Outdoor Retailer: Demo Day Impressions
Outdoor Retailer's Demo Day is a like movie preview — flash, lots of quick cuts, and hints of things to come. This Demo Day was no exception: cool new gear, interesting random events, and nonprofits working hard to make a difference.
Alicia and I kicked off the day at the Trail Runner 5K “It's a Shore Thing” run, sponsored by Helly Hansen. The run benefited GECKO, a nonprofit dedicated to “Giving Every Child Knowledge of the Outdoors.”
This crowd of uber-trendy outdoor industry professionals had the most varied and expensive selection of footwear I've ever seen, everything from trail runners to barefoot-style shoes, to leather moccasins, to an authentic pair of Tarahumara-inspired running sandals.
As if the shoes weren't enough, after the race finished, GoPro-sponsored skydivers with parafoils landed near the finish line.
After rehydrating, I spotted two conspicuously well-used packs in the crowd, belonging to Ian Mangiardi and Andy Laub, two gentleman presently several hundred miles in to a Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike, who had hitchhiked from Truckee, California, to Utah.
Ian and Andy founded the nonprofit The Dusty Camel during their 2009 Appalachian Trail thru-hike, and are roaming the world to raise awareness of the need to protect wild spaces. They are not hiring. I checked.
A few booths down, the Sustainable Living Roadshow partnered with Birkenstock to create the "Recycle Swish," a carnival-style game teaching attendees the importance of recycling. At first, I thought people were pitching actual trash at the baskets, but upon closer inspection, the "trash" was plastic.
The day ended with a visit to Destate, an 11-year-old bald eagle brought in from the Ogden Nature Center. Destate came to the center from Washington state at the age of 1 with gunshot wounds. She was rehabilitated, though she'll never fly again. Her handler says she "has made the best of it and gets to get out and meet people" for educational programs and visits, like their visit to Open Air Demo day where she gathered many appreciative onlookers.