Wintersports equipment and fashion suppliers rolled into the Colorado Convention Center Thursday (Jan. 28), packing the place for the biggest ski industry "wedding" in three decades. Denver and the Snowsports Industries of America (SIA) trade show officially began their honeymoon in a welcome reception.
This is the first year of an 11-year deal between SIA and the City of Denver and, despite grumbles from some attendees who would have dug going back to Las Vegas where the show had been for 37 years, the Convention Bureau actually expects to generate enough cashflow from the event to repay the $340 million it cost to expand the facility. Denver Mayor John Hicklooper even declared today (Friday) "Wear Your Ski Gear to Work" day, hoping to create a ski village atmosphere in downtown Denver.
The showcase for all things winter 2010-11 runs through Sunday (1/31). It's a retailer's chance to see, try, and buy the latest technology, products and clothing in snowsports so you can purchase them in your local shops. It is like Future (ski)World inside the center. Rocker and fat skis and boards for all levels of riders, new graphics, innovations like mountaineering skis from Kastle, and skis for surfing waves in Hawaii are on display.
I noticed a surge in do-it-yourself tuning equipment right away. The low snow and shaky economy may have forced many of us to hang onto our old skis, so we need to keep them in tiptop shape. Professional P-tex, filing and waxing on a regular basis gouges us as much as those rocks nick our bases.
The show is sold out as buyers and manufacturers optimistically search for trends that will get us to open our wallets. The industry buzzed over rocker technology last year in Las Vegas. What will it be this year? Check this space through Monday and I'll walk among the 3,100 exhibit booths to give you an inside peek of what's to come next winter from the more than 800 brands on display, spread across 600,000 square feet.
YouTube video of Opening Ceremony: