It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for. After last week’s big announcement that Emerald Expositions (owners of the Outdoor Retailer and Interbike trade shows) had acquired the Denver-based SIA (SnowSports Industries America) Snow Show, speculation ramped up on where this mega winter collaboration would take place. It’s now official. According to SIA’s Nick Sargent, OR and SIA will hold a combined show in Denver, 2018. After that, plans are still being discussed.
The news follows several months of unrest when it comes to the future home of the show, which has taken place twice annually in Salt Lake City since 1996. This winter, Patagonia, Arc’teryx, Metolius and a handful of other brands declared they would not attend the show if it stayed in Utah, due to the state’s stance on federal public lands. The state legislature has already passed a (for now, toothless) law declaring 31.2 million acres of federal land belong to the state and Congressional representatives like Jason Chaffetz have floated bills that would sell off and transfer federal land. The straw that broke the camels back came when Utah Gov. Herbert and the state legislature asked President Turmp to rescind the new 1.3-million acre Bears Ears National Monument. Outdoor Retailer, which had already declared it was opening up the application process for new homes for the show, decided to leave the state after a terse conversation with the governor.
The already planned show will take place in Salt Lake City this summer, including an open-to-the-public rally and march on the Utah state house organized by the Outdoor Industry Association, The Conservation Alliance and the Outdoor Alliance—but that’s the end of the Beehive State for OR. Next year will mark the first time in 20 years that Outdoor Retailer won’t be taking place in Salt Lake City, which is set to lose an estimated $5o million in annual economic impact that the popular trade show generates. Many other states and cities—among them Portland, Nashville, Montana, Las Vegas, Chicago and Denver—leapt at the chance to host the profitable show, which also holds bragging rights as the center of outdoor culture.
The problem is the show requires a huge amount of both floor and hotel space that most cities can not accommodate (Salt Lake had added space to the Salt Palace convention hall and hotels to keep the show in town). Denver barely has the space, but the bigger concern was SIA, which had non-compete rights to the convention center in the winter. No longer.
In a press release from SIA launched early Tuesday morning, SIA president, Nick Sargent, confirmed that the inaugural combined winter show would take place in January of 2018 in Denver, Colo. Praising Emerald Expositions’ values and successful track record, Sargent said the deal and a combined winter show would benefit the outdoor industry and “bring together the outdoor and snow sports industries under one roof” creating a bigger and better platform for members to get the best return on their trade show investment.
Although SIA sold the rights to the Snow Show, the organization will still be involved in the combined show and are set to produce the On-Snow Demo at Copper Mountain and an Industry + Intelligence day at the 2018 Outdoor Retailer Snow Show.
As far as the future home of the combined OR and SIA show as well as the OR summer show, nothing has been determined yet. A group of outdoor industry CEOs, led by Outdoor Research’s Dan Nordstrom wrote a letter imploring the show to stay in public-lands-friendly Denver and Governor Hickenlooper and the Colorado Department of Outdoor Recreation have been lobbying hard for OR to make Denver its home. For now, get ready for the coming megashow for at least one go around.