The Future of Outdoor Retailer

The Outdoor Retail Summer Show 2014 is the last one contracted to be at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, UT. After 16 years and tremendous growth the show has outgrown the venue. Now what?

Last weekend the Outdoor Retailer and Outdoor Industry Association took the discussion public. They are asking for industry and show stakeholders to join the conversation on a “Collective Voice”  This will soon be a place to find information, surveys and discussions on the future of OR. As of today, you can read up on the seven venues that are being considered – the pros and cons.

The surveys haven’t gone out yet but we did our own poll around the office to see what our Mountainsmith team thinks about if Outdoor Retail should stay in Salt Lake or move to Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando or Anaheim.

“Our industry must strive to keep the show in a venue that has access to and supports outdoor recreation in all of its forms; this is critical for both the summer and winter demo days as well as the vibe that comes from being in a place where outdoor recreation is part of the DNA of the town.  From that standpoint, only Denver and Salt Lake are in close proximity to the environments where all of the gear we manufacture and sell into the outdoor community is an essential part of life.  Clearly the capacity of the venue and the lodging available within walking distance are key components of the decision.  If Salt Lake is committed to our industry and keeping the Outdoor Retailer show, perhaps additions can be made to the Salt Palace and additional hotel capacity can be added.  If not, can Denver step up?” – Jay Getzel Director of Sales and Marketing

“SLC has a lot to offer in terms of what it can provide recreationally for both the winter and summer OR show, but the show layout and venue is in serious need of an overhaul as space and logistics for a show of this size are lacking.  SLC hotel options are rather dismal as well.  The Denver area certainly could fulfill requirements for winter and summer demo days and the Denver convention center is larger and better laid out, but I think that hotel accommodations would be just as lacking and possibly more expensive than SLC.  Plus the on snow demo days would require a hefty commute.  Anaheim would clearly serve our overseas vendors and guests more easily in terms of travel, but the show clientele is overwhelmingly coming from the US anyway, so why diverge from a more mountain accessible town like SLC or Denver?  Orlando would simply be a disaster; that’s Mickey’s realm…unless, demo days on Magic Mountain anyone?  I say move it to Denver or keep it in Salt Lake and press the town to improve the show venue and hotel capacity.” Luke Boldman –  Lead Designer and Product Manager

“The Outdoor Retailer Show requires a unique venue and setting to host both the summer and winter shows. With the majority of US manufacturers being in the Rockies and on the East and West Coasts an equal meeting area in either Denver or, in its current location, SLC are the best options, in my opinion. I believe the mountain access for demo days and before/after adventures in SLC are incomparable. Similarly, Denver has incredible access, but the drive is roughly 1.5 to 2 hours to be in the mountains or at resorts. Both cities convention centers have the capacity to house vendors and the quick access from most hotels. I believe moving the OR Show to the east or west coast, would not be an ideal location based on its summer/winter limitations. Overall, I’d say keep it in SLC.” – Jared Pangretic – Sales and Marketing Coordinator

“The Salt Palace and Salt Lake City’s hotels have reached their carrying capacity for Outdoor retailer, so it is obvious either modifications need to be made to the existing convention center and Hotels or the show needs to move.  If the show has to move, outside of the infrastructure needs, I think the most important factor to consider is the recreation opportunities of the host city.  I would hate to see the show move to a city where Outdoor Recreation was not a part of its lifestyle.  This is one of the key reasons that SLC worked so well as a venue.  I find it hard to imagine how much the show would change were it to be held in Orlando or Las Vegas.  My personal vote is to keep it in SLC or consider Denver as an alternate venue for these reasons.” – Jonathan McFarland Sales Manager

We would love to hear your thoughts, views, opinions on the future of Outdoor Retailer – leave us a comment and we will start our own discussion right here!


For more reads on the discussion , here are some links:


OR Collective Voice

Press Coverage



  1. I agree that Outdoor Retailer needs to remain within a close proximity to outdoor access and enthusiast’s. How far away would we have to travel for the All Mountain Demo’s? And will it be the quality environment that I believe only Salt Lake City or Denver can deliver.
    Salt Lake stands to loose a significant revenue generator and they should do whatever it takes to keep it.


  2. Good points Andy…staying in a town or moving to one that offers outdoor recreation as part of the city’s DNA is critical to maintaining the authenticity of the show and providing the vibe that our industry needs to succeed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *