by Sarah J.F. Braley | July 14, 2017

Emerald Expositions, the producer of the Outdoor Retailer trade shows, is moving its events to Denver starting in January 2018. Now to be produced in Colorado are the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show, the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market and the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, the latter of which will move to Denver in November 2018. Grassroots Connect -- an invitation-only event for members of the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance to discuss, plan and collect preseason orders -- is expected to co-locate with the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show.

"We received submissions from truly incredible outdoor cities -- a testament to the strength of the outdoor community," said Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer show director. "Denver is the undeniable industry choice. Bringing these organizations together and basing the show in a state that places such a high value on outdoor recreation is the best move we can make for the outdoor industry. As outdoor recreation evolves, outdoor businesses need to stand together and adapt to those changes to successfully move forward. We look forward to building a future together and thank Gov. Hickenlooper, Luis Benitez, director for the office of Outdoor Recreation, and Mayor Hancock, for their gracious support."

Emerald officials said the decision to move to Denver is supported by the outdoor community and its community organizations, the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), SnowSports Industries America (SIA) and the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance (GOA).
Outdoor Retailer had been held in Salt Lake City for 22 years; the Salt Palace Convention Center had added space through the years to keep the show in town, and this move is considered a blow to the facility and the city. Emerald began looking in earnest for a new destination in February, after officials from Outdoor Retailer, the OIA, Patagonia, The North Face and REI met via teleconference with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the OIA had asked Herbert to consider the following four measures that outdoor businesses consider important to whether they would continue to meet in Utah:
• End legal efforts or support for congressional action that would facilitate the sale or transfer of federal lands to the states;
• End efforts to nullify the Antiquities Act;
• Stop seeking to reverse the designation of Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. Herbert had signed a resolution from the Utah Legislature asking President Trump to rescind the monument's designation; and
• Support other public lands "that provide the backbone of the industries sales," OIA wrote.

"While Bears Ears National Monument status is a lightning rod, it is just the most currently visible example of what will be a long, hard series of fights the outdoor community needs to not only raise our voices about, but, even more importantly, about which we need to be heard," wrote Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer show director, at the time. "Now is the time for action, not words. These are turbulent times with passions running high -- a wonderful trait of the industry we serve."

Following the teleconference, Outdoor Retailer announced it would no longer include the state of Utah in its RFP process for future show locations. In order to take the shows out of Utah, Emerald came to an agreement with Visit Salt Lake to get out of a contract in place to host the biannual OR trade shows in the city through 2018. The July 2017 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market will be the final OR show held in Salt Lake. 

"I'm sad to see Outdoor Retailer leave our area, but I have no doubt that our future as a convention and meetings destination is bright," said Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. "Salt Lake values the outdoor industry and the public lands that provide its recreation foundation. Our environmental record will serve us well as we promote the area to both new and repeat visitors and clients. We will continue to emphasize the value of a vibrant convention and visitor presence to our economy."

Bringing the show to Denver is huge for the city and the state, which is a natural choice for the event. "This is an exciting time for Denver and Colorado, and it was a difficult and challenging task to place three 20,000+ person tradeshows in our city," said Richard Scharf, president and CEO of Visit Denver. "We know that this is important to the state and city for economic development opportunities that go far beyond the economic impact of these three annual tradeshows, and our hospitality community is excited to have three annual shows coming to Denver each year."

"SIA is thrilled that the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show will remain in Denver," said Nick Sargent, president of SIA, which had brought its 50-year-old show to Colorado in 2010. "Since then, SIA, Denver and the state have worked together to build the best platform for the winter business, thereby laying the foundation for this announcement. Denver has been an outstanding partner to SIA and the winter industry, and we are excited to help grow the economic impact that the Outdoor Retailer shows and the SIA On-Snow Demo bring to the state."
The upcoming calendar of shows for 2018 follows:
SIA Industry + Intelligence Day - Jan. 24, 2018
Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show - Jan. 25-28, 2018
SIA On-Snow Demo - Jan. 29-30, 2018, Copper Mountain, Colo.
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market - July 23-26, 2018
Outdoor Retailer Winter Market - Nov. 8-11, 2018
Future dates will be released in the next 30 days.