Outdoor Retailer Winter Market draws huge attendance

By Michael Richardson

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Jan. 23 2012 4:32 p.m. MST

Roger Strong, center, talks with Betsy and Scott Fischer about boots at Black Diamond during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

Enlarge photo»

Hailed as the largest winter gear, apparel and lifestyle industry gathering worldwide, the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City drew over 20,000 attendees and the biggest winter brands on planet earth.

The Salt Palace, even with over 500,000 square feet of space, was packed with booths, ranging from simple designs from smaller companies, to enormous and elaborate set-ups from companies like Columbia and Black Diamond.

Except for Sunday, the show was a closed event, a place for retailers and manufacturers to come together and do business.

It was also a place for new companies to proclaim their name and product, and a place for established companies to promote new products. And promotion took many forms.

The first day of the show actually wasn’t at the Salt Palace, but out in the mountains, where companies did demos of their products to potential customers. In the Salt Palace, some companies gave away free things, and others had mock labs set up where people could test their products. One company brought in huge slabs of ice and had people put on the company’s crampons and walk around.

Other companies had models on runways displaying their products, complete with a fashion show soundtrack.

Utah companies made their presence known, like Black Diamond, Rossignol, and also smaller Utah companies like Achiva Native Energy, which produces energy products for endurance athletes. Another Utah company, Goal Zero, presented its new portable power device, which included solar panels and a power center with enough power to run a refrigerator for a day.

Salt Lake City hosts this annual event every year, along with a summer trade show that is similar in size.

Michael Richardson is a journalist for the Deseret News.

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