5.04.2016

Vermont report: All it takes to get the gang together for a couple beers is a press conference with a few major legislative initiatives


If you've poked around a few outdoor industry trade shows ... you've seen the Vermont crew.  They're in booths, they're in the aisles, they're on the creative side and the operation side, they're doing the magazine thing and they're, well, making it work however they can (Q: What do you call a Vermonter with three jobs?  A: Lazy).

In a maple syrup-encrusted nutshell, there is a robust Vermont presence at national outdoor industry trade events, but back in the Green Mountains that presence is pretty underwhelming. 

The idea for a Vermont Outdoor Industry event started small … as a couple in-the-aisle conversations at OR and SIA, some of which weren’t much longer than a couple minutes. But the idea took quickly hold, as people were all on board that this is something worth doing.

There are a couple things that helped bring the idea to reality. The first was the support of other Vermonters and their Vermont brands. Some are friends, some are professional associates, and some I've never really hung out with before.  But without exception, they're a group of individuals that I'm truly proud to stand with.

The second was the OIA Capitol Summit in DC, which is really the inspiration and the model for the whole thing. But as valuable and cool as it can be to walk the halls of Congress for a couple days, the reality is that a huge amount (arguably the majority) of public land and other decisions that impact local outdoor business owners are happening at the state level. In Vermont, we have excellent access to our state officials, so embracing that access is a no-brainer.

And the third big thing (for me, anyway) was happened this winter in Vermont:  a.k.a., our long unending November. As much as we all love skiing and snowboarding and look forward to many years of shredding in Vermont, it’s really pretty unnecessary at this point to be surprised by a no-show winter … and the outdoor recreation economy is something that can and should be a key player in helping bridge the gap between winter and weird.


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