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In 2017, divisive politics were everywhere. And last February, companies such as Patagonia and Arc’teryx boycotted Salt Lake City’s Outdoor Retailer show over Utah lawmakers’ push to rescind Bears Ears as a national monument. Seeking political refuge, organizers agreed in July to relocate to Denver (sorry Chicago, Minneapolis, Reno, and other bidders). To explain why, we consulted a nonpartisan group: the numbers.
- $28 billion Annual consumer spending generated by the outdoor recreation industry in Colorado. Minnesotans spend $11.6 billion—and that’s including snowmobiles.
- 1,600 Hotel rooms added in Denver since 2010, including those at Cherry Creek’s Halcyon, where guests can borrow e-bikes, GoPros, and more from the hotel’s complimentary gear garage.
- 148 Breweries in Denver alone (compared to 31 in all of Utah), prime for après show.
- 890 Coffeeshops in Denver (versus 296 in Reno, Nevada), making it that much easier to cure hangovers from those late-night “networking” events. And don’t even get us started on brunch.
- 39,000+ Miles of recreational trails in Colorado—plenty of space to demo the latest tents, mountain bikes, apparel, and more.
- 90 Outdoor Industry Association brands that call Colorado home, from big-name manufacturers like Kelty to smaller outfits such as the Colorado Yurt Co.
- 7 Ski resorts within a two-hour(ish) drive from Denver International Airport. Sure, you can get to a few from Chicago O’Hare, but don’t expect more than a few hundred feet of vertical drop.
- 15 Colorado mayors who have joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, aligning their cities’ values with those of many outdoor industry businesses that support progressive climate change policies.
- 1 Public Lands Day (the first state holiday of its kind), which Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law in May, proving Colorado’s love for its 23 million-plus acres of public lands—and all the hiking, climbing, kayaking, and other forms of endorphin-chasing allowed on them.