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History of the Outdoor Industry with Rachel Gross

July 17 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm MDT

No escape to nature is complete without a trip to an outdoor recreational store or a browse through online offerings. Nowhere is this more true than in Colorado. Holubar, Gerry, and Frostline are among the first outdoor companies that helped establish Colorado as a hub of innovation for the outdoor industry after World War II. In her book, Shopping All the Way to the Woods: How the Outdoor Industry Sold Nature to America (Yale, 2024) Rachel S. Gross argues that the success of these outdoor gear pioneers was predicated not just on creating functional equipment but also on selling an authentic, anticommercial outdoor identity. In other words, shopping for the woods was also about being—or becoming—the right kind of person. Demonstrating that outdoor culture is commercial culture, Gross examines Americans’ journey toward outdoor expertise by tracing the development of the nascent outdoor goods industry, the influence of World War II on its growth, and the boom years of outdoor businesses.

Rachel S. Gross is a historian of the outdoor industry and author of Shopping All the Way to the Woods: How the Outdoor Industry Sold Nature to America (Yale University Press, 2024). She is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Colorado Denver where she teaches U.S. environmental, business, and public history.


Museum of Boulder
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Museum Of Boulder
2205 Broadway
Boulder, 80302
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