This blogger’s long dreamed-of day is finally here: Outdoor Retailer trade show is ditching Utah. More specifically, from a press release from the Outdoor Industry Association: “Outdoor Retailer will not include the state of Utah in the RFP process for future show locations.” Let’s not kid ourselves, this happened because of hero company and industry powerhouse Patagonia, which pulled out of the show after the Utah government proved itself not in favor of public lands conservation. Patagonia was loyally followed by Polartec, which makes many of Patagonia’s fabrics.

The OIA, wussily, tried to prevent this schism by penning a weak and unfocused plea for “unity” and publicly begging Patagonia to pretty please come to the show anyway. Patagonia didn’t budge (duh – have they ever read Yvon’s book?) and OIA now has egg on their faces, if this writer is to be believed. But, regardless, the ends are the ends, and OR is moving. Salt Lake City is out.

My reasons for wanting this to happen were mostly selfish, I’ll admit. SLC hotels and Airbnb hosts caught on years ago that they could milk the crap out of OR attendees, and the days of finding a nice Airbnb room in downtown SLC for $40 a night are long over. For someone like me, an industry hardlyanybody, a mostly unpaid blogger and sometimes paid freelancer, paying inflated prices out of my own sad little pockets for lodging to attend a show like that is just a show…stopper. All that aside, it was just BORING to go to the same city twice a year, see the same booths at the same venue, eat at the same restaurants go to the same parties ahhhhhh I can’t bear it. I need variety.

And variety we shall have, as the next round of OR shows goes out to bid. The problem now, as I see it, is that OIA Patagonia has made a stand about environmental issues being forefront on ditching SLC. Clearly the show cannot choose a new location with problematic environmental policies. Sadly, that eliminates my home state of Alaska, what with its government in the pocket of the oil companies and all. Actually, it ain’t all bad, because I still cling to the notion that the hordes won’t discover much about Alaska for a long time coming, and the imminent state recession will only bolster the likelihood of a serious slowdown in the tide of newcomers.

Then again, it would be a much easier commute for me.

So where else can OR go? It’s gotta be a pretty good size venue, so let’s assume we’re talking biggish cities here, with a convention venue big enough for all this mess and enough lodging to house the crowd and its accoutrements. (Though it’s apparent that OIA is being dragged sulkily along to the conservationist cause against its collective will, I have still never understood why an industry that claims to be green needs so much damn STUFF to peddle its wares.) There really should be some proximity to the out of doors or, well, that would just be stupid, so let’s eliminate most of the East Coast. And let’s scrap the middle of the country, cuz no thanks on you, Kansas and Iowa. Borrrrring! And no one is gonna get stoked on going to OR in Winneconsin. Not awesomely epically bro enough for the plaid-clad trucker-hat-wearing outdoor crowd. So we’re probably looking at the West, truth be told. Spitballing on possibilities:

  1. Seattle area
  2. Denver, I mean, duh
  3. Wherever in California that is close to Mammoth Mountain
  4. Portland? Would that work? I have no idea
  5. Phoenix…is there skiing? Winter OR will be bizarre without snow
  6. Could Boise pull this off?
  7. Vegas??? Oh, god, not Vegas…actually wait that might be not so bad in some ways
  8. ????

I’ve a sneaking suspicion that Denver is going to be the next location. Seattle a close second. You read it here first.