Why the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show Is Permanently Leaving Utah

Outdoor Retailer show
The Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City.
Jennie Bell.

The outdoor industry is heading out.

After much speculation, industry leaders from the Outdoor Retailer trade show said they would pull the biannual event from Utah, held in Salt Lake City for roughly two decades.

The announcement came Thursday night after executives from Outdoor Retailer, Outdoor Industry Association, Patagonia, The North Face and REI held an unproductive conference call with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.

We are doing the work necessary to procure an alternative location for Outdoor Retailer,” said Marisa Nicholson, show director for Outdoor Retailer. “Though we may wish it different, this is far from a snap-of-the-fingers thing to make happen. Convention centers and hotels are not sitting idle. In every instance at every potential venue, there are hurdles that have to be cleared, and that simply cannot be done overnight. We expect that our current proposal process, which we initiated before any of the company withdrawal announcements last week, will take between 60 and 90 days. Salt Lake City has been hospitable to Outdoor Retailer and our industry for the past 20 years, but we are in lockstep with the outdoor community and are working on finding our new home.”

The industry expo, which earlier this month said it would seek proposals for new venue locations for shows and events, said it would no longer include the state of Utah in the request for proposal process for future show locations.

The feud, which resulted in a number of companies withdrawing from the show, heated up when Utah politicians took steps to rescind the national monument status of the Bears Ears National Monument.

The last OR show in Salt Lake City will be held in the summer of 2018.