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SnowSports Industries America trade show kicks off for ski industry

The SnowSports Industries America Snow Show began a four-day stay at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver on Thursday. The trade show brings together ski and snowboard equipment manufacturers and retailers from around the world. Following the show on the convention floor, a two-day, on-snow demo event is scheduled for Colorado’s Copper Mountain Resort on Monday and Tuesday. The trade show and demo days are not open to the general public.

Ski icon Glen Plake addresses the crowd at a reception in the Elan Skis booth.
Ski icon Glen Plake addresses the crowd at a reception in the Elan Skis booth.
Eric Wagnon

The show started with a special “Sendoff to Sochi” opening ceremony led by Doug Lewis, 1984 and 1988 Olympic alpine skier. Ski-apparel pioneer Klaus Obermeyer, 94, concluded the ceremony with his traditional yodel as the doors to the convention floor opened at 9 a.m.

"Coming new this year, I didn’t know what to expect," said Corey Rappsilber of Dare 2b, an English ski-apparel company. "It is just as big as O.R. (Outdoor Retailer Show held last week in Salt Lake City). It’s obviously a little more specialized. I love the booths. The whole team that puts this together seems like they really have their act together."

Willie Blount, founder of Blue Infusion Technologies, is showing his company's BearTek gloves that feature controls for electronic devices. "This show is great. The idea is that we have to get our technology in front of people," Blount said. "We come to these shows and meet a lot of new companies that are interested in our technology." In fact, Blount said he made a connection with an entirely new potential corporate partner on the first day of the show.

Along with consumer brands displaying goods for retailers, suppliers such as Outlast, YKK, 3M and Primaloft that make components of products have booths at the show. "The influx of the performance outdoor-apparel brands maybe happened in the past 10 years," said Eileen Berner, Primaloft's director of sales for America and Asia. "Originally, you didn’t see outdoor brands like Marmot at the ski show. Now, all of our brand partners are at the ski show. This is a whole different level of energy and fashion, still looking for performance as well. (The show) is an important part of our global business."