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The Business of the Great Outdoors

Key Takeaways

Camping season is upon us! The crew asks Kelly Davis, Director of Research for the Outdoor Industry Association, how she works with the office of finance and what outdoor trends she’s seeing. Then Steve and Catherine sneak in questions about skiing, and it’s all downhill from there. Listen in:



Season 3, Episode 19: The Business of the Great Outdoors | Transcript

Catherine Tsai: Hello, and welcome to Off the Books where we surf the uncharted waters of accounting, finance, risk, and wherever else the waves take us. This episode is brought to you by Workiva, the risk reporting and compliance platform that simplifies your complex work, so logging in to sign off on quarterly reports feels like riding a bike, not falling off of one. Check it out at My name is Catherine Tsai. I'm a writer by trade, a venti soy chai enthusiast, and I can figure out what to tip people without a calculator. I'm looking forward to debiting a great conversation today, and I'm happy to have you with us. I'm also happy to have Mike Gravagno joining me. Mike, can you please tell the fine folks who you are? 

Mike Gravagno: Sure. I'm a producer of Off the Books and a recovering Cherry Coke addict. And I love podcasting and learning new things. So I am here to learn. Who are you and Steve talking to you today, Catherine?

Catherine: Well, we're right in the thick of summer, so Steve and I figured it'd be a good time to talk to Kelly Davis, who's based out of Maryland. She is Director of Research for the Outdoor Industry Association, as well as the Cross-Country Ski Areas Association. She has a deep background in market research, and during her career, she's worked closely with finance leaders, so we'll ask her about that.

Mike: Oh, I thought you guys wanted the hot ski tips and trends in the outdoor industry.

Catherine: Okay, guilty. Buckle up. Here's our conversation with Kelly Davis.

Steve Soter: Kelly, we're so glad you came by. Could you maybe give us a quick elevator speech of your background?

Kelly Davis: Sure, it's been a winding path. I guess, you know, I can say I started in manufacturing and went to intelligence after that. And then, you know, I ended up in New York City at a startup dot com back in '99 and 2000. And then I made my way back to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where I decided that I wanted to work my passion. So I got the job as Director of Research for the Snowsports Industries America, which is a trade association for snowsports, and did that for about 11 years, and left that to go be the Senior Research Director for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. And then the pandemic hit and the research director job for Outdoor opened, and I thought, "Yeah, I think that sounds like a good place for me." So I'm back in Outdoor. 

Steve: Awesome. Well, I know we have at least one fan, who would be my father, who would be very excited to talk to you about your AOPA experience. So I don't know how much we'll get into that, but sounds like you've had a lot of interesting experience and experience that we're anxious to talk about.

Kelly: Yeah, me too. Except for the one thing, and I can't tell you that or I'd also have to kill you.

Steve: We'll, try to avoid that. 

Catherine: Maybe later. How does your work tie back to what's going on in the office of the CFO?

Kelly: Well, it's sort of interesting, you know, and speaking of AOPA. At AOPA, I worked for the CFO. So, I was part of the finance group, and it was the first time that I've ever been in that position where research was part of finance. And so, you know, the financial analysts and the research analysts work together. And actually, it was really interesting. And really, it's a distribution from, you know, internal data to external data, and we sat at both ends of that distribution. Research is about external, and the finance guys were about internal and business intelligence. So, really when you think about understanding what's going on within the company and how the company interacts with its customer base, or its member base, or the world is a complete distribution, including finance and research. And I really got to like working that way because, you know, the financial analysts had basically the same skillset that the research analysts did. It was just a difference in where we were looking and where we were focusing. But having us work together helped us to really inform, you know, everyone in the organization about what was going on, both in the world and in how the company was reacting and how the world was reacting to the company.

Steve: Did you spend a lot of time with the day-to-day accountant? It seems like there'd be a financial planning and analysis angle.

Kelly: Accounting, not as much. They were part of the same team. So, you know, obviously we interacted, but it was more the financial analysis team. Those were the guys that were putting together the business intelligence dashboards that inform management of what was going on in the company every single minute of every single day. I mean, they were amazing.

Steve: Well, and it's interesting because, you know, if you think about the typical role of a FP&A—planning and analysis—it's generally forward looking. And of course, the accountants are usually kind of backward looking, but, you know, it always sort of starts out, I think, with that fundamental understanding of, "Hey, what is happening, what is going on in the business? Where do we expect it to go?" That understanding, I think, can help inform maybe some of the more technical and subjective areas in accounting where you do have to rely on those future forward-looking assumptions. 

Kelly: The way we work together, and we spend a lot of time together because when they were formulating their analysis, they relied on research to tell them what was going on in the market, so that they can include those variables in their equations.

Steve: Well, let's talk a little bit about maybe some historical trends, but then maybe how that informs the way things are headed in the future. You've got two outdoor enthusiasts. Catherine is a snowboarder. I am a skier. You know, can you tell us a little bit about what the trends have looked like over the last two years, especially with that sort of explosion that we saw around COVID? You know, one minute the mountains were completely empty, and then the next minute it's just like a complete madhouse. I mean, what did you see from your vantage point over the last couple of years? And then maybe where do you think that means that things are going to be headed in the future?

Kelly: Okay. Well, you know, I do have participation data. So when I think about what happened, I know that there were about 8.5 million new hikers that entered the market. I also know that team sports slowed down. So, you know, kids are playing baseball, soccer, lacrosse. Now that slowed down a bit. Anything that required a team in 2020 slowed down a bit and and is still working on picking back up. Outdoor activities like fishing, camping, hunting, hiking, walking for fitness all of those did fairly well. Well, some of the even snow sports hurt a little bit in 2020. And you're seeing skier visit numbers where—we've got a lot to talk about in snow sports because they've had a paradigm shift in the market with the incentives for everybody to buy a season pass. And we can talk about that. But all of a sudden it's, you know, you have to decide what to do and your options are pretty much limited to let's go outside. And so about about 9 million more people got outside during the pandemic. A lot of them are doing basic things: biking, hiking, camping, fishing, and walking outside. And we saw that the most accessible activities are the ones that grew the most during the pandemic. And frankly, I got the 2021 data a few months ago, and I got the top-line data and looked at it thinking, "Oh, boy, I'm going to see I'm going to see a major crash." Because, you know, the whole expansion during the pandemic was just artificial and transient. And then I got the 2021 data, and that didn't happen. It was actually sticky. There were 666,000 new hikers in 2021. So we actually grew more in 2021 in a number of different activities, especially those that were very accessible from the front door. So, no major inconvenience, no driving, none of that. You just basically go out the door and do it. And those things were sticky. Now that we're hopefully getting to endemic, I think we're pretty close. I think everybody's kind of just living their lives again, and, you know, it'll be interesting to see what the patterns look like in 2022. But I'm going to take a lesson from what we saw on skier visits this year. Skier visits this year hit 61 million. That is the biggest season ever in history. So, you know, if I'm looking at that and thinking, okay, you know, maybe we extract the variable on season passes and just look at what is driving people to just be outside, especially in winter, especially, you know, when you're thinking about downhill skiing. There's a lot of inconvenience involved in that. I mean, talk about inconvenient things: all kinds of equipment that you've got to buy and take care of and haul around. I mean, if you've got kids, it's just a major exercise and, you know, just show up and enjoy the experience when, you know, maybe you spent 30 minutes in a lift line or the first time you had to go up the mountain, or it was really crowded, or you didn't have that great of an experience, and yet you still went back. So, I'm thinking about when I'm looking at the snow sports data from this season, I'm thinking about the entire outdoor market and what I'm seeing in the participant base, which is outdoor is sticky. People are not going back inside. They're continuing their outdoor activity as the pandemic sort of reaches a stage, and I hate to say that we're not—I guess we're not in a pandemic or in a pandemic, but as we get out of this particular stage in our history, it's going to be really interesting to see what happens, and that data is beginning to indicate that outdoors is going to keep the people that decided to experience it during the pandemic.

Catherine: Is that a good thing or a bad thing that so many people are heading outdoors?

Kelly: It depends. I think we have problems right now with the lack of dispersal of people. So there are some iconic spots that are getting really, really used and really, we'll say, overuse. So I'm thinking about, you know, going to Yosemite and being in a giant crowd of people, or having to get reservations to go into Glacier National Park. Or even go to your more popular local trailhead and the first mile basically is just a line of people. So we've been talking about that. We've been talking about how we can disperse people across the environment. I did a funny analysis, just something really simple to make a point that if we took the basically it's about 56 million hikers and disperse them over the National Trails System, which is about 88,000 miles, and everybody came out at once, you know, we could separate each other by eight feet. Not bad, right? But talking about it, you know, within the industry, we've talked a lot about how we can use apps to try and help people find trails that are closer to home, you know, and encourage more use of more trails so that we can manage some of the overuse problems we're having in our more iconic spots.

Steve: Do you wonder that with flexible work and now increasingly people able to work wherever, I take that phenomenon and I combine that with what you said a moment ago, which is that this growth was the most pronounced in sports where you could just walk right out the front door. And so, you know, maybe I'm going to offend some of our listeners in west Texas here, but I'm thinking about if I live in west Texas and I like to hike, that's a much different thing—unless I love the desert—than it is here where I'm at in Salt Lake City, where, you know, I'm looking out my window and within 20 minutes, I mean, you can be on these world-class trails and certainly you can be from your front door. So what does that say about the compression, then, of those areas that are, you know, right in the heart of pristine outdoors, and how we're going to manage that capacity? Because I know even just anecdotally myself, going up on the mountain to go fly fishing, for example, it's nuts. Like, it is just absolutely crazy.

Kelly: It is a little nuts. I think the idea is if we can figure out how to educate people about all of the access they have to nature near their home so that maybe we get them to mix it up a little bit. And maybe instead of, you know, we can we can convince people to do more than just maybe they started out hiking and they never thought that they would do that. So maybe we can get them camping and fishing and riding a bike and get everybody spread out a little bit. I don't think anybody enjoys a situation where you go to a trail and there are a gazillion people there. I mean, you're trying to get away, right? You're trying to get into nature. And, you know, sometimes I've heard stories of etiquette issues or vandalism issues, or there's a story going around in the industry right now about National Park Service is really tired of picking up poo. So it actually gets into situations that are super gross and not good for nature. So we are talking a lot about how to disperse people across the environment and talking about ways that we can do that are more carrot and stick. You know, you never want to say to a new person that they're not welcome because of, you know, they violated this and this and this ethical code. And they didn't even know that the code existed, or they didn't understand. So, we have to do a good job of educating and then think of innovative ways to teach people about all of the access that they have and all of the fun things that they can do outdoors. And frankly, you know, outdoors, you know, hiking is really just walking on dirt. So we might even be able to convince people to just, you know, do some urban hiking, which is basically just walking around in the city. I mean, just other ideas about how you can participate outdoors and get that same benefit that you'd get from walking on a trail in say, you know, Redwoods National Park, which is sort of, you know, when I am having a hard day I close my eyes and think about. But you know, not everybody's going to hike the PCT. Not everybody's going to be a thru-hiker on the AT. So, you know, we want to be innovative. And, frankly, you know, the new participants, the people that came into the market, you know, they didn't have preconceived notions about what hiking should be or what fishing should be. And we've seen some pretty interesting ways of people getting out and participating without doing it in the way we normally thought of, but are just enjoying maybe a quarter mile hike in with the family back and have a barbecue at the trailhead. And that's hiking. That's still hiking. So there are a lot of things that we look at, including how we define participation. 

Catherine: It also seems like with flexible work, there's some flexibility in when you can take part in some of these activities. I mean, anecdotally, at the ski resorts, it definitely seems busier this year on weekdays than on weekends, and I'm wondering if the data backs that up.

Kelly: It definitely does. And I've been looking at workforce issues a lot. And, you know, flexible workplaces have been such a benefit to outdoor. So people are able to go out in the middle of the day during the week and recreate. You know, we're not spending two hours a day commuting. It's easy to do. And it definitely had an impact on outdoor, and we think about snow sports. It really had an impact on snow sports. The resorts for years were trying to figure out how to get people to come mid-week, and finally it happened. So, we got a lot of mid-week participation. And by the way, one thing I left out in my background, I do on a pro-bono basis, I am also the Director of Research for the Cross-Country Ski Areas Association, as if I needed another job. But we, so we built a really nice, balanced panel of cross-country skiers. And about 80% of them said that not only are they skiing more during the week, many of them are only skiing during the week. They're not skiing on the weekends because the weekends the cross-country trails are getting more crowded because of refugees from the downhill experience. So a lot of people are saying, "Well, you know, it's not that great of an experience to ski downhill on weekends because of crowds. Maybe I'll try cross-country skiing." So, we're looking at that as sort of an example of what can happen, you know, across the industry in terms of people thinking about what other activities can I do during the week that might be interesting? So, we're looking at flexible workplace and just sort of keeping an eye on how people are going back to work and what that paradigm is going to look like in the future, because it's sort of up in the air right now. Keep in mind that there are many people that they have to work in person. But for those of us lucky enough, and I am full of gratitude that I can do this, that can work from anywhere. Life has basically become kind of a blur where you can do all kinds of things during the week. And we're hoping that that trend continues. Outdoor stands behind, you know, freedom and flexible workplaces so that everybody can get outside during the week, and we spend less time in cars putting carbon into the atmosphere and just generally making ourselves miserable. So, when I talk about dispersing people across the environment, we can disperse people in time too. So if people are participating across every day instead of everybody hitting everything on Saturday and Sunday, which that's still going to be the dominant pattern, we're going to we're going to achieve some of our dispersion goals, as well as give people a better experience, in my opinion. Maybe some people like being in a crowd outdoors. I'm not one of those people.

Steve: Well, it's interesting that the way that you describe it. Full transparency here: so I'm an avid skier and I have kind of two ski lifes, if you want to call it. I have my maybe a little more aggressive skiing with there's a colleague that I work with or maybe my older sons are quite good at skiing, and so we've actually decided if we're going to do this, we have to do it during the weekday. We can actually carve out the time. You maybe put a fake block on your calendar, like I'm recording an episode of the podcast but without Catherine, so nobody's bugging me, right? And then we're going to go ski. But then I have my second life, which is with my wife and my kids. And, you know, we used to go Saturday mornings. Well, that's just a train wreck. So now it's just on Saturday afternoons. And it's so interesting that I've realized we've carved out those times to try to avoid the crowds to have the least amount of inconvenience possible. And clearly, I'm not the only one thinking about this.

Kelly: In cross-country, and I'm going to pull this stat off the top of my head. This is my survey, so I should know it, but about 53% of the market, because we have a sample that we can project, said that they're more likely to ski on weekdays than weekends. And so when I did a little bit of analysis on that, I found out that a lot of those were more core skiers. But there are plenty of casual skiers—cross-country skiers—that had a downhill pass, by the way, that said, "No, on weekends I'm cross-country skiing because it's nuts at lift-served. It's crazy up there. I'm not doing it." I have a little bit of data and a few anecdotal stories, but we do have some evidence that, you know, the flexible work environment is going to breed a new pattern in when people participate and how often they participate.

Catherine: It certainly favors the season pass users, I would think, where you can kind of decide last minute I'm going to go to the mountain or I'm not going to go to the mountain today and maybe only spend half a day there.

Kelly: I don't know, Catherine. I think the industry is just point blank incentivizing season pass. So you can buy an epic pass or an icon pass, and let's say, okay, you're going to spend 800 bucks on that and at that point you're committed. I mean, that's great. It's great for the business because then they don't have to rely on good snowfall for their revenue. But, you know, when we consider that at many resorts, many Vail resorts, many Ikon resorts, you know, the walkup price is is well north of 100 bucks. At many iconic resorts, its well north of 200 bucks. So I mean, you're absolutely incentivized to have the pass. And when I think about doing some regression on what's impacting snow sports behavior in particular, season pass would be a very important variable. 

Steve: So Kelly, tell me what I'm doing wrong here with the season pass. And I asked that question because I loathe the fact that I have already purchased my Ikon Pass a month ago, and I did a fair bit of analysis, right? I looked at the window price of Alta. I looked at how many days that I would get on my icon pass at Alta because I think we're going to do go-cards for my wife and for the kids because we just we just haven't seemed to use it enough to justify a pass. But meanwhile, me and my oldest son have got the Ikon Pass because we plan to do a bunch of skiing. And I'm actually irritated and upset the fact that I'm having to make this decision in March and April for a season that's not even going to start for like six months. I mean, that is crazy to me. What am I doing wrong? Or maybe more importantly, what is the industry getting wrong, or I guess trying to get right? Because I'm not happy about it, to be totally honest. It's not a great experience. I feel like for me, you know, as a season pass holder.

Kelly: Yeah, and I haven't done I haven't done much research on the experience of buying a pass. Catherine, do you have a pass? We can make ourselves a test group. 

Catherine: I do. 

Kelly: I have an Epic pass. I have to have an Epic pass because Vail owns the three resorts closest to me. You're not doing anything wrong, Steve. You're not doing anything wrong. This is a way for these resort companies—Vail's publicly traded—to basically transfer risk on to the consumer. So you should be a little bit pissed off because once you spend the money on the pass, all the risk falls on you. And yes, you can pass insurance in case there's a really bad season or, you know, pandemic hits and they have to close down the season. You can't ski. I mean, you get injured. That's a different kind of insurance. But they're transferring all the risk of a bad snow year right on to the consumer. So, from a business standpoint, it's really smart. And it's worked, frankly. And it also has had the benefit of selling passes to people who are now going to be committed participants, meaning you can go a season think, "Yeah, you know, I want to get up there a couple of times and just pay the 100 bucks. I'm going to buy $100 ticket and I'd have to go eight times to pay for a pass." But the snow just doesn't fall, or the conditions are crappy, or there's a traffic jam on I-70 or, you know, whatever might happen, and you decide, screw it, I'm going to go do something else. If you have a pass maybe you're going to do that, but you're definitely going to get up to try and make it, you know, try and get the value out of that $800 pass. So, you know, I think once people buy a pass, the benefit is they become a committed participant. They're probably going to buy skis or a snowboard. You know, they're probably going to make plans since, you know, now the passes are multi-resort, and Vail is now expanding into Europe. Now you think, well, I've got this pass so I can go to this resort that's maybe not as fancy, and then, you know, I'm going to show up at Breck or Beaver or Park City, and I'm going to I'm going to use this pass. So what you're getting from that is a dual benefit to the industry, which is basically more people skiing more often. And they're doing it in a way that's committed. 

Catherine: Yeah. You're talking extra flights, hotels, meals, maybe a lesson or two.

Kelly: So I don't know, Steve. I think the mistake you make is living in an iconic ski area. You're lucky. 

Steve: Right? I need to move to west Texas. Then this wouldn't be a problem.

Kelly: Exactly, you move over here. So, you know, gravity works the same everywhere I've ever been. So even if my hill is small, only 660 vertical, I can lap it like crazy. But then I'm, you know, every time I'm on the lifts, people are like, "So where are you goin out West? I can't wait to ski out West. I need powder days, I need this. I need that." And it's the cool thing too. I don't know how, I mean, Vail's Consumer Insights Department—and I know them—are very, very good. And somehow, you know, they're driving discourse on the web that leads to what iconic resort are you going to go to and brag about this year? You know, Solitude has always been my backup. Just if I need to brag to somebody like, "Yeah, man, I'm going to Solitude." Just so I can have something cool to say.

Catherine: But yeah, I think the mistake we made is not having this conversation on a ski lift.

Kelly: That's a great point.

Steve: You know what? 100% Catherine. 100%.

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Let's send it back to Steve, Catherine, and Kelly Davis of the Outdoor Industry Association. We're talking how season passes have helped ski resorts lock in revenue.

Kelly: In the season pass world, one of the things I'm worried about is it's very, very expensive for somebody to learn how to ski now. So, 18-year-old Kelly in Mammoth, and I'm just gonna say yadda yadda years ago paying $35 for a lift ticket. Okay, that's cool. It took me about three days to really get the hang of it, and that's kind of what it takes. And we did a lot of research at Snowsports to try and figure out what the optimal amount of time was from beginner to committed skier. And really, it took about three lessons and a couple of visits after that solo before we could really count on somebody to start thinking about buying equipment and buying all of the things that you need to be comfortable and ski well or snowboard well. And, you know, so you're buying a walkup ticket for 220 bucks, and basically a day is going to cost you about 700 bucks, so make it 2100 bucks. And that's not even including if you're staying somewhere, lodging, or any of the, you know, the other things that you might have to buy or pay for as you learn how to ski. But it's going to cost you probably 3000, 4000 bucks to really learn how to ski or snowboard. And that's a pretty big barrier to entry. And you can do it maybe if you're lucky enough to be a kid whose parents can pay for ski school and have the passes, and that's all good. But unless you're coming in to snow sports with that traditional support—the family skis or snowboards because that's one of the things we do together. If you just thinking maybe I'll learn how to do this. It's going to be much, much harder for that group of beginners to really get on the slopes and learn. So we're a little bit worried about the participant base on snow sports because it's getting less accessible every year. 

Catherine: It is encouraging to see some of the efforts they're doing around like free urban skate parks, ski hills, but definitely more of that is needed, I think.

Kelly: Definitely. Well, I mean, it runs the gamut too. And thinking not just the snow sports, but thinking about what attracts people to an area. And I've spent a lot of time talking to economic developers about this. Having a good built environment that encourages outdoor activity is really key to building your economic base. And one example that everybody's talking about this town right now, and yes, it's the headquarters of Walmart. But, you know, they have built an amazing infrastructure of mountain bike trails all around their town. And it's drawing a lot of attention. And it's not just the bike world that's paying attention either. So there are all kinds of ways to encourage participation in a way that isn't necessarily full of barriers. 

Steve: Well, maybe we can send them all to Bentonville instead of Salt Lake City, because it's getting really crowded out here.

Kelly: Well, think about it. It's an outdoor paradise, Steve. You know, I spent about a year in Park City, and from the standpoint of availability of outdoor, and I'm talking about four seasons. My goodness you're lucky, really. 

Steve: Oh, yeah. It's unparalleled. I mean, I used to work in Park City at a previous job. Boy, if you wanted to hike over lunch, easy peasy. If you wanted to grab, you know, a few turns on the mountain a few laps before you started your day. Great. I did it all the time. I mean, just the accessibility is just unheard of. 

Kelly: Fortunately, you know, I can't afford a garden shed in Park City.

Steve: Well, that's a good point. That's a good point. You can live down here with the common folks like me. 

Kelly: And I like living with the you know, with the plebes in Frederick, Maryland, where we also have an amazing amount of outdoor and green space. We have a basically a stretch of the DNR, Department of Natural Resource, lands that runs from about five miles from where I'm sitting now, about 30 miles north of Camp David. And it it's a very, very large stretch of woods, and that is my playground. I love it. And gravity works the same way there. And we've got some world-class downhill trails maybe for mountain bike.

Catherine: That sounds great.

Kelly: For ski, I've got to hang out at my little local resort livery where, you know, I did the snow reporter job for about three or four years up there, basically so they would give me a place to work. It was a good trade.

Steve: Wait, wait, wait. So, like, you were there, like, "OK, hey. Yeah, we got five inches overnight. You know, it's going to be powder packed. Powder through the day. Might get some flakes later in the afternoon."

Kelly: Oh, yeah! You know, it's going to be a sunny day, bluebird day. Don't forget your sunshine goggles. Don't leave those at home. It was such a fun job other than having to get up at the break of, you know, middle of the night and go do it. And plus, I got first tracks. I mean, first, first track, not, I mean, like real first tracks. It was awesome.

Catherine: Excellent.

Kelly: And a cubicle with a printer, and minimum wage!

Catherine: Well, speaking of fun, we should probably get to our closing question of the day. Are you ready for this, Kelly?

Kelly Davis: No.

Catherine: Our closing question of the day. So we've been wanting to talk to you for a while. And at the time, I think the Winter Olympics were on. So if you could win a gold medal in anything, what would give you your best shot at a gold medal?

Kelly: Right now? Archery.

Catherine: Archery?

Kelly: I'm too old for anything else, Catherine.

Catherine: No way!

Kelly: Way! Back when I was when I was young, I dreamed of downhill. To just go fast and, you know, I've got the risk-taking gene. My dad was a Navy fighter pilot. For real. So, yeah, you know, I've got a need for speed. I've told you about my e-longboard that goes 35 miles an hour that I still ride. And people look and they're like, "Grandma, what are you doing on that skateboard?" But yeah, right now, if I really, really, really felt that I need to compete in the Olympics, my best shot is probably archery.

Catherine: Excellent. You're always on target, so I can see why that would be your answer.

Steve: I'm blown away. An e-longboard 35 miles an hour? Archery? You're, like, the most interesting person we've ever talked to.

Kelly: Someday I'm going to take the bow out on the longboard. And I think people are getting to know, you know, that I am maybe a little bit crazy, the crazy old lady in my hometown. But it's hilarious to basically pass people in cars on that thing and have them look at me. And I could see in their face like, you are not who I expected to see on that. But yeah, you can take the you take the girl out of California, Steve, but you can't take the California out of the girl.

Steve: No kidding.

Kelly: Oh, I'm also a pilot, but I'll just I'll leave that for another day when we talk about AOPA.

Steve: Oh, man. Another day, another episode. That's what I'm thinking.

Kelly: I'm here for it.

Catherine: Absolutely.

Steve: So, Catherine, you asked the question, but I'll actually ask you the same question. What would your what would your gold medal be?

Catherine: It would be in Oxford comma placement. I know where they go. I know where they shouldn't go. I can win a gold medal in that. 

Kelly: I'm willing to die on the Oxford comma as well. So a gold medal, though? Yeah. Maybe I'd take bronze. 

Catherine: Steve, do you have an answer?

Steve: Well, I liked your answer because then that makes my answer seem so much less lame than it really is. I'm pretty good at doing the dishes. You know, the other day I was sitting there as I sit at the sink I was like, "Man, you know what? Like this is efficient. I am getting stuff in and out of this. The kitchen is looking good. I'm a well-oiled machine." And I actually thought to myself, what if there was a like an Iron Chef show? But instead of cooking, what about the competition of the cleaning? Right? Who's cleaning up the fastest? Could that be entertaining? I have no idea. But anyway, I'm feeling pretty hot to trot about my dish-doing ability.

Kelly: I like that idea. You know, it's not beat Bobby Flay anymore.

Steve: Right? Well, it makes me feel good to hear you say that since I'm certainly not going to be winning any archery competitions whilst on a 35-mile-an-hour e-longboard. 

Kelly: If I'm the only person that does it, I'm the best. 

Steve: You win by default.

Catherine:  I love it.

Kelly: Yeah. You know, there are a lot of boring mathematicians out there. I'm not one of them.

Steve: Amen to that.

Catherine: How did we do, Mike?

Mike: Oh, I thought it was great. I learned so much more than I expected, as not an avid skier. I was like, I don't really care. And then Kelly had so much to share, so it was awesome. So, yeah, thank you for you guys having a great show. Big thanks to Kelly Davis of Outdoor Industry Association for joining us today.

Catherine: And big thanks to you, dear listener, for surfing along with us. I'm Catherine Tsai. You just heard from Steve Soter and me. This has been Off the Books presented by Workiva. Please subscribe. Leave a podcast review. Tell your buddies if you liked the show and feel free to drop us a line at Surf's up, and we'll see you on the next wave.

Off the Books season 3


38 minutes


Steve Soter, Catherine Tsai, Kelly Davis

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