You should head to Salt Lake City when the Outdoor Retailer Markets happen, even if you have no interest in the ORShow itself. Why? #Hikerchat outings! They truly are the highlight of my time there, meeting old friends, making new ones, and seeing beautiful Utah scenery. The workout is a bonus, as is the after-party at Teton Sports HQ (though that’s pretty special in its own right). The great thing about this is you can just show up and participate, no need to own snowshoes or the like. As usual, Tubbs Snowshoes provided the gear, while I/O Merino gave registered attendees a sweet new base layer – thanks to both of those companies for supporting this!
Meeting new people can be nerve-wracking, especially when standing in a cold parking lot and seeing little groups of people who obviously already know each other. Here’s the great thing: participate once and you’re in the group for life. This is one of the most open and accepting groups I’ve ever met and the only bad thing about hanging out with them is that it only happens twice a year. I need to move, get more travel funds, or something. Anyway, if you’re able, come out, don’t be shy – you’ll be glad you did.
After parking and donning snowshoes, it was off to the races. Shawn of Teton Sports promised a brutal hike, but we foiled him by taking our time and turning around before the planned destination. Even while heading up, the hijinks ensued: trees being shaken free of snow, enormous snowball attacks (Paulina of Little Grunts is pure evil), barrel rolls down steep inclines. On the way back things just got more and more outrageous, with a wee little deer participant mercilessly hunted down by a large bear man (to see Shawn pursued by Missouri Howell is a sight to see).
This trip, we had four, count them, four Tubbs Snowshoes Ambassadors – I don’t hold myself in the same league as Terry, Shawn and Landon in terms of outdoors badassery, but I’m hoping some of their coolness rubs off on me when we meet up. And speaking of outdoors badassery, what kind of man brings a girl to the #hikerchat snowshoe outing on a second date? Josh of Raw Trails did. I salute you, super cool. That right there is the awesomeness of this activity.
As mentioned, the after-party is at Teton HQ (sign the wall!); this year was hot cocoa and waffles. Some of us, however, were headed back to ORShow and stopped off for lunch. In previous iterations, the outing was on a Sunday, which meant the infamous Hector’s….was closed. With the change of dates for the Market, however, we went out on a Saturday, so Mexican it was. And it was good, so good that I would go back any time (though I deplore their unceasing use of styrofoam…).
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market is August 3-6, so start making plans now for the weekend, I’m sure Shawn and Landon will have yet another great adventure planned.