Back from the Black Hole: The 2010 Winter Outdoor Retailer Show

I finally stumbled back into the cabin at 7pm last night, after spending almost a full week in Salt Lake City.  As originally planned, I was going to head out last Monday to get in a few days of skiing in the Wasatch, but the 5 feet of fresh snow in Lake Tahoe (and no snow in SLC), convinced me to stay home and get some fresh turns here instead.  Charlie and I finally climbed into the Subi at 5am on Wednesday for the drive across Nevada, and we reached the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City at 2pm local time.   

Photos:  Setting up for the show on Wednesday.

The Outdoor Retailer Show is a bi-annual trade show showcasing manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors of everything you can imagine in REI, Adventure 16, or Backcountry.com.  Some of it, to me, is extremely practical.  Some of it is extremely stylish.  Sometimes one is not the other.

Brooks Range Mountaineering is arguably one of the former.  The company manufactures extremely practical tarps, avalanche science equipment, rescue ski sleds, and this year a line of down pieces, a 1.5-lb tent, and a snow density gauge.  Truly impressive when you consider that the comany is operated as a side project for its owner, Matt Brooks.  He hires active AMGA guides like myself to demo his products and push his products at the trade shows.  In fact, Matt was a guide himself back in the early 1990's, and a lot of his products are the result of him asking us, "What do you need to guide that's no one's making?"  BRM's current tagline is "Professional equipment for everyone."

Photos:  IFMGA and AMGA guides promoting the BRM product line to potential buyers.

What Matt does is fantastic.  He takes the professional guiding community seriously at their word and gives a group of us a great opportunity to justify the expenses of traveling to and attending the trade shows.  And Matt encourages us to take time off of selling BRM to retailers and distributors to pursue our own gains with industry manufacturers.

In the next few months you can expect to see reviews here of the Brooks Range rescue sleds, tarps, tent, and snow science equipment.  Hopefully you'll also see reviews of equipment from Sherpa Adventure Gear, Black Diamond, Go-Lite, Outdoor Research, Cascade Designs, Backcountry Access, and K2.  All made possible from attending the OR Show.

Photos:  Rescue sleds and BRM's new Rocket Tent.

For the next few days I'm taking the Level 2 Certification Exam's Teaching Module from the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA).  I'll write about that on Friday.  Cheers!