In addition to beacons, Backcountry Access provides airbags, shovels and other emergency gear. Courtesy BCA

Outdoor showcase takes on Denver

DENVER — The Outdoor Retailer is opening the doors to its 2020 business-to-business outdoor sports trade show Jan. 29-31 at Denver’s Colorado Convention Center.  Retailers and manufacturers are ready to make some deals, talk about innovations and introduce new products — aiming to stay ahead of the curve in the $800 billion industry.

“We have over 1,000 exhibitors and brands and are going to max out three levels of the Convention Center,” said Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer show director and senior vice president.  OR moved the tradeshow from Salt Lake, Utah, to Denver in 2018.

“The value of a national show is that it brings the community together and allows retailers to think about how to do business and discover new brands and products.”

The Snow Show also features seminars on topics important to the industry.  The January show will include presentations on trends, issues facing retail and how to grow a business.  Sustainability is always a topic of interest, according to Nicholson.

“This year we’ve taken steps to reduce our carbon footprint by eliminating aisle carpets and the sale of plastic bottles.”

Jake Thamm, co-founder of Crescent Moon Snowshoes in Boulder, has attended the show for 23 years consistently.  “It’s the single largest and most important show for us to reconnect with our retailers, introduce new products, see the competition and celebrate the industry.”

He sees the show as an opportunity  for the industry as a whole to review and recommit to its policies around protecting the world that supports its business — the outdoors.  “The outdoor industry for a long time has been environmentally conscientious about products, the way we make them and the way they’re sold and used — so it’s a platform for that as well.”

Avalanche beacons are among the gear available from Backcountry Access. Courtesy BCA

In support of environmental attentiveness, all the aluminum that Crescent Moon uses in its production is recycled.  When the company’s foam shoes are ready to be retired, they can be recycled through participating Nike programs.

“We also recycle 100 percent of our waste, and our facility in Boulder uses wind-powered electricity to run the shop,” he added.

Dave Schaeffer, co-founder of Boulder’s HIMALI and its outdoor clothing and equipment line, aims to pick up retail partners, build wholesale accounts and continue building networks with other outdoor companies, athletes and investors at the Snow Show.  “We’re lucky to have it in Denver instead of still in Utah time-wise, physically and financially from hotels and transporting all our goods,” he said.

This show is Schaeffer’s third.  Going into it initially felt intimidating.  “You’re stacked up against a lot of bigger dogs but then I realized that there’s a lot of friendship in this industry.  I’ve actually made friends with some of my biggest competitors from going to these shows.”

His advice to show-goers is to have goals, a plan and appointments  in place before walking in to the event.  “It’s easy to get caught up in the size of everything and get distracted with everything that’s going on there.”

Like a lot of exhibitors, HIMALI will be introducing new products at the event.  With a line of about 20 styles, the brand is still small so making connections pays off.  “For us it’s been just about sticking to it slow and steady and sales have grown over time,” he said. 

HIMALI products are manufactured in China and Vietnam with efforts to get production going in Nepal. The company invests 5 percent of net proceeds into the Himalayan region supporting schools and fueling initiatives that provide clean water.

Backcountry Access co-founder and vice president of marketing Bruce Edgerly has been going to Outdoor Retailer shows for 25 years.  The Boulder company manufactures snow safety equipment — from avalanche airbags to safety gear for backcountry snowmobilers.

BCA was acquired by K2 Sports in 2013.  “Now we just meet with the top five retailers, and our reps meet with everybody else,” Edgerly said, adding that its reps work mainly from the K2 booth. 

Branding, meeting with media and athletes and seeing what everyone else is doing are more of the reasons he attends the show now.

In addition to introducing new products at the event, one of Edgerly’s goals is to launch BCA’s new international presence. “We’re modernizing our brand.  We’ve got new blood here and we’re rebooting the next decade so we have a new tradeshow booth and new products,” he said.  “K2 Sports is investing in our product development and marketing,  and it’ll be evident at this show.”

BCA’s Boulder shop employs 35 people who handle electronic product development, sales, marketing, purchasing and customer service.  They also assemble the company’s trackers onsite.  Most other products are made in Taiwan and China.

DENVER — The Outdoor Retailer is opening the doors to its 2020 business-to-business outdoor sports trade show Jan. 29-31 at Denver’s Colorado Convention Center.  Retailers and manufacturers are ready to make some deals, talk about innovations and introduce new products — aiming to stay ahead of the curve in the $800 billion industry.

“We have over 1,000 exhibitors and brands and are going to max out three levels of the Convention Center,” said Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer show director and senior vice president.  OR moved the tradeshow from Salt Lake, Utah, to Denver in 2018.

“The value of a national show is that it brings the community together and allows retailers to think about how to do business and discover new brands and products.”

The Snow Show also features seminars on topics important to the industry.  The January show will include presentations on trends, issues facing retail and how to grow a business.  Sustainability is always a topic of interest, according to Nicholson.

“This year we’ve taken steps to reduce our carbon footprint by eliminating aisle carpets and the sale of plastic bottles.”

Jake Thamm, co-founder of Crescent Moon Snowshoes in Boulder, has attended the show for 23 years consistently.  “It’s the single largest and most important show for us to reconnect with our retailers, introduce new products, see the competition and celebrate the industry.”

He sees the show as an opportunity  for the…