4 Things I Learned at the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show

Vanessa Shultz and other outdoor students attended the 2019 Outdoor Retailer Snow Show

4 Things I Learned at the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show

by Leah Elkins, Outdoor Recreation Leadership student

Vanessa Shultz and other outdoor students attended the 2019 Outdoor Retailer Snow Show

Outdoor Students Attended the 2019 Outdoor Retailer Snow Show in Denver

On the first of February, several lucky Colorado Mountain College Outdoor students attended the 2019 Outdoor Retailer Snow Show. Rachel Pokrandt, Vice President and CMC Leadville campus Dean, fired up a college van to bring the group of enthusiastic students down to the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Thanks to CMC’s outdoor industry connections and dedication to the recreation industry, I was one of the lucky students who attended both the 2018 and 2019 Outdoor Retailer Snow Show. Here are the four most valuable things I learned from this experience!

Networking with CMC graduates in the outdoor industry

Upon arrival we met up with Dr. Carrie Hauser, Colorado Mountain College President. We stuck together as a group and toured the upper level booths and store-like layouts. Imagine a busy indoor market of outdoor industry displays, products, enthusiasts, and professionals. The all-knowing Dr. Hauser marched us straight to several businesses that employed CMC graduates and even a current student intern. We had the opportunity to network, ask questions, and collect business cards with the hopes of one day being in their shoes.

Witnessing the prevalence of sustainability models and products

Wandering around with maps and ID’s identifying us as “STUDENTS”, my classmates and I took the opportunity to learn about the sustainability models of our favoriteand our never-heard-of-beforebusinesses. We asked questions, read pamphlets, and exclaimed over the ways these organizations prioritized corporate responsibility.

Seeing the multitude of retailers, services, and contractors that make up the outdoor industry

The outdoor industry is huge and growing! One of the best things college students can learn is how many different job opportunities are available. One professional even took the time to encourage us to apply for a job with his organization! It was in this moment —and many others— that we were honored to have been chosen for Dr. Hauser’s outdoor student group.

Meeting representatives of businesses that inspire mefrom Patagonia to National Geographic!

I felt like a behind-the-scenes VIP professional; networking and talking to representatives from National Geographic about maps, map-making software, and USGS data. Meeting these individuals in such a professional setting is so different from walking into a store or emailing a customer service representative. These are the jobs I hope to one day pursue.

The Outdoor Retailer Snow Show was just one of the many opportunities made possible by Colorado Mountain College and the Outdoor Recreation Leadership program. From mapping professionals and gear innovators to retailers and guide businesses, CMC has introduced me to a world where we can be paid to pursue our passions… and the future is promising.


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