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Outdoor Retailer takes show to Denver

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FILE - Ryan Robinson performs stunts on a slackline at the Mountain Hardware booth during the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016.

FILE - Ryan Robinson performs stunts on a slackline at the Mountain Hardware booth during the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Two major outdoor recreation trade shows are merging to create one mega winter expo likely to be held in Denver.

Emerald Expositions said Wednesday that it has acquired the SnowSports Industries America Snow Show held each winter in Denver. Emerald also produces the Outdoor Retailer show that's leaving Salt Lake City after two decades over political differences with state leaders.

The first combined show is expected to be held in January, Emerald said in a news release. The organization didn't disclose how much it paid in the acquisition.

Companies in the industry have been requesting a merger for years, SnowSports Industries America President Nick Sargent said. Creating one show reduces stress for companies and offers a bigger platform, he said.

The move was approved unanimously by SnowSports Industries' board of directors, the news release said.

Alex Hunt, spokesman for Salt Lake City-based DPS Skis, said the company is sad to see the show leaving Utah but believes the merged show will be beneficial by allowing presenting companies like DPS and retailers looking for new products to save time and money by not having to attend both shows.

In recent years, "hard gear" companies selling skis, snowboards, boots and bindings tended to go only to Snow Sports in Denver, while "soft gear" companies selling clothes and accessories opted for Outdoor Retailer in Utah.

"It will help retail buyers to be able to see it all at one show," Hunt said.

The merger means July's Outdoor Retailer summer show could be the final one in Salt Lake City.

Show organizers said in February they were leaving Utah for a new long-term home because of Republican state leaders' opposition to the new Bears Ears National Monument and other public land policies.

The show had considered leaving in the past over philosophical differences and finally did after Gov. Gary Herbert signed a resolution calling on federal officials to rescind the monument that President Barack Obama designated on 1.3 million acres of land in southeastern Utah considered sacred to Native American tribes.

The show was under contract to host two shows in 2018 in Utah, but organizers had already said they were considering other options for next year.

Outdoor Retailer said in its own news release that it expects to make an announcement soon about a new host city for its shows. The organization is in the final stages of a bid process that began in February.

The merger with the Snow Show, which has been in Denver since 2010 and recently extended its contract to stay there through 2030, bodes well for Colorado's chances of landing the Outdoor Retailer summer show.

Montana and Oregon also had expressed interest.

Outdoor Retailer spokeswoman Kate Lowery said no final decision has been made about a host city for the summer 2018 show.

The organization's events have grown from 5,000 people at the first show to about 29,000 last summer. It attracts an estimated $45 million in annual direct spending to Utah, filling hotels and restaurants during the two shows held each year.