Local recreation stores gear up for Outdoor Retailer Outdoor and Snow Show
FRISCO — Local sports and outdoor recreation stores are preparing for Colorado’s biggest gear show of the year — Outdoor Retailer Outdoor + Snow Show, which is held in Denver for buyers and sellers to showcase and locate next year’s items. This year, the show is from Wednesday, Jan. 29, to Friday, Jan. 31. Several local stores and brands are attending the show to get their products for next year as brands come out with their latest equipment.
Breckenridge-based Rocky Mountain Underground will have a booth selling their newest merchandise. Suzie Wasick, a manager at the shop, said that RMU will release their skis for the 2020–21 season as well as other new products like a 25-liter pack. Wasick said the new skis featured will include Valhalla women’s skis with a carbon core, the YLE 110 big mountain skis and a new version of the brand’s Tailgate Locker — which won an award at the 2018 show — called the Dirtbag. As for the show itself, Wasick said that getting down to Denver for the show is fun and exciting for the RMU staff.
“It’s just good to see all the other industry folks and people we collab with,” Wasick said.
Several other local stores have plans to get their gear for next year at the show. JT Greene, owner of Wilderness Sports, said his team plans to focus on hard goods like ski and snowboard gear as they have placed most of their clothing and other soft goods orders already. Greene said the team of four that will be attending the show will look for both resort as well as backcountry ski and snowboard gear to be sold next season. Greene said Wilderness Sports goes into the show with a plan and mainly meet with the vendors they have preexisting appointments with.
“We have a list of everything we want to see,” Greene said. “We’ll figure out pricing, discounts and see the product.”
Greene said the team will test out the items they decide on at Winter Park before committing to the products. Then, they will place orders over the next month.
Pioneer Sports and Wild Ernest Sports will also be in attendance at the show. Brent Ford, general manager of Pioneer Sports, said he will be going by himself to do all of the buying for both soft and hard goods.
“I’ll be looking for the new skis for next year, rental equipment, jackets, pants and then I’ll wander around and find a niche item that no one else really has,” Ford said.
Ford said that last year, this specialty item was from a small company called Sweet Turns. Ford bought beanies and hats from the small business that he said sold well over the course of the season. One of the biggest things Ford said he looks for when buying the bulk of his products, which are rental ski and snowboard equipment, is durability.
“For me, I do a lot of looking at the hard good for rentals and the biggest challenge is just trying to find out what’s the most durable,” Ford said.
Ford said that this has been a problem he’s encountered over the last few years and has turned toward smaller brands that focus on this type of quality. JJ Lewis, assistant manager at Wild Ernest Sports, said that the store owner, Casey Snyder, is attending the show to purchase soft and hard goods as well as both retail and rental gear. Lewis said the store will meet with many of their normal retail partners and big name brands.
While the event is called Outdoor Retailer Outdoor + Snow Show, not everyone goes to the conference to sell gear. Local backcountry skier and guidebook author and publisher Fritz Sperry said he is going to the show in part to promote new books. Sperry said he works with 20–30 different vendors and will meet with their marketing teams about books he is publishing.
“Basically I just sit down, have a meeting with them and show them my media kit,” Sperry said, noting that he has three books in the works, two of which are written by other authors that he is publishing. “I go down and talk to marketing people about that and try and get them to buy ads.”
Sperry said the advertisements placed in the books cover most of the cost of printing. He plans to publish two books this year by authors Josh Jespersen and Mark Ortiz and is working on his own guidebook, which is a follow-up to his book, “Making Turns in Colorado Volume 1: The North.” This book will be the second volume and will focus on the southern mountains of Colorado.
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