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.
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.
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.
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.