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Outdoor: Did you hear?…

Dunham sponsors Banff Mountain Festivals, Hooked reports significant financial growth, EMS closes last Chicago store, Couloir staying busy, AHS sends out all-women trail crew, Team Montrail wins Raid, Buck wins Blade magazine award, McMahans announce retirement...

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>> Dunham will be a co-presenting sponsor of this year’s Banff Mountain Festivals. This year’s events will be held at The Banff Centre in the town of Banff, Alberta, from November 4-9, 2003. Dunham will also be the co-presenting sponsor of the 28th annual Banff Mountain Film Festival and North American Tour, Banff Mountain Speakers’ Bureau, and Banff Mountain Photography Competition, as well as a major sponsor of the 10th annual Banff Mountain Book Festival.

>> Hooked on the Outdoors (, is crowing about a reported 30-percent gain in first quarter revenues throughout its brand properties. The growth is based on a gross revenue increase from 1Q 2002 to 1Q 2003, and follows a year of significant modifications to the magazine including the creation of a new identity mark and cover design. In related news, Hooked began airing a yearlong series of “Hooked on the Outdoors Gear Minutes” on the RSN Television Network this month. According to the magazine, the segments are “designed to inform, entertain and encourage people to explore the outdoor world that begins at the edge of their backyard, with each segment profiling a selection of unique outdoor equipment or clothing.”

>> Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) is closing another store, this time in Chicago. EMS opened the company’s first store in the Chicago area in 1997, quickly expanding to three stores. Last year, it shuttered two locations and now, it’s out of the Chicago region completely. SNEWS View: It’s hard to tell what is really up at EMS. Insiders tell us one thing, companies that sell to EMS tell us something else, reps something completely different, and ex-EMS staff yet another thing. The bottom line is that EMS continues to close stores and exit markets (Colorado Springs and Chicago, for example), and, the company continues to open other locations, though mostly in regions it already has a presence in. The company is incredibly secretive, which is why there is so much speculation that exists. Though rumors continue to swirl that the company is financially challenged, no hard evidence exists to substantiate such a belief and the fact that it continues to open stores suggests the opposite.

>> Publisher Craig Dostie contacted SNEWS to say that Couloir Publications is hardly sitting still this summer. “We just mailed our first summer newsletter in over 10 years. Daniel Morgan has been hired as our new Circulation Manager. Ken Kelley will come on board as Sales and Marketing Manager in mid-July for outgoing Susie Sutphin, and the entire office will be moving to old town Truckee in July. Plus we’re revamping our schedule for next year with a thicker Couloir in October, November, December in combination with two issues of Telemark Skier.”

>> This just in from Grivel North America: “After realizing all the industry print mags failed to notice that we released 4 new ice tools and 1 new pair of crampons in the same season, followed by an innovative pack, and another new ice axe we decided to hire a PR firm. Alycia Cavadi at Momentum has been very successful at keeping me from being mean to editors. We anticipate big things from Momentum in the future.” For more information contact Cavadi at 617-624-9799 or SNEWS View: Ouch! We humbly submit to the Grivel team that GearTrends® didn’t miss the boat like the others — reference our article, “Icy Inspiration,” in the winter magazine. Still, having a PR firm isn’t going to hurt one bit with those pubs not so well connected to the marketplace or new product trends.

>> We oopsed! Catalyst sent SNEWS a quick correction pointing out our oversight in forgetting to mention its award in the 18th Annual Catalog Awards. Catalyst was also on the list. It won the gold for the best syndicated catalog for the 2002 Cycling Guide. Kitty Bradley of Catalyst told SNEWS that, “Next year the Cycling Guide will have a run for the money against the Spring and Fall 2003 Outdoor Guides!” This last year, Catalyst published 365,000 Outdoor Guides with 20 manufacturers participating, and 10 retailers in 32 markets taking advantage of the program. SNEWS View: A number of retailers we have spoken with that worked with Catalyst on a personalized catalog mailing were very happy with Catalyst’s program, although each also told us they wished the Outdoor Guides had much more content.

>> On June 22, the American Hiking Society sent an all-woman crew to begin a week-long trail work project on the North Country National Scenic Trail north of Pittsburgh, Penn. In 1999, AHS offered its first-ever trip geared specifically for women; it filled up almost as soon as the schedule was released. According to AHS, “Regardless of their size or strength, most women who spend a week or two on a volunteer crew feel stronger and more confident. There’s a sense of personal power that comes from realizing you can do more than you ever imagined you were capable of. Trail crews also help women struggling with issues about their body size to view their bodies in a healthier way. Far away from mirrors, showers and traditional beauty rituals, trail crews give women a chance to focus on what their bodies can do as opposed to how their bodies look.”

>> Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa summited Mount Everest on May 26, in 10 hours, 56 minutes from Base Camp (an 18-hour, 20-minute round-trip) — a world record apparently. While that is interesting in itself, the fact he was wearing Kahtoolas makes it more fascinating since the product is definitely not designed for serious mountain use, and we quote from the company’s press release: “KTS (Kahtoola Traction System) has been embraced by a wide range of winter enthusiasts looking for a way to safely explore and work in the outdoors in hiking or running shoes instead of heavy boots.” According to the company, he wore the Kahtoolas on lightweight boots (La Sportiva Trango) to the top of the South Col and changed to large insulated boots (One Sport Everest) at that point — still wearing the Kahtoolas. Needless to say, the company does not recommend its product for this purpose, but is obviously very thrilled with the exposure. For details of the ascent, click here.

>> Team Montrail scored big, winning the Raid Gauloises and marking only the second time an American team has won the event. Held in the Kyrgyz Republic, the Raid featured 39 co-ed teams who trekked, mountain biked, canoed, rode horses and rock climbed over 800 kilometers. Team Montrail’s winning time was just over seven full days. It was Team Montrail’s first win in a major adventure racing event, but the thrill is tempered by the drowning death of a former Raid champion from another team, Dominique Roberts (46). According to reports from the Raid, she and a teammate were river canoeing when their boat overturned in rapids and was pinned beneath a downed tree. The Raid organizers stated they had many safety measures in place at the spot of the tragedy, but even with a speedy response were unable to revive her. Roberts was a mother of two competing in her ninth Raid Gauloises.

>> Blade magazine has awarded the Buck Revolution-XT with the Most Innovative American Knife Award for 2003. The Blade magazine awards are bestowed each year at the Blade Show, the largest knife show in the United States, and attended by core knife manufacturers and the top custom knife makers. The Blade magazine awards are considered noteworthy because winners are chosen by their peers, not a panel of editors. Buck’s knife was singled out for recognition because of the unique revolving handle, hybrid folding/fixed blade, locking mechanism (patent pending), and integrated carabiner clip.

>> Hobie Cat Company has just gone live with its new Hobie on-line forums at Hobie consumers are invited to register, post topics in individual forums, vote in polls, post images and basically get involved with Hobie in a fun and interactive way. New features will be added over the coming months as the forums get established. Hobie retailers are invited to offer help and information and post announcements for events and demos.

>> has expanded the distribution of its first retail product (Trail Finder) beyond REI and into outdoor retail stores. The Trail Finder retails for $29.95 and contains the following features: One-year subscription to, access to 30,000 guidebook trails across 25 outdoor and travel activities, unlimited topographic maps, and guidebook chapter downloads (eTrails). Trail Finder is currently being carried by REI, EMS, Galyan’s, Patagonia stores, Adventure 16 and Kittery Trading Post.

>> Cloudveil has hired new Product Manager Donna Veraguth, new Customer Service/Direct Sales Manager Jeff Wogoman and retained Riddell, Sollitt and Partners (RSP) for work on a new advertising and strategic brand-building campaign. Veraguth comes from The North Face where she worked as a product developer, and has diverse background in the industry including retail at Alta Sports in Alta, Utah, as well as managing operations at Camp Muir on Mount Rainier for Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. Wogoman has been a successful direct marketing consultant, drawing from his past work as the Internet development director for Sundance catalog, marketing manager for the Esprit catalog and circulation manager for the Patagonia catalog.

>> Russi Mountain Works has added pack designer Scott Neilson to its team of designers. Prior to joining Russi, Neilson was a senior pack designer for Lowe Alpine, where his Ice Fang pack won the Editors’ Choice award from Rock & Ice magazine.

>> Dan Gulden has joined Outdoor Research as director of design and manufacturing. Gulden’s task will be to streamline OR’s product development and production processes and coordinate several departments to ensure scheduling and design timelines. In addition, Tim Davis becomes director of government and OEM sales, reflecting the increasing importance of this component of business, and Barbara Sherrill is now the OR product manager.

>> Darin Jesberg is leaving Hi-Tec to fight fires. In an open email to friends, Jesberg stated, “I have accepted a full-time position as a fire captain for the Salida Fire District effective July 1, 2003. As of June 30, 2003, I will no longer be employed by Hi-Tec Sports USA, Inc. as the Director of Marketing. I will, however, be available via email and voice mail for a few weeks after July 1st while assisting Hi-Tec with the transition.” You can email him at

>> After 32 years as an outdoor industry rep team in the Midwest, Tom and Kate McMahan have announced their retirement. They spent the last seven years representing Mountain Hardwear. Tom recently spent two days at the company’s spring ’04 sales meeting before he flew out on May 31 to join Kate and their family for a three-week vacation in Tuscany. In a farewell celebration, Mountain Hardwear President Jack Gilbert, who had originally worked with the McMahans in the early days of The North Face starting in 1971, spoke about how they built very successful carriers in the outdoor industry by building relationships and living the outdoor lifestyle themselves. Tom took a big part in helping Mountain Hardwear find replacement rep team Troy Kattreh and Pam Schwarzbach.

>> Brad Bates has been hired as Mountain Hardwear’s new national sales manager starting July 1. Bates also has a background in ski and outdoor retail sales and spent two years as sales manager for Fisher Mountain Bikes starting in 1992. Mike Wallenfels was promoted to vice president of sales and marketing in 1999, but has maintained the role of national sales manager up until now. With Bates’ arrival, Wallenfels relinquishes the double duties to focus more on brand strategies, marketing programs and product development.

>> Ken Barmore, director of the Outdoor University, has been laid off from BP Associates. Bill Kaplan of BP told SNEWS that the lay off was simply a result of BP needing to downsize to remain competitive in the current market. “We’re snow farmers and the last several years have not been good. You’re not going to eliminate reps, so eliminating the office manager position in our Madison office was the next step. Ken is so very talented and organized that he’ll do very well wherever he lands.” As for the future of OU, Barmore told us all is a go for next year with July 15 as the deadline for manufacturers to contact him to commit to space and receive a discount. Dates are already reserved — May 18 to 19, 2004 — as are campsites. Outside of OU, Barmore is currently exploring options for staying in the industry. Barmore may be reached via email at or by phone at 608-239-0038.