Who was there?

Kasha Rigby
"the best female telemark skier in the known universe..."

[The People at OR]

It's that time again: Outdoor Retailer, the twice yearly mega-trade show of the "human-powered" sports world wrapped up its summer version in Salt Lake City, Utah last Sunday, August 16. This is the place where The North Face and Mountain Hardwear, Dana and Gregory, Climb High and Petzl, along with hundreds of other manufacturers and distributors duke it out for retailer orders. (Bikes have their own show, InterBike, in September.)

"Attendees were readily identifiable by "the look" cotton shorts, T-shirts and Tevas, with sunglasses hung the wrong way on the back of their necks..."
Strolling the aisles is very much like being a kid in a candy store until you realize that all those cool tents, backpacks, boots, ice tools, 'biners and clothes are utterly out of reach as it's wholesale only, and the stuff won't even be on store shelves until 1999.

This summer's was the biggest Outdoor Retailer ever with more than 300 companies attracting approximately 20,000 buyers, exhibitors and press to the withering heat of downtown Salt Lake. Attendees were readily identifiable by "the look" — cotton shorts, T-shirts and Tevas, with sunglasses hung the wrong way on the back of their necks. (Salt Lake cab drivers swear OR folks are "all alike," an alien race that comes from behind the moon, descends on the city twice a year, then goes away.)

At the show itself, there were trends (lightweight, ultra-lightweight and super-lightweight), surprises (The North Face will introduce a huge line of shoes and boots), and predictable developments (a greatly diminished offering of recycled fabrics).

But the real fun of OR is the people. This is the place where famous climbers, skiers and other outdoor celebrities converge to sign books, look cool or act as pitchmen and pitchwomen for their respective sponsors.

Here's a few of the folks we ran into:

Kasha Rigby
Kasha Rigby, a 27-year-old Crested Butte, Colorado resident and "the best female telemark skier in the known universe," hits the keg at the premiere party for Outside Magazine's new sister publication, Women Outside, on which she graces the cover.

Ed Viesturs
Ed Viesturs, America's favorite high-altitude climber and IMAX movie star, holds court in the Mountain Hardwear booth after auctioning off his ice ax for a cool three grand, which benefited the Access Fund.

Jim Bridwell
Jim "Heart of Stone" Bridwell, the dean of American rock climbers, basking in the glory of belated recognition for his unparalleled contributions to the sport. The subject of a recent Climbing Magazine cover story, "Birdman" was signing posters for the faithful.

Greg Child
Greg Child, the affable and articulate climber from Down Under, was a big draw at The North Face and signing copies of his new book, Postcards from the Ledge, at the Mountaineers Books. Stay tuned for an in-depth interview with the complex Child on the release of his new book.

Bill Crouse
Climber Bill Crouse, last seen by us at Ben & Jerry's bar in Kathmandu prior to his attempt on Lhotse, attending to his day job responsibilities as sales manager for The North Face; Coloradan Crouse, just back from climbing in Bolivia, is soon off to Aconcagua.

Lou Whittaker
Lou Whittaker, for more than three decades the reigning patriarch of Mount Rainier, was signing books and greeting old friends at Jansport and Helly Hansen.

Team SCAR: Gramicci clothing has a whole new Eco-Challenge line, and who better to get the word out than the famous Eco-Challenge stars themselves:

David Kelly
David Kelly, captain of the Santa Cruz Adventure Racing Team, is heading to Morocco for October's big event. Also a former Eco Adventure School instructor and race tester, Kelly has participated in four Eco events.

Terry Schneider
Terry Schneider, the female representative of Team SCAR, is a fitness consultant and myofascial (you'll have to wait for the Zone's interview to find out what this means) release therapist. A four time Eco veteran, Scheneider, with teammate Kelly, is heading to China for another endurance race less than a week after Morocco.

— Peter Potterfield, Mountain Zone Staff

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