Over a year ago, Colorado jumped at the opportunity to host the world’s leading outdoor sports show.

Over a year ago, Colorado jumped at the opportunity to host the world’s leading outdoor sports show, after retailers chose to boycott the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show at its previous Utah location due to the state’s policies on land preservation. It’s hard to believe that the first show has already come and gone and it’s been nearly a week back in reality since the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show took place in Denver. If you weren’t able to join us this year, here’s a brief recap of what you missed.

It’s no surprise that Denver was a front runner for the show’s new home, as Colorado was recently ranked the country’s eighth fastest growing state in 2017. Along with the thousands of residents flocking to the state each month are startups and tech companies, making it the perfect opportunity for the show to reach a much larger audience. As a veteran of at least ten Outdoor Retailer Shows over the years, it was extremely exciting to experience the show in Denver for the first time this year. Just as it had in previous years, the show offered the opportunity for outdoor retailers, hard goods and soft goods manufacturers, and advocates to come together in Denver to showcase their products to a diverse audience, while making valuable industry connections.

Out of all the Outdoor Retailer Shows that we’ve experienced, I can say unequivocally, that this was the busiest year I’ve attended. The Colorado Convention Center was packed with retailers, tech companies and outdoor enthusiasts who seemed to be embracing the new Denver location. The renewed vibe of this event may have been attributed to the fact that for the first time ever, the public was given more access to events, including panel discussions, a public movie viewing at the Bellco Theater, and the Winter on the Rocks show at the renowned Red Rocks Amphitheater. Given the accessibility to the public, inevitably large crowds ensued making it more difficult than past shows to move around with ease but the energy was palpable and contagious, more than making up for any minor inconveniences caused by the crowds.

While some attendees and exhibitors that reside in Utah appeared to be morose about the event no longer being in Salt Lake City, the overwhelming sense was that retailers and manufacturers both enjoyed the new location. With more abundant lodging and dining options, it was easier for out-of-towners to make accommodations, and Denver’s vibrant food scene left patrons with no shortage of options to relax and recharge. In addition to the event itself, hundreds of local-Denver companies, including GoSpotCheck, were hosting open happy hours for OR exhibitors and attendees in offices, bars, and restaurants across the city—creating a real community atmosphere.

As with any new event, there are opportunities for improvement leading up to the next show in July. Given the large crowds during the winter show, many exhibitors and attendees are hoping that future shows will be spread out a bit more, rather than putting too many exhibitors in the main convention hall. While there are still kinks to be straightened out, this was the best show we’ve attended yet.

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