It is two days before the beginning of Summer 2012 Outdoor Retailer Show, and I pause for a moment as beads of sweat drip to the floor of the Salt Palace Convention Center. Forklifts speed around me moving gigantic crates into their appropriate booth space. They move fast enough to kill a man, yet I somehow feel guarded by the quarter-inch piece of masking tape that marks the edge of our 20’x50’ booth space.
I wipe the sweat from my forehead and take note of the fellow across the freight aisle assembling the booth next to me. He looks more like a roadie from the last Foreigner tour than an outdoor industry professional. It comes clear to me that many of the booths around ours were being erected by exhibit booth contractors, while the representatives of their brands spend the days leading up to the show in their air-conditioned offices. While it is hotter than hell in this convention center, I couldn’t be happier with some grit on my hands and a pocket full of tools. We are building this booth on our own, for no better reason than because we can. I have chosen to work with a strong group of individuals, building our OR booth ourselves is just one example of how Mountainsmith employees are all very active in creating this authentic brand.
I now know that Mountainsmith products are created for mountain athletes, by mountain athletes. This fact alone makes me proud to work here. Lunchtime pack testing hikes have shown me that my colleagues are active in the sports they promote. In my first three weeks on the job, our designer has already sought my opinions on future pack designs. Everyone here is playing a role in creating the brand of Mountainsmith, with authentic on-site testing as an almost daily practice. Transitioning from working at a mountainside snowboard shop to my mountainside office has not been difficult.
The past three weeks have been consumed by travel and moving, but now its time to start exploring the Rockies. Growing up in New Hampshire, I have climbed over half of the granite state’s 4,000 foot peaks, and feel pretty good about that. I have yet to climb my first Colorado fourteener, but I guarantee it will happen soon. It’s hard to fathom that all of these stand taller than the Tetons, my former home. I will just have to see for myself, so here’s to my new backyard!
I think one thing is for sure, I will be proudly wearing a Mountainsmith pack on my back when I do so.