The Outdoor Retailer Winter Market: A Trip Report

Everyone comes home from OR and writes about the gear. I have a problem with ‘best-of’ lists after OR, mostly because there is no possible way to see everything in the time available, and if you can’t see it all how can you make a ‘best-of’ list? My head is spinning with all of the gear goodies I got to see, but so much has already been written about them in mainstream and web publications that I’d just be adding to the noise. Instead, I thought I’d give a whirlwind ‘trip report’ of the OR Show Experience. So, here are some photos of the cool, non-gear stuff that happens at Outdoor Retailer!

For the second time this month I flew Delta from San Jose to Salt Lake City. This time, my flight was clear and beautiful, giving me a glimpse of the dry Sierra winter conditions below. Here’s Lake Tahoe and Desolation Wilderness on January 20. Yikes.

Desolation Wilderness and Lake Tahoe, January 2014
Desolation Wilderness and Lake Tahoe, January 2014

I took a few hours on Tuesday to head up to the Demo Day at Solitude. My first stop? The MSR booth for some Starbucks Via. They had quite a lineup of stoves running to keep the attendees well-caffeinated.

MSR Booth: Demo Day
MSR Booth: Demo Day

I was kind of hungry, so my second stop was by the Jetboil booth for a s’more. You could cook them over the open flame of a Jetboil stove, and I never realized how hot it was a full foot above the burner until I incinerated my marshmallow. Oops. Still tasty, though.

Burned S'mores at Jetboil
Burned S’mores at Jetboil

Since I’m not a skier, I focused on snowshoe testing. There was a nice little route built through the nearby trees, so I tried a few pairs out. My favorite were the MSR Lightning Ascent (pictured below). I’m pretty sure this will be my next pair of snowshoes.

MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes
MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes

Pretty trail through the trees. I think I walked through here five times testing out various snowshoes.

2014-01-21 13.14.06

On Wednesday the show started at the Salt Palace, and based on a tweet from RuffWear my first stop was by their booth to meet this avalanche dog in training. I learned that being adorable is exhausting work.

Avalanche dog at Ruffwear
Avalanche dog at Ruffwear

By the end of the day, people are tired from appointments and ready to have some fun. Booths have fundraisers, parties, giveaways, and more. I always come home with a lot of new mugs, cups, and glassware. I think this year’s favorite was the Granite Gear enamel mug. Filled with beer, of course. They ran out fast.

Granite Gear enamel mug
Granite Gear enamel mug

I spent a bit of time enjoying the Live from OR booth, where Timmy O’Neill would interview influential outdoor athletes. Here he is talking to Conrad Anker. Did I mention it was sponsored by Sierra Nevada? Great place to grab a beer and hear some interesting conversation at the end of the day.

Live from OR with Conrad Anker
Live from OR with Conrad Anker

I found this awesome truck in the Fjällräven booth. I think I know what I’m getting when my Subaru eventually dies.

 

Perfect desert-mobile
Perfect desert-mobile
Perfect desert-mobile
Perfect desert-mobile

One other night I found a great hookup for Heady Topper at the High Sierra booth. Beer geeks will understand. For one evening, this got more attention than any gear or dog.

Heady Topper at OR!
Heady Topper at OR!

Another fun event happening in the evenings were the birds of prey at the Mountain Khaki booth. Check out this falcon’s hat. If only it was human sized!

Birds of Prey at Mountain Khaki
Birds of Prey at Mountain Khaki

Fun and events weren’t just in the evenings. Mornings had pancakes at the Vasque booth. I put chocolate chips and raspberries on mine.

Pancakes at Vasque
Pancakes at Vasque

I frequently visited the CamelBak booth to fill up my water bottle. Hydration is so important in the dry winter climate, and CamelBak had us covered. Taps with regular water as well as their flavored Elixer electrolyte mix kept me happy and hydrated.

CamelBak Taps
CamelBak Taps

I cut past the Mountain Hardwear booth every chance I got just to enjoy these pretty pictures from Yosemite.

Mountain Hardwear Yosemite photos
Mountain Hardwear Yosemite photos

And OF COURSE I made sure to hang out in the Columbia booth! They had their ski uniforms on display, the same ones that were revealed two weeks ago in Park City. This was the spot where a bunch of the OmniTen would meet up at the end of the day. It was great to see so many of them again!

Columbia Booth, OR
Columbia Booth, OR

At the beginning of the week I got a pedometer from Montane. They were measuring the distances walked during OR. My line is the second from the bottom, and I am pretty sure I had one of the highest totals! Even when I wasn’t there all day, walking around town and from booth to booth really adds up! Bring good shoes!

Pedometer totals at the Montane booth
Pedometer totals at the Montane booth

Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd

Free range human. Mountain sports addict. Craft beer drinker. Tech nerd. The best days are those spent above 10k ft. Team OmniTen and Evernote Ambassador. Meet me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google +

  • Karl D

    Heady Topper in Utah! No need for puppies and Clydesdales to sell that beer…