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Outdoor Retailer

Lots of learning on Day Zero

Outdoor Retailer leaders think the three shows in Denver this year could draw 85,000 visitors and $110,000 million.

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The day before the show—packed with news conferences, keynotes, education seminars, and summits — has turned into a day that you almost can’t afford to miss.

Energy was high in and around Denver’s convention center, as brands assembled their exhibits and outdoorists swarmed the city on the eve of the inaugural Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show.

Numerous events on Wednesday held across the city centered on how the outdoor industry is joining forces to elevate inclusivity and diversity, inform its members about how to take action in the fight to protect public lands, and embrace that change is uncomfortable, but necessary.

“All the meeting rooms are full all day long,” said Todd Walton, of Snowsports Industries America (SIA). “We’re all in this together, not for superficial business conversations but to take action.”

Here’s a rundown of some of the key events:

> An all-star global warming panel discussion (Amy Roberts, OIA; Mario Molina, POW; Chris Steinkamp, SIA; Jenn Vervier, New Belgium Brewing; Valerie Bone, Pacific Market International) evolved around the idea that since the government isn’t fighting against global warming and climate change, the outdoor and snow sports industries have to step up and do more. “There are a couple of brands pulling the weight, but we need to get more companies in the ski industry involved in this fight if we’re going to make progress,” said Steinkamp.

> A presser held by the trade show’s leaders forecast the economic and cultural impact of Outdoor Retailer’s move to Colorado. The three shows are expected to bring 85,000 visitors and $110 million to the city annually — more than twice as much as the shows in Salt Lake City.

> SIA hosted multiple keynote speakers as part of its Industry + Intelligence Day. SIA President Nick Sargent and OIA’s Roberts discussed the need for collaboration to strengthen and grow participation in the outdoor industry. Afterwards, Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts, led a presentation on innovation, which he said requires a willingness to change, give something up and take personal risk. Over the past few years, leading outdoor organizations have broken free from their separate silos to band together in conversations and initiatives. “Embrace the spirit of change,” Sargent said.

> On Tuesday afternoon, OIA’s Sustainability Working Group—professionals from brands, retailers and suppliers—kicked off a new series of panels called the OIA Sustainability Convergence, working to make the industry’s products safer for people and the environment as well as tackle sustainability and resiliency challenges of the global supply chain. “This notion of working together and embracing these startups and their ideas is a great way to advance our collective community, and what we’d like to create together,” said Bob Buck with chemistry leader, Chemours.