By Jill Adler
Oh what a day! Powder, people, beer and booty. Perhaps the icky icy runs from yesterday kept the throngs away but little did they know that it was still delicious at Solitude for the 2011 On Snow Demo of the Outdoor Retailer show.
The turnout seemed a bit thin for this year- not as many tents set up but that just meant it would take less time for me to investigate the arena and more time for me to play in the powder. Think of OR as REI on steroids- lots and lots of steroids. Manufacturers from all over the world bust out their samples of next winter’s goods (mostly backcountry, snowshoe and ice climbing gear) so retailers can see what they’ll be buying. Often they even place orders right then and there. The on-snow portion gave us all a chance to get on or in the stuff before anyone else.
I hooked up with my friend Rachael for a run off the Eagle Express Lift as soon as I arrived. The snow was fluffy not icy although you could still feel the scratch underneath. I left her to meet up with Geoff Curtis from Volkl. The ski company is debuting their new line of sidecountry skis. That’s where you ski mostly inbounds but still spend a lot of time hiking out of bounds through resort boundary gates. The skis have no metal in them so they’re lighter than frontside skis.
Another cool innovation for sidecountry skiing is backpacks you can strap your skis to while you’re wearing it.
I had a blast out the Powderhorn gates as the Nanuk ski – albeit a little long for me- remained stable whether floating through knee-deep powder or turning on hardpack. YeeeeeHaw was the word that came to mind as I dropped off the traverse and into the bowl.
The Outdoor Retailer Winter Market officially begins Thursday at the Salt Palace and runs through Sunday. Though you won’t be able to go to the show- it’s for industry folk only- you will still feels its impact. The event brings in more than $16.6 million for Utah.
Jill Adler is an award-winning outdoors writer and broadcaster based in Park City, Utah. As a professional skier, rock climber, kayaker, hiker and mom, she goes out of her way to play hard and tell about it. To find out more or to send her a note, follow her on Twitter @pcskigal.