and local vendors. Over 11,000 registered retail buyers from 50 countries filled the conference center, on the hunt for new ideas, gear, and insight to the major trends and new tech for outdoor retailers.
This year in particular was a year of firsts for Outdoor Retailer. Last year, Outdoor Retailer left their long time home of Salt Lake City, Utah. This was caused by a major difference of opinion over the use of public lands, particularly Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. After a brief search, Outdoor Retailer naturally landed in Denver, Colorado, right at the footsteps of the Rocky Mountains and within driving distance of many ski resorts and national parks. The second major change was the merger of SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show with Outdoor Retailer.
This combination has moved Outdoor Retailer from simply an exhibition of cool, new tech and apparel for the industry into a position of providing important information to retailers and expo participants. This focus on education was in full effect, as each day was chock full of seminars and round tables to discuss issues as broad as climate change and as narrow educating customers on snow safety practices. If attendees didn’t want to step off the three floors of exhibits in the Colorado Convention Center, there were also resources available on the floor. The Camp was the open education area, covering its own array of topics including merchandising and community engagement. There was also a Trend + Design Center, focused on the fashion and consumer trends being seen in the industry. Finally, there was the Ranger Station, which focused on providing curated content from Venture Out about merchandising, collaboration, and industry trends.
But education wasn’t the only thing going on, as most people came to the show looking for the next big thing to add to their stores. In new technology and gadgets, there was a wide array of interesting finds. Oakley and Spy Optic both released electrochromic goggles that allow users to change the tint of their goggles with the flip of a switch, providing an alternative to slower photochromic lenses or manually changing lenses out. Additionally, Dynafit and Fischer both showcased a new unique ski boot. The boots are specifically designed to have greater flexion when walking in them, which means the awkward ski boot waddle could soon be a thing of the past.
For apparel, there were a number of impressive displays. Fusion Specialties was proud to showcase many brands, including The North Face, Carhartt, and Fjallraven.
However, while the tried and true brands got plenty of room to strut their stuff, a number of smaller brands, newcomers, and international brands also made a splash. Tipsy Elves, known for their off-beat sweaters, showed off a number of new brightly colored ski suits. Spyder, long time designer for the US Winter Olympics team, also showed off the gear that our athletes will wear in the upcoming Olympics in South Korea.
If you didn’t have the opportunity to make it the inaugural Denver Outdoor Retailer, don’t worry! The Outdoor Retailer Summer Market will start on July 23 and the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market will start on November 8. If you want to keep your finger on the pulse of the outdoor industry, we hope to see you just down the road in Denver!