Outdoor: Did you hear?…

Snow Peak stove pump recall, Hi-Tec hires a frog, ORA holding 30th trade fair, surfs up at Patagonia, HighGear sports a new logo and much more...

>> A product recall was issued on July 1, 2004, by Snow Peak in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety — for approximately 1,900 pumps for the Snow Peak White Gas Stove GS-010. Snow Peak has discovered that under high temperatures, the plastic shrinks around the aluminum parts and it may crack the outer plastic housing. In addition, the air tube on a number of pumps has come unglued and dislodged. No injuries have been reported as a result of this defect. Consumers should be advised to immediately stop using this stove and return the pump to Snow Peak for a newly designed replacement pump at no cost. Consumers may call 800-293-1668 for more information.

>> Hi-Tec has decided to employ a frog — yes, you read that right — a spokesfrog to be more exact, to represent a footwear line for kids, dubbed the Phibian Collection. Stay with us here, because Phibian — the spokesfrog’s real name (and no, he doesn’t like to be called Phiby) — is an animated character developed exclusively for Hi-Tec. His goal is to teach kids Leave No Trace principles while encouraging them to get outside and play. Because the frog is so passionate about his mission, he’s gotten Hi-Tec to agree to donate a portion of the proceeds to Leave No Trace. Though it wasn’t active as we filed this, Hi-Tec is close to launching a kid-friendly web page that is interactive and features Phibian. Rrrrrrbit!

>> The Outdoor Reps Association will hold its annual Trade Fair from August 25th through August 27th, at the Exhibition Hall, Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis. This is the 30th year anniversary for the event, which runs three full days with over 400 product lines represented. The ORA show is an open booth format. We’re told there is a breakfast for retailers only that will be held on the second day of the show. The breakfast is attended and moderated by retailers and allows a forum for sharing ideas, success stories and concerns — without the worry of reps and manufacturers listening in. (We’d love to be a fly on the wall for that one.) ORA also supports the ORA Campership Fund, established in 1989 to help needy children experience the outdoors by providing scholarships to attend camp. Retailers, manufacturers and reps have raised more than $84,000 in support of this effort. The ORA show provides retailers and reps a convenient and economical way to conduct business in the Midwest. For more info, send an email to Gayle Snyder at

>> SunDog has added to its management team. Mike Mendenhall, formerly employed by Bing & Associates, will join as SunDog’s vice president of sales and marketing , and Bruce Tschimperle will oversee SunDog’s customer and cealer services separtment as its manager. SNEWS View: For those left scratching your heads wondering, what happened to SunDog, Neco Villella (the former president of Retailers of the Outdoor Industry — ROI) purchased SunDog in 2000. The company is back exhibiting at Summer Market, and it looks like Villella is planning to restore some retail luster to an outdoor accessory brand that once had plenty.

>> Marmot is the recipient of the 2004 American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Industry Award, marking the second year in a row the company has been honored by the AMGA. The Industry Award is presented annually to the outdoor company that has shown outstanding support through scholarships, product and sponsorships of professional American mountain guides in the past year. Marmot has partnered with the AMGA to provide product and educational support for the past eight years.

>> Patagonia is collaborating with surfing legend Gerry Lopez and well-known surfing brothers and filmmakers Chris, Keith and Dan Malloy to develop and hone the company’s Ocean product line with an emphasis on “functionality, durability, and minimal environmental impact.” Essentially, the newly assembled team will seek to reinvent the way the sport’s equipment is designed, built and used, expanding on the seven-year commitment to making more durable and less environmentally damaging surfboards. Patagonia is being coy about the details of the pending product line and promises to release information when it is available. That Patagonia is embracing the ocean culture more fully is no surprise. Company founder Yvon Chouinard chose to base Patagonia in Ventura, Calif., because of its proximity to two famous point breaks within six miles of company headquarters. In 1997, the company began designing, manufacturing and distributing surfboards shaped by Fletcher Chouinard, son of Yvon Chouinard. Fletcher Chouinard’s vision for the company’s surfboard operations drove Patagonia’s current effort to address the ocean athlete in a new way.

>> HighGear has unveiled a brand new logo in order to “convey a bolder statement and better represent” its current and future growth. HighGear’s new mark is the first update to the original that was created when the company opened its doors in 1999. The new logo consists of two interlocking mountains and a new logotype that is done in a bold font, exuding confidence and strength. Check out the new branding at, and look for a new trade show booth and additional materials that feature the company’s new identity at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market this August in Salt Lake City.

>> Buff Headwear, is the title sponsor of the Buff Skyrunner World Series, which kicked off May 23rd in Spain and will for the first time include the August 22nd Pike’s Peak Marathon and Ascent in Colorado as a part of the seven-event series. Buff hopes that Skyrunning will gain momentum in the U.S., just as adventure racing and ski mountaineering races have gained popularity in recent years. Now we know most of you are wondering must what Skyrunning is. Essentially, the term designates running races that take place at altitudes higher than 2,000 meters (6,562 feet), and some categories of Skyrunning take place at elevations greater than 4,000 meters (13,123 feet). In other words, it is appealing to those who enjoy running where the air is thin and the lungs burn with a bit more intensity. To learn more, head to

>> The outdoor industry lost a friend recently. Aspen resident Reese Martin died in a paragliding accident in central Washington. His body was discovered one day after he disappeared while competing in the Chelan Cross Country Classic, a long-distance flying competition. The competitors launch from a nearby butte and fly over the resort area, accumulating points for distance traveled and route difficulty. Martin, an accomplished paragliding pilot and mountaineer, was killed on impact when he crashed on the northeast side of Dyer Hill, located about five miles northwest of Bridgeport, according to a Douglas County Sheriff. Martin resided in Aspen and worked as a paragliding pilot for Aspen Paragliding and Expeditions, taking customers on tandem flights off Aspen Mountain. He was also active in The Access Fund.

>> Cloudveil has formed a partnership with Sojitz Corporation of America and is relocating distribution for Fall 2004 delivery to North Bay Distribution of Vacaville, Calif. Additionally, in the Rocky Mountain region, the company has teamed Scott Sutton — formerly with Alpine Sales Inc. — with Kirk Haskell to strengthen the company’s rep force. Sojitz Corporation is a multi-billion dollar global trade management firm that assists companies in the management of the front end of the supply chain and is credited with facilitating the growth of industry giants Nike and Columbia. The partnership with North Bay Distribution was initiated to accelerate inventory turnaround and extend the company’s same-day-shipment hours to 3:30 p.m.

>> Mountainsmith has hired Elsbeth Heller to fill the newly created position of director of sales operations. Heller will have overall responsibility for customer and warranty services as well as sales management responsibilities, including sales and inventory reports and the coordination between sales and marketing. Heller was most recently director of customer service for Watermark Paddlesports. She can be reached by email at

>> Lowe Alpine USA announces Brian Block as the new rep for the Midwest territory (N.D., S.D., Minn., Wis., Ill., Iowa, Mo., Neb., Kan., upper Mich.) and Bill Crouse as the new rep for the Rocky Mountain territory (Colo., N.M., Utah, Wyo.).

>> Life-Link Backcountry Travel has added Allyn Morton and Stephen Perry to the company’s sales force. Morton and team will be representing the Southeast Territory for Life-Link which includes Ala., Fla., Ga., Ky., Md., Miss., N.C., S.C., Tenn., and Va. His other lines include Big Agnes, Bison Designs, Etowah Outfitters, Garmont/Bridgedale, Granite Gear, Solstice and Waldies.