Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tradeshow Season

Sorry for the time off on the blog, but we’re in the middle of tradeshow season. Every year, the office packs up for a couple weeks at the end of January and hits the road to unveil new product and sit down with dealers and media. Last week it was Salt Lake City, UT for Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. Plenty of new snow fell on for the Backcountry Basecamp on-snow demo at Snowbasin, UT.

(Cold powder shimmers in the air at the start of the on-snow at Snowbasin, UT, as testers check out the Women's Series and Freeride Series skis. Photos by Graham Gephart)

After a successful demo on Tuesday, ORWM opened on Wednesday. The show has a great vibe, packed with friendly outdoors retailers, media, and exhibitors providing strong energy and enthusiasm in such a good winter. It’s definitely a specialty outdoor scene, with lots of mountain dogs and kids running around. OR is usually our busiest show, and this year was no exception. The Karhu booth was packed from open to close, and there was a lot of excitement around the new product, and the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the original XCD ski.

(The Karhu booth at ORWM in Salt Lake City.)

Most of the craziness comes at the beginning and end of the show. You’re always at the mercy of when the crates arrive to pack up product headed to Vegas, or booths being sent back to Seattle, but the reward for staying up all night to pack the crates was having an open day to ski on Sunday. On four hours of sleep we hit the road for Alta, legs tired from walking the floor all week, but ready to breathe some mountain air. Salt Lake’s big storm wasn’t hitting until that evening, but strong winds and increasing snowfall quickly filled in the trees off the High Traverse. With the winds and warmer temperatures, it filled in as smooth windbuff in the trees, fast and supportable. High Rustler, Stonecrusher, Lone Pine – the laps came quickly, as fast as we could cycle out the traverse. Finally our legs screamed for mercy, and we had to hit the road to make our flight out of Salt Lake.

This week it’s Las Vegas, for SIA 2008. The show is a completely different dynamic, as it caters to the broader snowsports retail channels. There’s the usual buzz circulating through the larger alpine ski companies, a lot of innovative new outerwear, and a raucous scene in the snowboard section of the show floor. In the midst of all that, you’ll find Karhu. Two more days here, and then we return to Seattle. Interstate 90 just reopened up to Snoqualmie Pass for the first time in two days, and the snow is supposed to continue at least through Thursday. The timing couldn’t be better. Our turns at Alta were enough to keep our sanity and push through another week on the show floor, but everyone’s ready to get back into the mountains and make more turns.

Thanks for your patience, and when we get back to the office next week we’ll be back online with a lot of new blog content. Who knows, maybe even a tease of some of the new gear. Hope you’re making good turns out there!

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