Sun 23 Jan 2011
“It is great to put our mountain in front of the biggest names and vendors in the business.” Nick Como
This year, Utah’s biggest trade show, kicked off to a very successful start at Solitude Mountain Resort. The Summer and Outdoor Retail Shows are big business for the state of Utah which has played host since 1996. Utah estimates that over 5.8 billion dollars in revenue was generated last year due to the outdoor recreation industry. With over 19,000 who attended this year’s show and 919 exhibitors it was a fantastic opportunity for Solitude to be in the spotlight and recieve some well deserved attention. Although, Snowbasin has hosted the last two years, show officials decided to move the On Snow Demo to Solitude this year to highlight and showcase one of Utah’s sweetest playgrounds. With easy access and it’s close proximity to downtown Salt Lake City, Solitude was definitely the right choice. Generally, the On Snow Demo showcases backcountry gear such as telemark equipment, snowshoes, touring gear, safety equipment and other related items. This year, 39 companies participated in the On Snow Demo bringing with them an added interest in alpine which is generally saved for the big WWSRA show at Snowbasin. With several companies including alpine gear such as Movement, K2 and Volkl the buzz in the air was that Solitude may just have turned the tide for the On Snow Demo.
After days of heinous skiing conditions, the sun dawned on January 19 (my Birthday BTW) to reveal 8 inches of fresh pow pow. I was a little worried for Solitude not being able to showcase the famous Utah flakes that many came from all over to experience but, we have to thank the snow gods for the snow fell just in time to cover the Eastern like ice! I arrived at Solitude to a parking lot packed chock full of cars, vans and even semi-trailers. Just about when I thought I was going to have to actually park on the road someone left and I scored my usual up front spot. Patience, patience, patience…trust me, it’s a great quality. Solitude chose to host the demo next to Eagle Express for easy access and plenty of diverse terrain on which to test different products. Most attendees pretty much stuck to Eagle and all were thrilled with the conditions. The day played host to a snowshoe race, bumping music, pro skiers (i.e. Kent Kreitler and gang), decent weather, fresh snow and plenty of people excited to be hanging in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
As the day wore on some of the lucky ones who had all mountain passes eventually ventured away from the demo to free ski and enjoy the great snow. The patrol had kept much of the access gates and Honeycomb closed due to avalanche danger (I personally think they were hoping to save some of the fresh snow from the crowds of people). Lucky for me, some friends and I arrived at the top of Powderhorn just as the patrol opened the gate. Yes, first tracks down Parachute. Ahhhh….the best Birthday present I could have had was untouched turns and face shots. Although, I was busy with the show (downtown) all weekend I was certainly grateful to have started the OR Show at the sickest little ski spot in the Wasatch. Go Solitude!