SNEWS will be running regular Outdoor Retailer Winter Market updates through late January. We are doing this as a service to the industry to assist retailers, reps and exhibitors with trade show attendance and planning.
Do you have a trade show event you think is worth noting?
If you have a trade show event that's scheduled, confirmed, and more than just an introduction of a new product (as in, entertaining and educational), fire an email to the SNEWS team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Outdoor Retailer's Industry Party looks awesome this year!
From what the SNEWS team is hearing, the Winter Market 2004 Party should be a rip-roaring good time. This year, OR show management has done it up right with a location and plan that encourages show-goers to attend the party first, then wander to dinners nearby. As always, it will take place directly following the first day of the show -- Friday, Jan. 30, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. What's different this year is that the party is being held off-site, at the Union Pacific Depot (at the Gateway). A party shuttle will be waiting outside the main entrance of the Salt Palace to whisk party-goers to the Depot, or you can walk since it's just three blocks away. Trax (the Salt Lake tram system) also runs down South Temple and can be used to get from the Convention Center to the Depot. Once there, we're told you'll enter into a party theme that will have a lounge feel with dim lighting, low-comfy seating and a live band named PH Balance. The Atlanta-based band apparently combines a "funky, hip-hop with acid jazz" sound. Free food, free beer and hip-hop with acid jazz undertones sounds like a perfect setting for exhibitors and retailers to unwind. The Gateway also houses some of Salt Lake's best restaurants so plan now to hook up with the person OR will have stationed in the lobby of the Salt Palace. That person will assist you with making dinner reservations, and you'll get entered into a raffle for items donated by the trade show sponsors. Best of all, that person will hand you a coupon book that will give discounts to many of the restaurants and stores of the Gateway. We like OR's thinking here -- begin the evening at the Industry Party and then walk right to dinner.
Backcountry Base Camp Update
The event that is replacing the two-day on-snow demo is picking up sponsorship steam, and that is a good thing. SNEWS has just learned that Patagonia has agreed to be the tour guide sponsor. And, in addition to the usual suspects in backcountry ski and snowshoe, add Arc'Teryx, Mountain Hardwear and Salomon. Well, Salomon is a usual suspect but in this case, retailers will be getting a first look at the company's launch of a line of skinny skis. In addition, more activities keep getting tossed on the books, including snowshoe backcountry tours, snow kiting and airboarding (an inflatable boogie-board for the backcountry). We've also learned that The North Face will have one of its elite athletes at the event helping guide climbs up Mt. Millicent -- hmm, perhaps we might see either Conrad Anker or Pete Athans? We continue with our double-thumbs-up salute for the efforts by OR to create an event that is educational and inspirational at the same time. Retailers should be attending this for no other reason than to give their key staff vital hands-on experience with a wide variety of backcountry tools, toys and activities.
Winter Market Busts into the Ballroom
Thanks to expansion efforts on the main floor from companies such as Merrell, Arc'Teryx, Dana Design, Kiva Design and others, as well as a large number of new exhibitors, OR Winter Market is busting into the ballroom with at least 35 exhibitors. Andy Tompkins of OR tells us that they are working very hard to create an environment that will give show attendees a compelling reason to visit the ballroom and we think they're on the right track. The concept is to create a European bistro theme with coffee, snacks and beer in a center island, along with the Internet lounge, all surrounded by exhibitors' booths. Now, wouldn't it be great if Prana had the rejuvenation room in the ballroom, too? Check out a new company, get a beer, read your email, and then mellow out with a bit of yoga or meditation. Yeah, we could get used to that!
Very Important Event!
Please mark your calendars now to attend the Conservation Alliance general membership meeting on Saturday, Jan. 31, at 8 a.m. (the second day of Winter Market). The meeting is open to all outdoor industry retailers, manufacturers and reps. Though the location has not been confirmed as yet, it will likely be in the Marriott Hotel. Watch for posters, fliers and announcements at the show. SNEWS will also be updating you on the exact location.