"I can't think of a better place for this trade show than Denver, Colo.," said Tim Petrick, SIA chairman of the board, at a press conference. The convention had taken place in Las Vegas before moving to the Mile High City last year. Petrick praised Denver for its "sincere hospitality and feeling of welcome" extended to the 1,000 exhibitors and 2,000 retailers in attendance.
Richard Scharf, president and CEO of VISIT DENVER, estimated the trade show will have an economic impact of $30 million on the Mile High City. The city signed an 11-year agreement with the SIA Snow Show, and the trade show returns for its second year in 2011.
The trade show attracts blockbuster names in winter sports such as Rossignol, Salomon, the North Face and Nordica. However, the trade show also gives smaller companies and local vendors a chance to shine.
For example, Rob Lawler, the president of SkiSkootys, exhibited his invention that snaps onto the bottom of ski boots to allow skiers to walk normally. The SkiSkootys, which retail for $39.99, are available in five colors and fold up to pocket-size. "I truly built the product to solve a problem that's been around for a while," said Lawler.
At the SIA Snow Show, Denver native and artist Travis Parr also exhibited designs for skis and snowboards produced by Icelantic. The company, located at 621 Kalamath St. in Denver, showcased graphic designs of wild animals such as walruses, elk and mountain goats.
The SIA Snow Show, which covers 321,000 square feet of space in the Colorado Convention Center, will also give attendees a taste of Colorado powder. Winter Park resort will host demonstrations of ski and snowboarding equipment next week as part of a continuation of the convention.
Gary DeFrange, the president and CEO of Winter Park, said the state's resorts have received more than 200 inches of fresh snow. "Conditions are spectacular, and it's a great opportunity to test the new snow," said DeFrange.
Colo. Gov. John Hickenlooper, decked out in a green ski jacket for the occasion, said hosting the convention is a natural connection for the Centennial State. "We want to make sure that snow sports are to Colorado what oranges are to Florida," Hickenlooper said.