With the move to Denver for ORShow, it was time to find a new hotel, find the new location, and get used to a new layout. All of it turned out to be easy.
I didn’t hurry to get to Outdoor Retailer this time – over the years I’ve mellowed and realized the need to pace myself. So many things to see and plenty of time if planned right. Plus, wandering the Show opens up possibilities to serendipitous opportunities.
Flying into Denver was easy, probably an hour less than SLC, which gave me just enough time to watch “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” still one of my faves, even though I’ve seen it a bunch of times.
From the airport to downtown, I opted for the A-Train, a $9 ride to Union Station (though a kind stranger gave me her ticket for the day, so it ended up being free, free, free). From Union Station to the Crowne Plaza would have been a nice walk, but I chose to ride the Free MallRide, buses that stop every block in the downtown area. There would soon be too much walking over the next few days at the Show.
Slide show of Outdoor Retailer Winter 2018 Day 1:
Dropping my bags with the concierge at the hotel, I walked the few blocks to the Colorado Convention Center, site of Outdoor Retailer moving forward. The lines to get badges were LOOOOOOOOONG, but happily they moved quickly and I was soon in like Flynn.
After finding the Media Room (now known as the Press Room), it was time to wander and get acquainted with the layout of the Show. Unlike SLC, the Street level vendors were placed in hallways, in corners, under escalators and seemingly in any nook or cranny that attracted the attention of the show organizers. This was definitely a letdown after SLC, where it was easy to navigate the ballrooms and one could rest assured that each aisle had been visited. (I still don’t know if Ii saw every part of the Convention Center.)
The Upper Level harkened back to SLC, with a familiar feel spread across the vast floor space. I never quite got the hang of where everything was, but with the phone app I could always orient myself and find my destination.
The afternoon was spent wandering the floor, scoping out upcoming appointments, and chatting with new-to-me companies that had cool gear. I connected with @MikeOfftheMap (aka Michael Restivo) and we walked and chatted and visited booths together for quite a while.
5280 Burger Bar slideshow:
Blame it on work travel just before the trip, the time change, jet lag, whatever, but I was exhausted when I ducked out of happy hour and made my way back to the hotel. But first, 2 stops: Jerri’s Tobacco Shop and Fine Wines for a red blend and 5280 Burger Bar for dinner. I can vouch for the Vail Burger and their Brussels sprouts were flat-out amazing, though the scent was VERY strong as I checked in and made my way up to my room.
The hotel had upgraded me to a suite, with an amenity I’d never had before in a hotel: a second bathroom. I actually never ended up using it except to wash hands and get water for drinking, but it made me feel swank and special nonetheless. I’m rarely disappointed with Crowne Plaza, and this one was no different. Great location, great service.
Crowne Plaza Denver Downtown slideshow:
Making plans to meet Tanya (@drtyellowshorts) for breakfast at the Show, I was soon earning some needed rest.