Yeah, we know gas prices are off the charts, the economy is swerving all over the road, and the state of the outdoor market is at best, weird, but for those of you making the trek to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market to see friends, network with comrades new and old, and discover that one new thing that will make your year, we'd recommend you take the time to enjoy the following Outdoor Retailer events: Open Air Demo and the Industry Party.
Open Air Demo
Let's start with the Open Air Demo. Water is high this year and, as a result, the beach is much smaller at the demo. There are some manufacturers who've even griped that Outdoor Retailer should have known better and why don't they move the event back to past locations. To that we say a collective: Get over it. The Port Ramp Property on Pineview Reservoir is ideal not just for paddling, but also for its access to trails and climbing, making it perfect for all outdoor activities, not just paddling. A little less beach and a lot more water is a plus in our opinion.
What also makes Pineview ideal is the transportation to and from the event. For the first time, everyone will be able to ride free to the event from anywhere in downtown Salt Lake City. First, stop by the Salt Palace Convention Center to register and receive your official show badge (yes, you do need a stinkin' badge). Next, jump onto a Trax trolley to the Salt Lake City Central Station where you will connect with the new FrontRunner train for a one-hour ride to Ogden. Shuttles will be running regularly between the Ogden train station and the Open Air Demo, meaning it is much easier than ever to come and go as you please without having to wait for the one or two busses that match up with the early morning or late afternoon departures.
There's climbing to be had too, and that means paying homage to Jeff Lowe, who, with Ogden Climbing Parks and in cooperation with the Snowbasin Mountain Guides, will be conducting climbing clinics at the Open Air Demo on Aug. 6 at 2 p.m. and Aug. 7 at 11 a.m.
If you are looking for a little something more, beginners and expert climbers alike will be shuttled to Snowbasin, where a gondola will provide transport up to the Needles Lodge, so climbers can enjoy four pitches of moderate (5.5) high-country quartzite slabs. Each pitch will be top-belayed by one of Ogden Climbing Parks' AMGA-certified guides. All gear provided by Ogden Climbing Parks, including shoes, harnesses, helmets, ropes and hardware. Bring a light rain jacket, fleece hoodie, butt-pack and water.
Show director Kenji Haroutunian told us early in 2007 it was going to be his mission to bring more life, energy and events to Outdoor Retailer, and he's upping the ante yet again by offering what is being dubbed the Wasatch Whitewater Chute-Out on Thursday, Aug. 7, from 10 a.m. to noon. He told us Outdoor Retailer worked closely with the city of Ogden, the National Forest Service, Utah Water & Power District, the Ogden CVB and local paddlers, as well as the paddlesports advocacy groups, to bring this event to life. In a major show of cooperation between the city, state and Outdoor Retailer, there will be a temporary release of water, which will ensure the flow of water on the normally placid Ogden River is a Class IV-worthy 450 cfs. This paddling showdown will feature an 8-ball style competition pitting four racers each heat against a pinball trying to knock them off their course. Video will be shot and played by Ogden to promote recreation in their city, as well as Outdoor Retailer on its website -- ensuring plenty of opportunity to feature brands, boats and a great deal of whacky moves and "oh my" moments.
True, we've not been all that high on the past several parties, and this one was shaping up to be, well, just OK with a DJ providing music, until Redwood Creek stepped in and agreed to sponsor Rusted Root, an A-list band, to play at Summer Market. We can tell you that this band matches the industry vibe in terms of music and soul perfectly. The event will also provide a perfect stage to recognize Redwood Creek's advocacy program to recognize outdoor programs at work. Called the "Greater Outdoors Project," it will give a $50,000 grant to one deserving outdoor advocacy non-profit committed to getting people onto trails and waterways in our wild lands. The winning organization will be unveiled at the Industry Party, just before Rusted Root takes the stage.