Outdoor Retailer Launches The Summit: ‘Totally New’ Demo Experience

For years, the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show offered retailers and media a way to demo a vast array of skis, boards, boots, and more. But after a hiatus during COVID, a new demo format will hit the Utah slopes.

Outdoor Retailer is set to have some big changes this year. Not least is the venue, which will be returning to Salt Lake City after 5 years in Denver.

But that’s not all that will be changing this year. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market included several days of product demos.

Attendees could test out the latest and greatest gear from different brands at ski resorts driving distance from the main venue. It was a multiday demo extravaganza that took place either before or after the show every year.

COVID-19 was the nail in the coffin of that tradition. But now, after a 2-year hiatus, the demo day is returning. But it is returning with a major change.

This January, OR debuts The Summit. Like previous demos, this immersive on-mountain winter experience will give retail buyers and media early access to some of the newest products on the market. But the similarity to previous demos ends there.

The Summit at Outdoor Retailer Snow Show

The Summit will take place on Monday, Jan. 9. That’s the day before the main Outdoor Retailer Snow Show at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City.

The choose-your-own-adventure style demo day offers 90 activities to choose from. The options range from Alpine touring to split-boarding, Nordic skiing, snowshoe hiking, winter fat tire biking, winter running, orienteering, winter first aid, avalanche essentials, and more.

ski economy
The SIA Snow Show demo packed dozens of brands into the base of Copper Mountain in pre-COVID years; (photo/Sean McCoy)

Guides from Inspired Summit Adventures, one of Utah’s premiere guiding companies, will lead all the events.

One major differentiation from previous demos is that the event village and many of the guided tours will be open to the public, too. There will be a fee for some of the tours. And events for the public not attending the main Outdoor Retailer Snow Show.

Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer senior vice president and show director said, The Summit is an opportunity for brands to closely engage with the media and retailers. The idea is to bring the market together where it matters most — outside.

“The Summit by Outdoor Retailer will kick off the week with a truly engaging celebration of winter sports out on the snow,” said Nicholson. “We’re raising the bar of a traditional demo and providing all brands new avenues to showcase their newest gear to a dedicated audience of retailers and media, experts and enthusiasts.”

Outdoor Events at OR

Attendees will be able to purchase a 50% all-mountain lift ticket discount to four different Cottonwood Canyons resorts. There will also be single-lift tickets available for 75% off. Outdoor Retailer will offer bus shuttles from the Salt Palace and from parking at the base of Cottonwood Canyon.

“This is an entirely new demo event,” Nicholson said. “We’re working with professional guides and creating unique experiences for media and retailers … [it’s] really curating a higher touch-point way for the industry to connect before the show.”

While few ski or snowboard brands displayed goods at the 2021 Outdoor Retailer Snow Show, organizers noted that brands can attend the demo without a booth in the Salt Palace. The show has not yet released a list of brands that will attend The Summit.

Some journalists and retailers sorely missed demos at recent OR events. They represent an opportunity for media to test products in the environments they were designed for, and to get an idea for all the new gear coming out through the year.

But OR’s demo days were also a chance for retailers and journalists to connect and discuss in detail what’s unique about specific products, how they were designed, and what went into them.

The Summit will provide those opportunities again, Nicholson said. Then, that evening, there will be a Media Preview and après-ski event at the new Hyatt Regency Salt Lake.

winter outdoor retailer
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