this must be the place...right?

Standing high above Salt Lake City with the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Wasatch Mountains and the sweeping valley below, it's easy to understand Brigham Young's famed "this is the place" utterance when he and his fellow Mormon pioneers reached the end of their long journey west.

Over 160 years later, Salt Lake City has become the place for something other than an escape from religious persecution and a new and bountiful home.

It is the now the twice annual host of the Outdoor Retailer trade show, a head-spinning gathering of various manufacturers of backpacking, climbing, paddling, trail running (all the shoes down in shoeville!!!) and other outdoor adventure gear.  Each January and August, vendors unveil the innovations bound for store shelves 6 months later.

For a gear junkie, it's a sight to behold.

But, for a retailer trying to carve out a greater niche in the marketplace, it also plays host to a lot of hard work compressed into a short amount of time.  At this point, after several years of attendance, I can barely imagine not going to OR, as it's commonly referred to within the industry.  The shows mark the year with far greater reliability than the temperamental passing of the seasons.  It may or may not snow, but, dammit, the Winter Outdoor Retailer show WILL happen in late January.  Count on it.

So, this IS the place and, lest I sound like I'm complaining, attending OR also means easy access to buttery singletrack and the advantage of still being on Eastern time so I can bag 5-10 miles each morning before "work" on trails like this perched 5,000+ feet above sea level (note SLC way down below):

Makes punching the clock a whole lot more palatable.

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