When the powers that be at SIA said they were moving the show from Vegas to Denver there were numerous complaints from both industry insiders and those that just tag along for the ride, while others seemed to praise the move and welcomed the fresh start. 37 years provided a long history, one that’s highly colorful, one that has spawned many tales of the debauchery, and left many devastated lives in its wake. Now after the inaugural first Denver Snow Show its time to reflect on the various differences in locales and having a national On Snow Demo.Looking at geographical locations Las Vegas offers a certain ambience that seems counter productive to what snow sports are all about. Its in the desert in a city that definitely doesn’t strive to have a populace that’s overly interested in the outdoors or even being remotely healthy. While Denver on the other hand sits at the base of the Colorado Rockies with an overly active population.
Obviously Denver can’t hold a candle to the epic adult mayhem Vegas is notorious for. Bright lights, loud noises, and silicone injected hotties abound in that town. If you need a rub and tug to unwind you can definitely find one and it won’t be in some dark alley by a toothless crackhead. Now maybe that’s your thing, in which case Colfax Avenue is where you want to be. Now Denver did have its fair share of parties and definitely rocked some peoples world with what it could handle. Evidently Diamond Cabaret was destroyed by the likes of Burton. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come for year two?
Was the over all tone different this year than in the past? Well Skullcandy still bumped tunes, beers were still drank, and broshakes were handed out like free condoms at an Aids rally. Although one thing was definitely different and that was the amount of business going down. The show wasn’t as party oriented and business was definitely at the forefront. For some bright eyed first years they were sadly disappointed that the show didn’t live up to the hype that had surrounded it all those years in Vegas. For others that have become a bit burnt out on staying out till 5 a.m. partying their face off there was a level of relief to take it back to being about the business end of things.
One thing that was more noticeable this year was the presence of people that didn’t belong there. At one point on Friday there was a herd of giddy school children looting stickers and other swag from every booth they could invade. Randoms are not an unusual sight to behold but for some reason there seemed to be more coming out of the woodwork. Just a casual observation.
The biggest change though had to be the hosting of the On Snow Demo right after the trade show ended. In previous years there was a bit of time between the show and the demo’s thus allowing hype and suspense to build in the snow sliding populace before reviews would pop out. This year it was the wham, bam, thank you Ma’am approach as product previews and reviews exploded in a flood of next years products.
Now here’s the stupid part about having the On Snow back to back with the trade show. You still have the regionalized On Snows for the other areas and forcing those Colorado retailers to have to share their On Snow with everyone else. How is it fair to them to pick and choose when most of these people attending are going to get to a more private one afterwards?
Not to mention Winter Park was not the best venue to host a demo of this caliber. Intrawest is a hurting unit right now and it reflected in the operation of the event. There was a lack of crowd control in the main lift line, to the point it became a shoving match to get to the front. There were more people that weren’t there for the demo walking around trying to get on stuff than in previous years, come to think of it there weren’t any so called security guards monitoring who was walking in or out of the tent village.
As far as the terrain goes it’s just a shitty year in Colorado so the coverage wasn’t that great, but seeing softball sized rocks in the middle of runs was still a bit shocking. The terrain park left more to be desired and after hitting two screws on the first day on their jibs it was safe to say the park is officially a pile of shit. In hindsight a better location would have been Copper or sadly keeping it at Keystone.
Now the long and short of it is Denver is a great city to host the show. Winter Park is not a good resort for the On Snow. Things could have gone a bit more smooth, but next year will be the real test to see if all the kinks have finally been ironed out.