Reflections on Intent + Purpose: The RANGER Station at Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show 2018

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The inaugural Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show in Denver has come and gone, and while it feels like a distant memory, it’s only been a couple weeks since the RANGE crew hung our flag in the Mile High City. Like most of you, we’ve been full speed ahead, diving back into client projects, traveling and planning for spring, but can honestly say we’ve also taken time to reflect, learn and grow after this season’s show. When we told you back in 2017 that the industry was on the right track to a completely different Outdoor Retailer Show with a whole new energy, we meant it.

There’s an excitement that comes with navigating a new city, let alone three full floors of a convention center, so when we brought back The RANGER Station in partnership with Venture Out, we felt at home. Throw in all the familiar faces we love seeing twice a year and just like that, our whole outdoor family was together again. It felt good to be back, this time with a packed lineup of activations to spark some hard-hitting conversations.

To celebrate the merge of SIA and Outdoor Retailer, we invited our sisters from the action sports industry to tackle the current status of women in snowboarding. Taking cues from content creators, mountaineers and snowboarding legends, we confirmed that the modern outdoor woman definitely isn’t one-dimensional. She’s hiking, skateboarding and skiing all in the same weekend. We also took on the issue of getting women into prominent places in the workplace, even if it means creating a title and starting your own business.

In addition, we enlisted industry leaders from Teva, The Outpost, Faction Skis and Nemo Design to discuss the benefits of taking risks and embracing collaborations. While social media algorithms can boost your number of followers, James Morrin from Flowfold suggested that authenticity always comes out on top. “Eighty-four percent of millennials say user generated content is more effective. The return comes with partnering with organizations and micro-influencers who speak to your core values and actually engage with their communities. It’s not always about millions of followers.”

Things got interactive as RANGE dream team, Founder Jeanine Pesce and Creative Director Cooper Gill, hosted a retail merchandising workshop at The CAMP, creating a model retail space on stage inspired by the modern outdoor consumer. Ninety-two percent of customers say that visuals are the most important factor when making a purchase, so retailers improving their aesthetics and concentrating on unique shopping experiences could ensure a brick-and-mortar, versus a click-and-mortar, future.

Conservation, advocacy and inclusivity were perhaps the biggest topics at The RANGER Station this year. As we continue to engage in the conversation of public lands and allyship in the outdoors, we were presented with an incredible opportunity to listen to and learn from each other, taking on uncomfortable, yet vitally important conversations. In doing so, we ultimately found the push and pull of these issues are what brings us together as a community to create the change we not only want, but demand for our future. To all of the panelists who joined us for the Monumental Decisions and Allyship in the Outdoors activations, we are humbled and honored for your time and energy, and stand with you in spearheading this movement.

There were also a lot of firsts at The RANGER Station for this particular show. We hosted the Radical by Design showcase to highlight emerging and established brands in the Venture Out section and grant them the coveted Radical by Design award, this time with a brand new trophy. Check out a full list of winners below.

We brought back a curated library of our favorite outdoor, lifestyle and design literature and added some new magazine partners to the show (see what we’re reading now below). And with the launch of RANGE Mag Issue Eight, we were excited to share this latest installment with friends, brands and contributors. We even ran out of copies by the second day of the show! This was a rewarding milestone for us, and we’re honored by the support of everyone who stopped by the station to grab an issue. Now that Issue Eight is out in the world, we want to ensure you get your copy, so be sure to check out our Big Cartel site and grab one while they’re still available.

There’s a lot to gain when you take the time to digest and reflect on things. All too often we find ourselves exhausted, moving through time and experiences without being present. Reflecting on the 2018 Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show, we realized there was an awakening and a rekindled magic in the city of Denver. We found it in the passionate conversations we had with our community members on relevant issues. It was evident in meetings with brand partners collaborating to create authentic work that matters and makes a difference. We found it as we moved our bodies to soul music on the dance floor of a basement dive bar with both old and new friends. The 2018 Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show in Denver represented a revival of positive energy and we’ll be riding this wave all the way into the summer. See you back in the Mile High City after the snow melts.

Library Showcase:

Radical by Design:

Images by Lisa Dougherty, Erin Sullivan and Caleb Woods.

xx Lisa