Summit recreation shops return full-handed from Outdoor Retailer show in Denver
FRISCO — From Jan. 29-31, local recreation and outdoor gear stores descended on Denver for the annual Outdoor Retailer Snow Show. The show is packed with brands showcasing their products, and Summit County shop owners and managers go to make the bulk of their purchasing for the upcoming season.
“Outdoor Retailer is the time that we go to look at hard gear,” said Alex Spectorsky, retail buyer for Wilderness Sports, referring to gear like skis and snowboards. “We do some preshows that get us soft goods, and then Outdoor Retailer really focuses on these high-dollar, high-quantity brands that we don’t necessarily get to see as much.”
Spectorsky explained that with a combination of locals, visitors and second-home owners, gear shops in the county don’t have a specific consumer to focus on and have to be smart about what gear the store buys. In order to do this, he goes into the meetings he has set up with brands with a clear idea of what he wants to see.
While Wilderness Sports is typically a backcountry-focused shop and carries mostly splitboards rather than traditional snowboards, Spectorsky said they are planning to bring some powder snowboards in next season. He said the team also came across an eyewear company called Bliz that makes a specialized type of sunglasses for the backcountry. Spectorsky said he carries more unique products and brands like Bliz because the store is surrounded by chain gear stores and unique products helps Wilderness Sports stand out.
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At Pioneer Sports, General Manager Brent Ford said that while he doesn’t feel ski technology hasn’t changed much in the past five years, he did find a new ski boot that he plans to use for rentals.
“Skis have been fine tuned over the last few years,” Ford said. “I’ve found the fleet of skis that I’m going to use for the next several years. I did find a rear-entry boot from Nordica that they’ve redone, and I think I’m going to bring it in. I think that will be our niche item that other shops aren’t going to have.”
Casey Snyder, owner of Wild Ernest Sports, also attended the show and said he sticks to what he knows at the often-overwhelming expo.
“There were a lot of people, a lot of different vendors,” Snyder said. “I’ve kind of stuck to what’s working for me, so I didn’t really explore the newer vendors.”
Snyder said the brands he typically works with are Oakley, Billabong, Smartwool and Rossignol.
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