The Outdoors Goes Indoors To Sell Us The Outdoors

The Big Blue Bear keeps watch over all those who are used to fresh air and big skies as they wander into the processed air, Las Vegas Style carpet and sensory overload at the Denver Conventions Center.

The Outdoor Retailer Snow Show is in full-blown blizzard mode, as all the big brands, media moguls and industry muckety mucks have descended on Denver for a few brisk days of product ogling, flesh pressing and future predicting. 

One things became perfectly clear after spending the day walking the show floor, the Outdoor Industry is alive and well. 

The booths were impressive, with a fair number of booths sporting full-blown structures, campers, vehicle and various other buildings as the centerpiece of their display.

Still, others used massive inspirational photography to draw attention to the passerby. And if all the fancy lighting, colorful winter gear and stunning attire wasn’t working, the outdoor industry was ready to ply anyone and everyone with an ice cold beer. 

The one observation we walked away with is we think the majority of the manufactures must have called each other in the offseason to discuss what everyone will be looking for and what color ways they will buy, as it became super hard to differentiate one puffy jacket from another.

It is a glorious time to be hunting for new skis and the show has us pumped to get away from the Convention Center hotdogs and onto the slopes.

Getting a call before hitting the deep pow at the Fischer Booth.
So many good choices to keep your chin warm at the Buff booth.
There were oh so many options for gloves, hats and other accessories, but we always loved these Astis mitts.
These Majesty planks are available even more delicious looking in person.
Patagonia really knows how to do a trade show and make some of our favorite puffies.
Even the pups are required to have the appropriate badge.
There were a number of vehicles rolled into booths on the show floor, but this one at the MiiR booth is the only one we contemplate hot-wiring and rolling out of Denver.
Smith Optics has all the options for your matchy-matchy desires.
Black Crows went with a very Hollywood-esque display.
There was free beer flowing from almost every booth and if you looked hard enough you might even find yourself a little something to nosh on.
We want one of everything Fjällräven Kånken makes. So many colors. So much style.
Finding someplace to put your feet up and catch your breath is an art form.




SBT GRVL To Return In 2020

SBT GRVL 2020
Photo: Courtesy of Steamboat Gravel / Dane Cronin

The inaugural SBT GRVL gravel race went off with much positive buzz in Steamboat this past August, and the organizer just announced the 2020 edition.

SBT GRVL 2020
Photo: Courtesy of Steamboat Gravel / Ian Hylands

Scheduled to be held on August 16, 2020, SBT GRVL has arguably one of the most picturesque venues around, but there’s a lot more to be liked than the scenery, as highlighted by the video below:

Registration will open at 7am MT on Tuesday, December 3rd.


Trail Tales:
How to Hike the Colorado Trail
Like a German

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A recent bike trip found me near Molas Pass in Colorado. We were biking a stunning section of the Colorado Trail and ran into Nick Hanze, a thru-hiker from Germany. He had about 60 miles to go to Durango and the end of the CT. Even though he had a Lufthansa to catch in a week, he agreed to take a few minutes and answer some questions about his trek.

How long have you been on the trail, and how many miles have you hiked?

Nick Hanze: I’ve been on the trail about 4 weeks, and I’m at about 416 or 419 miles, not really sure.

What do you look forward to eating most when you get to town?

Usually I do a bacon cheeseburger, it’s like the classic, and in the mornings I’m usually looking forward to blueberry pancakes.

Have you had Internet withdraw?

Ummmm, no. No.

What have you been eating on the trail?

On the trail I’ve been doing oatmeal in the morning, a tortilla with peanut butter or Nutella for lunch, and Mountain House for dinner.

What is your favorite flavor of Mountain House?

I like the lasagna.

The Colorado Trail
Photo: Jim Merithew/Element.ly

How have the ladies treated you, have you met a lot of trail babes?

A few but not too many, there could be more (sad laugh)

Favorite piece of gear on the trip?

That would be my spork I would say, just because it always reminds me of eating. When I see it, it means I get some food.

Are you excited about returning to a life where you poop in a bathroom or will you miss taking care of business in the woods?

I would say both, pooping in the woods is pretty fun if you get used to it and practice a little bit.

What pack and boots are you using?

The pack is the Osprey Atmos 65, I’ve been really happy with it, and the boots are Lowa Caminos.

Have you had people dropping food for you?

No, I just buy food in town.

Have you felt like you life was in danger at any point?

I think it was three days ago, I was on the continental divide when a dark cloud came up, I didn’t want to be there at that point, but the black clouds came rolling to me, so I ran off the trail at the first possible option, it wasn’t even a trail, just getting down to get away from the lightning, I’m not sure if I was in real danger, but I was definitely scared.

The Colorado Trail runs from Denver to Durango, with a total length of 486 miles, and an average elevation of 10,300 feet. Nick is headed to university when he gets back to Germany, assuming he doesn’t fall in love with a Durango mountain girl.

The Colorado Trail
Photo: Jim Merithew/Element.ly