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Snowsports show to head to Denver next year

Suzanne S. Brown
The Denver Post
Denver, CO Colorado

LAS VEGAS ” Denver leaders spent Wednesday promoting the region at the SnowSports Industries America trade show, which wraps up a 37-year run here Friday.

The annual show ” where 17,000 manufacturers and retail buyers of everything from skis and snowboards to long underwear and fur-trimmed parkas meet to show and sell ” will begin an 11-year run in Denver a year from now.

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, officials from Visit Denver and industry leaders talked up the move Wednesday morning at a booth decorated with mountain scenery, a snowlike white carpet and a video screen showing resort scenes. On one wall was a map of Denver with the current Las Vegas convention site superimposed over it to show that the new location isn’t as spread out as some fear.



“SIA is a big deal for our city,” Hickenlooper said. “Our goal is to make sure people leave it excited” about their experience.

“Denver’s robust city life, great lodging, dining and entertainment” helped lure SIA, said Michael J. Carey, but it was “the majesty of the Rocky Mountains” that clinched the deal. Carey is president of Seirus Innovation, a sports accessories maker, and chairman of the committee that decided where the show would move. Salt Lake City, Dallas and Orlando, Fla., were among the other cities the committee studied.



Next year’s show from Jan. 28-31 will include on-snow demos, rail jams, athlete appearances, a fashion show and additional opportunities for the public to get involved in what is typically a trade-only event, said SIA president David Ingemie.

Also, because of its timing following the X Games in Aspen and just before the 2010 Winter Olympics, Denver will be primed as a spot to showcase winter sports and their athletes.

“We should be the outdoor capital of the world,” said Richard Scharf, president of Visit Denver. “This is a way to start making that happen.”



He said the show is expected to be a $30 million annual boost to the Denver economy.

In Las Vegas, SIA was viewed as just another trade show in a city filled with them, while it will have much more visibility and support in a community such as Denver, Ingemie said.

SIA is planning to be more active in arranging entertainment options for its visitors than it was in Vegas, where nightlife options abound, he said.

Among those looking forward to the change in venue is Jeannie Thoren, a 31-year veteran of the show.

“Las Vegas has always been the place I go to thaw out in the winter,” says the resident of Duluth, Minn., who specializes in women’s snow equipment. “But it’s time to get back to the mountains. I sure want to be able to go skiing before and after the show.”


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