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Snowsports Industries America buys Colorado Ski & Snowboard Expo in trade group’s first turn toward consumers

The move gives SIA -- the 65-year-old founder of the annual Snow Show that is now part of Outdoor Retailer’s annual winter trade show in Denver -- its first consumer-oriented enterprise

Crews prepare the booth for Volkl skis and other companies at the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show at the Colorado Convention Center on January 29, 2019 in Denver. (Kathryn Scott, Special to The Colorado Sun)
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Snowsports Industries America, the nonprofit trade group representing winter industry retailers, resorts and manufacturers, is acquiring the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Expo and its sister expo in Boston.

The move, announced Friday, gives SIA — the 65-year-old founder of the annual Snow Show that is now part of Outdoor Retailer’s annual winter trade show in Denver — its first consumer-oriented enterprise after decades of hosting business-to-business trade shows. 

The expos in Denver and Boston, founded by Bernie Weichsel’s BEWI Productions Inc. in 1979, draw thousands of skiers, retailers and brands in what is trumpeted as “the unofficial kickoff to winter.”

“We asked ourselves how SIA can best connect our industry directly with today’s consumer and consumer expos make a ton of sense in this regard,” said Nick Sargent, president of Park City, Utah-based SIA, in a written statement. “We look forward to building upon the legacy and tradition that the BEWI shows have come to represent while unveiling a new modern, consumer-oriented approach for this celebration of winter.”

In 2017, SIA sold its 50-year-old Snow Show, an annual gathering of all winter sports retailers, brands and media, to Emerald Expositions, the host of the influential summer and winter Outdoor Retailer trade shows. 

The merged Outdoor + Snow Show draws more than 18,000 outdoor industry businesses to the Colorado Convention Center every January in a deal through 2030 that marks the largest convention booking in the history of Visit Denver. 

Read more outdoors stories from The Colorado Sun.

The Snow Show sale left SIA without the reins of its trademark event, and the trade group has spent the past two years exploring a new role in the industry as a repository of industry tools and data to help snowsports businesses grow, drive more participation in winter sports and address the impact of climate change. 

The deal was announced Friday at the kickoff of the 38th annual Boston Ski and Snowboard Expo, an annual rally that marks the beginning of the ski season for New England skiers. 

Sargent said in his statement that he hopes to transform the trade shows in both cities and expand to other cities, “creating a network of consumer-focused events for the industry.”