Out of doors Retailer present prepares to decamp Denver for Salt Lake Metropolis


The world’s best outdoor brands anchored their tent stakes in Denver for the last time this week as the industry holds its last trade show before heading to Salt Lake City.

Why it matters: The twice-yearly gathering has an annual impact of $45 million locally, and the show’s arrival in Denver coincides with broader economic development efforts to establish the state as an outdoor corporate recreation center.

Driving the news: Outdoor Retailer’s owner announced in March that the show would return to its former home in Utah in January 2023 after a five-year run at the Colorado Convention Center.

  • The move to downtown Denver came after industry objections to support for the Utah state leadership to reduce the size of public lands and national monuments.
  • The political landscape remains unchanged, but show owner Emerald X said the withdrawal would allow him to be more involved in the discussion.

What’s new: One open question is whether the outdoor brands attending the Denver event will follow the show back to Salt Lake City.

  • In interviews with more than a dozen companies, most suggest they would like to continue attending, particularly smaller brands that rely on the show’s presence.
  • Others said they were still debating within their companies what message that would send.

What you say: San Francisco-based Peak Designs, which was pushing to exit in 2017, is “pretty conflicted … because honestly nothing has changed,” Supriya Limaye, a wholesale account manager, told Axios Denver.

  • “We stand by our decision when we said we would not be returning,” she said, adding that no formal decision has been made about next year’s participation.

Yes but: Barry Robertson, manager of technical resources at Sea to Summit, whose North American offices are based in Boulder, expects his company to make the journey.

  • “We see the function of trade fairs as meeting points,” he told us. “We will go where the industry goes.”

Klymit, from Kaysville, Utah, is excited for the show’s return. “Salt Lake City really feels like an outdoor capital, so we’re excited to have it back,” said Sierra Krebsbach, the company’s spokeswoman

  • “It brings a lot of positives to the community,” added Andrew Leon of Nomadic, a Salt Lake City-based backpack manufacturer.

Something to see: OR’s snub took Colorado leaders by surprise, but the state’s outdoor officials told Axios Denver they are planning a new event to showcase the industry with a wider reach.

The Intrigue: The owner of OR does the same.

  • In June 2023, Emerald X will host a three-day event at Snowbasin Resort for the first time, aimed at consumers – not just industry representatives – to give them hands-on experiences with new products.