Bad air clouds OR Winter Market

Posted at 9:40 PM, Jan 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-21 23:40:17-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Outdoor Retailer Winter Market pumps millions of dollars into the state every year. This year a record number of visitors are expected. For many it's their first time in Utah and their first time experiencing the inversion.

Could the beehive's bad air spell trouble for the business trade show?

Outdoor Retailer kicks off its winter market high above, in the mountains at Solitude where the air is crisp and clean.

While visitors enjoy the snowy slopes -- manufacturers, retailers and suppliers gear up for a busy week showcasing their products at the Salt Palace Convention Center. For many, it's their first time in Utah. "When I think of Utah, I think beautiful blue skies," said Jeff Oster with Atlas Snow Shoes out of Seattle.

"I have to say that I was fairly surprised to see a golden cast of something or other floating over the city," said Kathleen Throsey with Sportique Brands.

"It's definitely a difficult time and there is talk on the show floor about the inversion and what we can do about it," said Shawn Stinson with Visit Salt Lake during Fox 13's Live at Four.

Stinson said the state should have a special interest in keeping the air clean not just for the market, which is expected to pump $20 million into the local economy and attract a record 22,000 visitors this year for Utah's multi-billion dollar recreation industry.

Are the state's winter inversions really enough to keep conventions like outdoor retailer away? It depends on who you ask.

"I think that it's a possibility, especially for people who come for outdoor activities, you don't expect to come to a city and see something like that especially that much pollution,” said Vickie Cone who is visiting from Upstate New York. “I've been coming to Salt Lake for skiing since 1987 and this is the first time I've stayed down in the city and I am just overwhelmed with the smog that is here."

This marks the 17th annual OR Winter Market. Outdoor Retailer's summer and winter markets are contracted to stay in Utah through at least 2016.