The Art of Winter will light up Denver during the annual SIA trade show next week

The 4th annual Art of Winter, which kicks off Friday, January 24, and runs through Saturday, February 8, will coincide with the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show. Although there is no official correlation between the urban showcase of Colorado Artists and Innovators and the snow sports industry's biggest trade show, "the inspiration" was SnowSports Industries America SIA snow show "with twenty thousand industry people in town," says Chuck Sullivan, co-founder of Something Independent.

See also: The Art of Winter: photos from the 2013 show

SIA's Snow Show, which takes place every year at the Colorado Convention Center, is only accessible to the industry insiders who buy, sell and market snow sports goods and services. But Sullivan wanted to change that. "The excitement was all 'this is all going on here in Denver and you can't go," Sullivan recollects.

So, he launched his related, non-industry snow event in Larimer Square by reaching out to Colorado brands -- both those at SIA and those that lacked the resources to exhibit at the convention -- and the series of exhibition and events has continued has to grow.

"Some Colorado companies are making big waves at SIA. Some smaller companies are at SIA and Art of Winter," he explains. "Some are just at Art of Winter. I think SIA is working hard to try and make it more accessible (to smaller brands)."

Art of Winter highlights include:

A free opening night party from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, January 24, at Tryst Lounge. Kick off the Art of Winter with a free Svedka cocktail happy hour. Jennifer Mosquera, curator of Larimer Square's Upcycled Ski & Snowboard Outdoor Gallery, will provide a short walking tour featuring themed art from sixteen local artists presented on re-purposed skis and snowboards.

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An ongoing Colorado Ski & Snowboard Makers Showcase at Row 14 Bistro & Wine Bar, featuring the latest products and designs from Colorado's boutique ski and snowboard companies, including: Icelantic Skis, Grace Skis, Never Summer Snowboards, Venture Snowboards, Ski Logik, Meier Skis, Unity Snowboards, Folsom Skis and more.

A free panel conversation from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, January 28, at the University of Colorado Denver, Terrace Room at Lawrence Street Center, featuring inspiring women adventurers, athletes and entrepreneurs, including Crested Butte's Wendy Fisher, a free skier and former U.S. Olympian, and Kim Walker, a board member for the Outdoor Industry Association and co-founder of the Outdoor Divas store.

The lamps of Larimer Square that Denver artists have transformed into art installations using skis and snowboards from the Snow Sports Recycling Program.

For more information about Art of Winter, go to ArtofWinter.co.

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