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>> Outdoor Industry Foundation, the non-profit arm of Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), has partnered with the National Park Foundation to promote an online program for consumers to purchase a National Park Pass. The $50 pass covers the 388 parks (most of which require an entrance fee) throughout the United States and will be available beginning March 1. Consumers will be able to log onto www.nationalparks.org/oia to purchase the pass. During the next six months, OIA will enlist consumer magazines, retailers and manufacturers to also offer the park pass for sale on their websites. The pass is valid at all national parks in the United States for one year after it is activated. An “Owner’s Manual” with park listings, maps and informative links is also included with purchase. The pass can be personalized with up to two names, and consumers will be encouraged to purchase a pass for themselves or as gifts.
>> Travel Country Outdoors and Northern Mountain Supply have been using their retail clout to sell gear to benefit Big City Mountaineers, a 501(c)(3) non-profit. BCM has created a sales program by which manufacturers can liquidate merchandise with proceeds going to fund BCM. Already, the two retailers have successfully sold product from Arc’Teryx, Kelty, Marmot and Optic Nerve, all of which generously agreed to make product available at rock-bottom pricing to ensure the maximum contribution to BCM. To learn more about how manufacturers or retailers help support BCM through this inventory liquidation program, please contact Mark Godley at email@example.com or stop by booth 6066 in Advocacy Alley at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.
>> A pioneer of backpacking, Asher “Dick” Kelty, died of natural causes Jan. 12 at his home. He was 84. Kelty was born in Duluth, Minn., on Sept. 13, 1919, to Clifford and Eliza Kelty. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Nena, as well as three children, five grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Following Kelty’s wishes, there will be no memorial service. Instead, he encourages everyone to “go take a hike.” Contributions may be made in Kelty’s memory to the Big City Mountaineers, Dick Kelty Scholarship Fund (www.bigcitymountaineers.org) or to the Los Angeles Times Summer Camp Campaign (www.latimes.com/extras/summercamp). A tireless inventor and passionate outdoorsman, Kelty was known primarily as the “father of the frame pack” for his numerous innovations in backpack design that improved weight-carrying and greatly enhanced the comfort. Kelty’s legacy includes the first aluminum frame backpack, the first waist-belt, the first padded shoulder straps, the first nylon pack-bag, the first zippered pockets, the first hold-open bar and the first use of clevis pins.
>> Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) will open another store on November 2004 in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., in the Victoria Gateway Center at the intersection of Foothill and Day Creek boulevards. The center is part of the Victoria Arbors Master Plan area that includes about 4,000 potential residents within walking distance, scenic trails and a civic center with performing arts space. Foothill Boulevard is the former Route 66. REI has 20,000 active members within a 30-mile radius of the new store. This is REI’s fifth store in the Los Angeles area. The first store in the area opened in 1977 in Manhattan Beach. The other area stores are in Santa Ana, Arcadia and Northridge. The 23,500-square-foot new construction store will be leased from Regency Centers. The store will employ 50 full- and part-time staff.
>> The Canoe & Kayak gang is launching a brand new publication in April called the Canoe & Kayak Destination Guide. Publisher Glen Bernard told us he’s had this concept on his desk for quite a few years now, but the launch finally came since he felt the market need was strong right now for a product like this. Bernard said he feels that a publication focused on destinations and outfitters will help to stimulate more paddling action among paddling enthusiasts and, he said he hopes, draw more newcomers to the sport. SNEWS View: One can only hope.
>> Pacific Trail Inc. has entered into a Japanese license agreement with Ingram Co., Ltd. As master licensee for the Pacific Trail brand in Japan, Ingram Co., Ltd. will manage and oversee the design, development and marketing of Pacific Trail outerwear and apparel for men and women called the Heritage collection. The men’s Heritage collection, scheduled to launch in the fall/winter 2004 season, is a 21-piece offering includes vintage-inspired outerwear, tops and bottoms. The women’s collection is slated for a fall/winter 2005 introduction.
>> A special feature on BusinessWeek Online in January focuses on what the publication calls “Europe’s Hidden Champions.” On the list is none other than La Sportiva. The article gives a brief history of the company that is quite interesting. To read the full article, click here.
>> To celebrate the Side Release Buckle’s 25th Anniversary, ITW Nexus is conducting an “Oldest Backpack with ITW Nexus Buckles” Contest. The contest is simple — find your old packs with ITW Nexus hardware and submit photo entries to ITW Nexus by May 31. The oldest packs will be selected and shown at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market; the owners of the top three packs selected as winners will be awarded prizes (no word on what the prizes will be yet). For further details on the Side Release Buckle contest, click on www.itwnexus.com.
>> As Snowsports Industries America (SIA) opened the doors for the SIA SnowSports Show on Jan. 26 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, it marked the 50th anniversary of the association and trade show. Launched in 1954, a consortium of 32 manufacturers formed the National Ski and Apparel Association with the mission of making North America the strongest snowsports marketplace in the world. From a mom-and-pop beginning, the industry has grown to a $2.2 billion industry today. “The SIA trade show is an example of how 2+2=5. When all facets of the industry, not just suppliers and retailers, get together, the industry tends to be successful and grow,” said Stu Keiller, president of Kaelin Sportswear who served on the SIA board of directors from 1982 to 1996. The industry was re-energized in the late ’80s with the advent of snowboarding — so much so, that the SIA board of directors changed the trade association’s name in 1997 from Ski Industries America to SnowSports Industries America. “Technological advances in snow sports products have changed the way we play on snow,” said SIA President David Ingemie. “From the early revolutionary design of Howard Head’s easy-turning metal skis in the 1950s, and Bob Lange’s plastic boots, to the technological advances and development of the snowboard, the introduction of shaped and twin-tipped skis, the advent of snowshoeing and a resurgence in cross-country skiing, the industry is poised for a healthy future as it moves into the new millennium.”
>> Princeton Tec has received a Best Buy award from Backpacker Magazine. The Princeton Tec Yukon series, consisting of the Yukon and Yukon HL headlamps, was awarded the 2004 Best Buy award in the March 2004 headlamp review issue of Backpacker.
>> Outside Magazine is launching a new series of events dubbed “Outside University,” a nationwide tour of colleges and universities designed to promote an active, outdoor lifestyle to a new generation of enthusiasts. In addition to video, music and prizes, elite climber and humorist Timmy O’Neill will be the featured performer on tour, along with a rotating group of outdoor athletes. Outdoor manufacturers and retailers are invited to showcase their products at each event and local outfitters and guides will be on hand to sign up students for various adventures of their choosing. The tour will include 10 East Coast and 10 West Coast universities with a grand finale at the University of Colorado in the historic Boulder Theater in Boulder, Colo., on May 19. Each event expects to draw 800 to 1,200 people, and will be hosted on campuses by local University Outing Clubs.
>> The North Face has promoted Todd Yates to vice president of marketing and business development. Jim Gerson, previously vice president of both marketing and RD&D, will continue as vice president of research, design and development.
>> Smith Optics has hired Scott Robinson as the new sales manager for international and Internet sales. In this newly created position, Robinson will be responsible for executing strategic business plans to achieve sales and margin goals in each division.
>> Timbuk2 Designs has established a new relationship with Canadian distributor Vézar and Associates, giving Vézar the exclusive rights to distribute Timbuk2 products in Canada.
>> Gardner Robinson, CamelBak’s vice president of sales – Recreational Division, has resigned, effective the end of February. Robinson has been with CamelBak for seven years. CamelBak has begun a search to fill the position.
>> WaterMark has added “chief operating officer” to the title of Thomas Fumarelli, presently the company’s chief financial officer. Fumarelli, who joined WaterMark in March 2003, will now be responsible for all of the company’s manufacturing operations, human resources and information technology, in addition to maintaining his role as corporate chief financial officer. The appointment is effective immediately.
>> GoLite has promoted Chris Lennert to vice president of sales. In his new post, Lennert will be responsible for GoLite’s key markets, including U.S. and international outdoor, running, and cycling channels as well as military and group sales. Lennert also serves on the board of directors of and as a trip leader for Big City Mountaineers, a wilderness-based educational program for at-risk teens.
>> Carol Momoda has left Lowa Boots to join Smartwool as the company’s West Coast sales manager.
>> Mountainsmith has hired the Pinnacle Outdoor Group, including Bob Bruce and Hal Ellms as reps, for the company’s New England territory. The team will oversee sales and marketing efforts in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
>> Arc’Teryx Equipment has hired both Nick Cienski and Gary Bryant. Cienski, formerly with Salomon, has been named the vice president, manager of product development and design, and Bryant, known for his work at Snow and Rock, has been chosen to fill the newly created European brand manager position.