2011 Outdoor Retailer Open Air demo soars into Park City

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The freshest, most innovative outdoor adventure and travel products of the year are rolling into Park City’s Jordanelle State Park today. Ranging from paddle boats, outdoor-proof HD video cameras and GPS devices to power bars and climbing equipment, the 2011 Outdoor Retailer Open Air Demo will be full of interesting products.

As long and intimidating as the event’s name may seem, the demo is simply a gathering of the nation’s top outdoor retailers to showcase their newest and most advanced products of 2011. The event is being put together by Outdoor Retailer, a 30-year-old company dedicated to connecting manufacturers, retailers, media and industry advocates.

Hilary Hurst, a recent BYU graduate who interned with SOAR Communications on behalf of Outdoor Retailer two separate times, said the show has basically anything you can think of that has to do with traveling or adventure.

“Not only do they have it, but they have the newest and coolest version of it,” Hurst said. “You get to see really neat things there, like a climbing wall where you can try on different climbing shoes and check out various climbing ropes to see how they work. Or they have BMX [riders] there and you could check out all the bikes, along with mountain bikes.”

Hurst went on to say how working with the show as an intern was interesting because she was able to see the different ways the companies promoted themselves to each other, business to business.

“You can’t really pick one item [as a favorite] because there are so many different ones with different applications, for different genres of adventure and travel,” Hurst said. “You really just get a taste of everything.”

Ginger Conrad, marketing director of Outdoor Retailer, said this year’s attendance is expected to break all previous records of their outdoor retailing events. While there were initially supposed to be 150 exhibitors present at the OAD, it is looking like there will be close to 200 retailers showcasing their products. Retailers include big-brand companies such as Quicksilver, Body Glove and The North Face.

“It’s the largest open air demo in the history of Outdoor Retailer, which brings the most number of ¬†events,” Conrad said. “This year, predicting the number of exhibitors and the hype that’s been around the Open Air Demo, we’re probably shooting for over 3,000 people at the demo. It’s [going to be] an incredible day.”

It also doesn’t hurt that professional surfer Laird Hamilton is scheduled to make an appearance.

“Retailers can put new products through the paces in the environment they were designed for, to make more informed purchases,” said Nielsen Exhibitor vice president and Outdoor Retailer show director Kenji Haroutunian. “Hopefully [we’ll] have a lot of fun in the process.”

Hurst later talked about a competition at the show with a new water bottle prototype that could be opened with only one hand; the company challenged people to open water bottles quicker with two hands than somebody else could open the special bottle with one hand.

While the event is limited to select media and members of the outdoor retail industry, it is sure to be a platform for innovative new products to be revealed.

“We’re going to have a really good time,” Conrad said. “I hope there are some students who aspire to the outdoor industry.”

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