Major outdoor trade shows to merge for Denver expo
SALT LAKE CITY — Two major outdoor recreation trade shows are merging to create one mega winter expo likely to be held in Denver.
Emerald Expositions said Wednesday that it has acquired the SnowSports Industries America Snow Show held each winter in Denver. Emerald also produces the Outdoor Retailer show that’s leaving Salt Lake City after two decades over political differences with state leaders.
The first combined show is expected to be held in January in Denver, Emerald said in a news release. The organization didn’t disclose how much it paid in the acquisition.
Companies in the industry have been requesting a merger for years, SnowSports Industries America president Nick Sargent said. Creating one show reduces stress for companies and offers a bigger platform, he said. The move was approved unanimously by SnowSports Industries’ board of directors, the news release said.
DPS Skis, based in Salt Lake City, is sad to see the show leaving its home state but believes the merged show will be beneficial by allowing presenting companies like DPS and retailers looking for new products to save time and money by not having to attend both shows, said company spokesman Alex Hunt.
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In recent years, “hard gear” companies selling skis, snowboards, boots and bindings tended to go only to Snow Sports in Denver while “soft gear” companies selling clothes and accessories opted for Outdoor Retailer in Utah.
“It will help retail buyers to be able to see it all at one show,” Hunt said.
The merger means this July’s Outdoor Retailer summer show in Salt Lake City could be the final one.
The show said in February it was leaving Utah for a new long-term home because of Republican state leaders’ opposition to the new Bears Ears National Monument and other public land policies.
The show had considered leaving in the past over philosophical differences and finally did after Gov. Gary Herbert signed a resolution calling on federal officials to rescind the monument that President Barack Obama designated on 1.3 million acres of land in southeastern Utah considered sacred to Native American tribes.
The show was under contract to host two shows in 2018 in Utah, but organizers had already said they were considering other options for next year. Outdoor Retailer spokeswoman Kate Lowery said no final decision has been made about a host city for the summer 2018 show.
The organization’s events attract an estimated $45 million in annual direct spending to Utah, filling hotels and restaurants during the two shows held each year.
Outdoor Retailer said in its own news release that it expects to make an announcement soon about a new host city for its shows. The organization is in the final stages of a bid process that began in February.
The merger with the Snow Show, which has been in Denver since 2010 and recently extended its contract to stay there through 2030, bodes well for Colorado’s chances of landing the Outdoor Retailer’s summer show.
Montana and Oregon also had expressed interest.
It would only make sense for Outdoor Retailer to put the summer show in the same city with the new combined winter show, explained David Corsun, director of the University of Denver’s Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management.
Denver is also expanding and renovating its convention center to make it larger, an important factor for a show that has grown from 5,000 people at the first show to about 29,000 last summer.
There’s not many cities that combine proximity to outdoor recreation hot spots with nearby city with a big convention center and enough lodging, Corsun said.
“There’s really no reason for them to look outside Denver,” Corsun said.
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