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Defying a rocky stock market, the twice yearly showcase for the $289 billion outdoor industry opened on a note of high optimism with over 200 new exhibitors and buyers from around the world gathering to preview the latest in footwear, gear, apparel and accessories for next season. Building upon strong sales for the last quarter, new exhibitors joined industry veterans including Black Diamond, Patagonia, Smartwool, and Timberland to kick off this four-day show highlighting new innovations and advancements in the intersecting worlds of outdoor and winter sports. In a related announcement, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), the premier trade association for the active outdoor lifestyle industry, and Nielsen Business Media (NBM), parent company of Outdoor Retailer, announced a 15-year strategic alliance. The show runs Jan. 23-26 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City.
â€œThis year’s show is overflowing with passion, incredible technology, and an extensive array of products designed to move this industry forward by bringing more people into the outdoor community,â€ said Kenji Haroutunian, Outdoor Retailer show director. â€œWe worked very hard to establish an atmosphere that is business friendly but also celebrates the heart and soul of the industry. From backcountry skiing, to state-of-the-art technology, to a renewed commitment to protecting the environment, the show continues to be a proving ground for the best of the best.â€
For the first time, Backcountry Basecamp was hosted by Snowbasin Resort where buyers could demo innovations in boots, bindings, eyewear, skis, snowshoes and winter sports apparel and accessories. â€œBackcountry is clearly at a tipping point,â€ continued Haroutunian. â€œThe category reflects the energy of the next generation of consumers, and has ignited the wintersports marketplace.â€
Today’s opening breakfast, co-hosted by Outdoor Retailer and the Outdoor Industry Association, featured industry awards for the: 2008 Business Innovator awarded to Horny Toad’s dealer toolbox for small format companies; Timberland’s Green Index for large format companies; and the 2008 Ambassador Award was awarded to Mountain Gear for small format companies and the Sierra Club for large format companies.
Keynote speaker Michael Wood of TRU Youth Research Firm engaged the audience with his analysis of millennials, today’s youth ages 12-19, who are consumed with technology and inundated by advertising. Wood reported that this audience is motivated to get outdoors for a feeling of freedom, escape from the grind, stress relief, and a sense of accomplishment along with an adrenaline rush.
About Outdoor Retailer
Outdoor Retailer, produced by the Nielsen Sports Group division of Nielsen Business Media, is the leading outdoor industry business-to-business trade event, bringing together top manufacturers, retailers, industry advocates and media to conduct the business of the recreational outdoors. Currently in its 26th successful year, OR gathers approximately 40,000 attendees on a semi-annual basis for both Fall/Winter/Holiday and Spring/Summer markets. The Nielsen Sports Group, headquartered in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., and its predecessor companies have been in the exposition and conference business for over 35 years.