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Snow Show: Ski innovations help all levels

Arn Menconi
Special to the Vail Daily

DENVER – Throngs of snow lovers packed into Denver’s Convention Center early Thursday morning to witness the official kickoff of Snowsports Industries America’s national trade show.

The event, which runs through Sunday, showcases the latest innovations, products and clothing in snow sports from more than 800 different brands, spread across 600,000 square feet and 3,100 exhibit booths.

Gov. Bill Ritter welcomed SIA – and the revenue it generates – to Denver during the opening ceremony.

“You just need to listen to this statistic. This is something I think people don’t believe until you see it a few times,” he said. “Skiing and snowboarding alone account for $2.6 billion in spending in Colorado every year … it’s such a great and exciting coup to learn we would be able to bring this convention to Colorado.

This is the first in an 11-year agreement between SIA and the city of Denver. The contract, which is the largest booking in the history of the visitor’s convention bureau, is expected generate enough revenue to fully cover the $340 million it cost to expand the Convention Center in 2004.

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper was clearly excited to welcome the Snow Show to the city, noting more than 60 bars and restaurants would run specials throughout the event.

“We’re delighted to host the world’s largest apres ski and ride event,” he said. “And to make sure we get everybody in the right mindset, we declared Friday ‘Wear Your Ski Gear to Work’ day, and hope to transform all of downtown Denver to a cozy little ski village.”

Manufacturers and retailers were optimistic about the snow sports industry heading into the show. Jeff Mechura, vice president for global marketing at K2 Sports, said the company experienced a “very good winter globally” and felt the future remained bright.

“There’s a lot going on with respect to innovations,” he said. “Right now the trendiest thing in skiing and snowboarding is Rocker technology.”

Beginners as well as advanced skiers and snowboarders can benefit from recent breakthroughs, he said.

“We keep selling the dream of having fun, and from an innovation standpoint, we’ve never given skiers a better reason to take a look at the new product out there, because it makes both skiing and snowboarding much easier,” he said. “It’s never been a better year to go skiing and have fun.”

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