Outdoor Retailer Chooses New Home

Political disagreements shift destination of largest outdoor industry trade show

PHOTO: Larry Johnson

The Denver Post reported Wednesday morning that Outdoor Retailer chose Denver to host their coveted twice-a-year trade show, beginning in January 2018.

The biannual event brings together brands, shop owners, and outdoor media in a four-day gathering, highlighting upcoming gear and trends in the outdoor industry. In a five-year deal, Denver is expected to see 45,000 attendees and an estimated $45 million a year between both the winter and summer shows.

Earlier this year, Emerald Expositions, owner of Outdoor Retailer, announced that they would be pulling out of their relationship with Salt Lake City, Utah, where they held both shows for 21 years.

Why Outdoor Retailer should have chosen Portland.

The partnership came to an abrupt end in part due to Utah’s political efforts to downsize or shut down recent National Monument designations, namely the 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument created by the Obama Administration last December.

Given massive backlash from the outdoor community, including companies like Patagonia and Black Diamond announcing they would pull out of the trade show, Emerald and their show partner Outdoor Industry Association were given one clear option: find a new home.

While many other cities lobbied to court Outdoor Retailer, including Portland, Denver, as most predicted, emerged as the victorious suitor.

Paving the way for Outdoor Retailer’s move to Denver was Emerald’s announcement in May that they would be acquiring the SnowSports Industries America Snow Show for $16.7 million. The largest winter-sports gathering in the country, SIA’s Snow Show was moved from Las Vegas to Denver in 2011, and has secured a spot in the Colorado Convention Center through 2030.

Now with both Outdoor Retailer and SIA Snow Show under their control, Emerald said they would be holding a June summer Outdoor Retailer trade show and a combined “Outdoor Retailer Snow Show presented by SIA and OIA” in January.

Visit Denver, as well as Emerald’s trade show partner Outdoor Industry Association, based out of nearby Boulder, Colorado, are excited for what the arrival of Outdoor Retailer can do for both Denver and Colorado as a whole. They hope that, like it did for Utah, the trade show will attract more outdoor companies to the state, bolstering Colorado’s growing outdoor industry.