I swear I might just be one of the luckiest people in this world. This past weekend was a prime example of how lucky I am to have amazing people in my life that I get to have unforgettable experiences with. It was another weekend in Salt Lake City, which in and of itself would be great, but pair that with an outstanding Outdoor Retailer (OR) Show, meeting online friends in person for the first time, and seeing some of my dearest friends in the world and you have yourself a weekend for the books!
Having been invited to be a part of Columbia Sportswear’s #OmniTen crew this summer (i.e. Big news and awesome adventures ahead), I was also offered the chance to head back to another OR show. After the amazing time I had at last summer’s show, I jumped at the opportunity to once again be part of what I like to call Christmas for outdoors/outside loving adults.
After a long 7 ½ hour drive (thanks a lot construction by Thermopolis, Wy), I met up with some new and old friends; I was immediately immersed into the perfect chaos that is the OR Show through the beauty that was Columbia Sportswear’s booth. After a quick round of new gear for them, I set out to hit up booths with free happy hour drinks with Erika (The Active Explorer) and Eva from American Backcountry Tees.
That night, past and present #OmniTen peeps (& a couple of #OmniFriends/OmniOutlaws) were treated to what seemed like a never ended smorgasbord of delightful sushi, all courtesy of Columbia. Even with full stomachs, it surely wasn’t time to call it quits on one of the nights during OR, so we hit up a Mexican restaurant, which promptly turned into a club around 9pm. Because that is normal right? An abundance of interesting hair (bump-its in full affect!), shorter-than-any-skirt-I-have-ever-seen skirts, and sideways stares by the “club’s” security told us we weren’t in Kansas (or Cody, Wyo) anymore! Self-toast anyone?
Friday was intially open for me other than two appointments. That quickly changed as I became part of a 5 person media group who shifted from booth to booth to conquer the show together. Through a blur of appointments, as well as chance encounters, I spent the day checking out the 2014 line for companies like Swiftwick, Suunto, Evolv, Propet, and Edelrid to name a few. To say that I felt undeserving of all the attention given to me would be an understatement, but I soaked it in like a good social media sponge ;)
I had a great time catching up with Jacalyn Gross creator/founder/desinger/all-around awesome woman from URSportswear, and of course we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share some #URTribe love with peeps.
While the entire day of Friday was a blur, I was really looking forward to the initial #Hikerchat meetup that night. **If you don’t know what #HikerChat is, it is a group of hiking individuals who talk about a wide array of things from gear to trips to outdoors tips every Friday at 10am (Mountain Time that is).**
I already knew, or had at least met, most of the people when we headed to dinner but was stoked to meet Polly from ClimbOn as I had already met her partner in crime, Will. The dinner was a great chance to talk and plot our hiking adventure the following day. The feast of pasta was brought to us by one of my absolute favorite companies, Teton Sports. Their social media guru/tent and backpack designer extraordinaire, Shawn, set up the entire dinner and was the one responsible for teaming with several companies for the next day’s #HikerChat hike.
Saturday morning came early as we all loaded up on free goodies like the Teton Sports Summit 1500, Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel and Switch 8 Recharger, Good2Go protein bars. Most of us donned our #HikerChat tees courtesy of American Backcountry Tees, and we were off to Alta Ski Area for our hike.
To say that the hike up to Catherine’s Lake and to the summit of Sunset Peak was breathtaking would never do it justice. The hike ended up being somewhere between 7-8 miles roundtrip because we had to add on some additional uphill, road-hiking thanks to lack of parking at the trailhead. Not to be deterred, we set out to enjoy the sites and each other’s company. It is amazing the conversations that can come up when on the side of a mountain…I will let you just guess what they might have included!
While ever OR show is different for each attendee, I think I get more out of the personal connections than I even do out of seeing the cool new gear that is coming down the pipe next year. Some of these connections have become friendships that are some of the closest I have. Even though we may see each other in person once, twice or perhaps a few more times each year, I know that they are there for me every single day (even if just online). I am thankful for a great weekend with spectacular views and even better friends
I was missing home and after a 7 hour drive back I returned to enormous hugs and handmade clay flowers from my favorite little people. My welcome home was topped off by a homemade lunch and beautiful flowers :) Thank you for making it a perfect end to an already great weekend, Brian!
For great gear reviews from the OR show, check out upcoming post from the below individuals (& many, many more awesome people!)