And that’s a wrap for the second annual (?) Big Gear Show. The outside off shoot that sprung up at Deer Valley last year after the Outdoor Retailer Show in Denver drove major outdoors brands to flee the Colorado Convention Center is starting to find its footing. Even more brands than last year turned out to appreciate the ability to connect with outdoor shop buyers and media.
Brands like Mountain Hardwear and Black Diamond joined more than 200 gear manufacturers in the lower parking lot of Deer Valley to showcase their 2023 lines to prospective and current retailers. It was an opportunity not only to see what will be in stores like REI and Sportsmans Warehouse but to feel them as well. You could demo trail running shoes from Adidas by jogging the singletrack above the Lodges, take eBikes to Main Street or float a kayak in the Deer Valley pond. Paddle brands like Aquaglide and Solstice settled along the edge of the water just like in days past when the Utah Outdoor Retailer Show hosted their “demo day” at Pineview Reservoir.
Attendees to this year’s BGS noted the relaxed atmosphere, the bigger selection of gear brands over the inaugural year and the congruency of hosting an outdoors experience outdoors instead of in a convention center. It certainly wasn’t busier than the ghost-like aisles of the OR convention but organizers are taking feedback and making changes to move in that direction. Parking, however, could be an issue in the future if that happens. This year, the lots of DV filled up by 10 a.m. and people took to the sides of public streets.
Several Utah-connected brands made a showing for the two-day event including Camp Chef, Petzl, Magnum Bikes, Uncharted Supply Company, Hydrapak, Goal Zero, Liberty Mountain, Scott Sports, POC, Klymit, Peak Refuel, Black Diamond Equipment, Chums. Missing from the roster though were Altra, Lowa Boots, Coalatree, Kuhl, Cotopaxi, Gregory Mountain Products, Lizard Skins, Lone Peak Packs, Cypher Climbing, and Salomon.
Like the OR Show demo day (which is coming back to Utah this January!), the Big Gear Show gives attendees that hands-on session with the brands. We took a sunrise trail run with Uncharted Supply Co’s Christian Schauf and Utah Olympic Nordic gold medalist Billy Demong off Guardsman’s Pass to test Uncharted’s Park Pack hip back and hiked to DV’s Royal Street Cafe with wearing Mountain Hardwear’s butter-soft Crater Lake Tank and Scarpa’s Ribelle Run trail runners.
No one’s pontificating on the future of the BGS now that the OR is returning but those who attended seemed to enjoy the slower pace, the less-hurried meets with buyer and the mountain breezes wiggling their tents. I do have to say that for an outdoor event I was sadly sunburned after expecting at least a dozen sunscreen brands to attend and not a one could be found. Really, Guys, how can you play outside without sunscreen? Perhaps next year.
Ski Play Live TV at the Big Gear Show
Let’s meet some of the brands who attended-