Can Utah and Colorado Share Outdoor Retailer?

Rumors are circulating that Colorado is a finalist to be selected to host Emerald Exposition’s Outdoor Retailer, but is one location for OR really the best thing for the industry?

While Utah’s sister state in the West, Colorado does appear to be an ideal candidate to host the show due to the expansion of their convention center, the convenient location of Outdoor Industry Association’s headquarters in Boulder, as well as access to natural beauties and views on public lands that match the values of many of the major outdoor brands, I wonder if there’s a way to compromise. Is having Outdoor Retailer in one location for 20 years like Utah (this coming from a Utah native and lover of Utah) really the best thing for the industry? Can Utah and Colorado both host Outdoor Retailer events?

Whether the Outdoor Industry Association, Outdoor Retailer, and brands like Patagonia and Black Diamond will ever agree with Utah’s State legislature on how public lands in Utah should be managed is questionable at best, it’s clear that a total boycott of Utah doesn’t seem to be changing the minds of legislators.

Is there a way for Utah to host Winter Outdoor Retailer while Colorado hosts Summer? It appears that Emerald Expositions, Outdoor Retailers owner, will need to resolve an apparent conflict with Snowsports Industry America’s (SIA) Snow Show, which is also held in Colorado if Outdoor Retailer will indeed host Winter OR in the same city. If a compromise can’t be reached, couldn’t it be possible to hold Summer OR in Denver without stepping on the toes of SIA while continuing to hold Winter OR in Salt Lake City?

A snippet from Adam Ruggiero’s Gear Junkie article.

Winter OR in SLC can boast more convenient access to ski resorts than Denver can as well as allowing for OIA and outdoor brands to advocate for change from within. It’s clear that an absolute boycott of Utah isn’t necessarily doing much to deter Utah politicians. Is there a possibility that continuing the dialogue from within would have a greater impact?

Seems both parties could be satisfied. OIA and the retailers “boycott” Utah by taking some of their dollars to Colorado, while continuing to put the pressure on Utah legislators for years to come from within. Retailers and the public in both states benefit from continuing to foster strong outdoor cultures.

Why wouldn’t retailers want the chance to visit two great states that love public lands in one year rather than one?

In this way, the Outdoor Industry really can be a force that’s better together.



Emerald Expositions has come to an agreement to buy SIA, leading to the very likely possibility that Denver will be the new home of Outdoor Retailer.