VAIL - Travis Brown has been looking forward to Gear Town for a while.
"It's totally awesome," he said Feb. 8, jamming out to a Radiohead mash-up track. "This is right where I want to be."
Walk into Gear Town, set up at the base of Golden Peak, and you may be greeted by Brown doing flips and 720s on a slackline, a piece of climbing webbing used like a tightrope. This weekend, he's showing off a Gibbon 30-meter Surfline at Gear Town, a slackline designed for trampoline-style tricks.
"It's such a cool vibe out here, I love having the music pumping in the background," Brown said after showing off some spins on the 2-inch line.
The music was being provided by a DJ from Avalaunch, an Avalanche awareness and education festival that also has a booth set up at Gear Town.
"Gear Town is paired very well with the event," said Tate Chamberlin with avalaunchfestival.com. "Everybody here has an interest in outdoor activities."
At Gear Town, those outdoor enthusiasts are enjoying free demos of 9:ZERO:7 snow bikes with 4-inch tires, Madshus "no skins required" cross-country/downhill skis and Atlas' entire line of snowshoes, among other cool things. At the Ruffwear booth, check out the doggie-joring rig, which sets up large dogs so they can pull you on your skis. Inspired by Gibbon's slacklines, Ruffwear is also displaying a slackline leash at Gear Town.
"It goes from 6 feet down to 3 feet just by sliding a slider," said Greg Freyberg, of ruffwear.com. "You wear it around your waist, it's got reflective on it, and the adjustable slider is proprietary to Ruffwear."
Wigwam, a sock manufacturer our of Wisconsin, is also showing off some of their products at Gear Town this weekend.
"Basically, Ultimax technology moves moisture from foot bottom up and out of the sock," said Wigwam marketing manager Natalie Stangl. "No blisters, no moisture."
If you buy two pairs of Wigwam socks from Buzz's Boards in Vail Village and bring the receipt to the Wigwam booth at Gear Town, they'll give you a free pair. Partnerships like that one are common at Gear Town, where the swag flows like drool from the mouths of the dogs waiting for free treats outside the Eukanuba booth. Rhino-Rack partnered up with Volvo to give away free Rhino ski and snowboard racks every day (sign up at the Volvo booth), and Eddie Bauer partnered up with CSA to give you free tunes on your skis (drop them off at the Eddie Bauer booth).
The Eddie Bauer booth in Gear Town is an attraction in itself. In front of the booth, a three-person Katabatic tent is set up.
"Anyone's welcome to come take a nap in it," said Mario Burciaga, a brand rep with Eddie Bauer. "It's an award-winning tent."
At the booth, heated stone pillars greet guests. Burciaga or one of the other Eddie Bauer reps takes your info and your skis and passes them back to the tuners at CSA. Then, they'll sign you up to win a free $50 gift card from Eddie Bauer, give you some stickers and tell you about the ice casting wall, where you cast a fishing line over a wall made of ice and reel it back in. Often times on your reel back in, you'll find you have snagged a free Eddie Bauer T-shirt or First Ascent multiclava.
And the Eddie Bauer reps will also direct you to the Social Click photo booth in the east wing of the Eddie Bauer tent, where you can pose for a pic with the Winter Mountain Games red carpet-style photo-op wall behind you. View the photo on a screen in front of you, where you can opt to have it printed on a 5-by-7-inch glossy format on the spot and for free, courtesy of Eddie Bauer.
"It's a nice reminder that pictures can actually be printed," said Burciaga. "We forget there was once a time when that's all people did with them."
Of course Social Click is up on the latest, as well. From their booth display, you can access your Facebook and Twitter to have your pics automatically posted to your page.
Gear Town opens again at 9 a.m. on Feb. 10.