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For the weeks of Sept. 20-Oct. 3
>> In the climbing world, Alex Lowe earned a reputation for being super-friendly and humble; a rare combination for someone widely regarded as one of the best climbers of the 1990s. Now six years after his tragic death (Oct. 5, 1999) in an avalanche on Shishpangma (an 8,000-meter peak in Tibet), a peak has been named after him in the Gallatin Range of Montana. The 10,031-foot mountain will be officially called Alex Lowe Peak following a decision by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names on Sept. 12. In 1997, Lowe and Hans Saari made the first ski descent (requiring a rappel) of the intimidating Hellmouth Couloir on the north side of the peak, which is located south of Bozeman. Lowe was well-known in the outdoor industry, having worked in specialty retail, as an Exum guide, and later as a sponsored North Face athlete. He made first ascents on alpine routes around the world, set incredible speed records, climbed Everest twice, and attended numerous climbing festivals. The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation (www.alexlowe.org) set up in his honor has already conducted two climbing courses for Sherpas in the Khumbu region of Nepal and continues to raise funds for worthy projects. A photo of the peak can be viewed by clicking here.
>> After experiencing “explosive growth during the last several years,” VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC) is reorganizing its international outdoor business, which includes the international operations of JanSport, The North Face, Eastpak, Nautica, Kipling, Vans, Reef and Napapijri. To accomplish future growth opportunities and maximize its brand focus, VF said its brands will now be grouped into three business areas: Outdoor International, Action Sports International and Sportswear International. Accordingly, the following appointments were announced: Outdoor International – Topher Gaylord was promoted to president of Outdoor International. Previously, Gaylord served as vice president/general manager of The North Face. In addition to his responsibilities for The North Face business internationally, he will also assume responsibility for the JanSport brand. Action Sports International – Martin Berendsen was named president of Action Sports International, with responsibility for driving brand strategies for all action sports brands internationally, including Vans, Reef and Eastpak. Berendsen comes to VF after serving in a variety of executive positions at Caterpillar Footwear, Dr. Martens Airwair, Reebok and Rockport. Sportswear International – On an interim basis, Karl Heinz Salzburger will continue to oversee VF’s international Sportswear unit, which includes the international operations of Napapijri and Kipling brands, and the European business of Nautica. Headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland, Gaylord and Berendsen will report to Salzburger, president of VF’s Outdoor Coalition – International.
>> Samsonite, in collaboration with Timberland, will be responsible for strategy, design, manufacturing and distribution of Timberland packs and travel gear worldwide in an exclusive licensing agreement. As its first undertaking, Samsonite will design and launch a new, integrated collection of Timberland packs and travel gear for the fall 2006 season. The collection will span across packs, duffels, travel gear, travel accessories and wheeled luggage.
>> Putting its money where its mouth is, Patagonia recently distributed $638,017 in grants to 132 small, grassroots environmental organizations. Patagonia’s Grant Council, which consists of seven individuals from within the company, meets twice a year to distribute the grants and usually receives more than 1,000 proposals annually. The company only funds environmental work and is most interested in supporting groups with provocative direct-action agendas. Patagonia said it believes that true change will occur only through a strong grassroots movement, its funding focuses on organizations that build a solid base of citizen support. Most grants range from $3,000 to $8,000. The council will meet again on Nov. 16 to distribute this year’s second round of grants. After 20 years of giving 1 percent of its sales to activist groups, this season’s grant distribution brings Patagonia’s donations past the $22 million mark.
>> The Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC) is seeking volunteers to serve on its board of directors or to help with specific volunteer tasks. Its hoping to find candidates for the board who have expertise as a branding and communications specialist, and a professional with extensive experience in managing membership programs and databases. Serving on the board includes a three-year commitment, active participation on a board committee and attendance at three board meetings per year. The OIWC is also looking for volunteers to serve in the following positions: graphic design including a membership brochure, event programs and trade show booth graphics; press release writing and media list management; newsletter editing; membership data entry; and membership rewards fulfillment. Each of these opportunities is ongoing and would require a one-year commitment. In addition, the OIWC has many one-time or short-term volunteer opportunities available. For more information, contact Anne Maleady, OIWC board nominations chairperson, at 703-379-9400 or email@example.com, or Sally Grimes, OIWC administrator, at 720-249-2524 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
>> Redfeather Snowshoes has entered into an exclusive relationship with Canadian distributor Recreation Outfitters Inc. (ROI). “We have experienced explosive growth in the Canadian market over the last several years,” said Allan Kettlehut, CEO of Redfeather. “Our exclusive relationship with ROI makes great sense for us. Its established leadership with top Canadian retailers will help ensure that our snowshoes are stocked consistently at the premier retail locations throughout Canada and make our snowshoes readily available to all those interested in experiencing the sport.” With over 300 accounts across Canada, ROI is affiliated with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, a major sponsor of the Canadian Avalanche Association and to many other guide companies, through which it intends to promote Redfeather Snowshoes. The company also works closely with other professional groups such as the Canadian Ski Patrol Association and the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance.
>> It’s never too early to mark your calendars for fun. The third annual “Mountain Gear Presents: Red Rock Rendezvous” rock climbing festival will return to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area near Las Vegas on March 24-26, 2006, to benefit The Access Fund, the American Alpine Climbing Club and the American Safe Climbing Association. Due to the growing popularity of the festival, this year’s event has expanded clinic areas to offer more traditional, sport and aid climbing sites and routes than the prior Red Rock festivals. Also for the first time, the festival will offer a Friday “Intro to Climbing at the Red Rocks” clinic day for less experienced climbers and introduce 50-100 people to the sport of rock climbing. There will also be an optional gear package that will include harness, helmet, shoes, belay device, carabineer, chalk bag and a membership to the Access Fund. Participants can get the gear package, the Friday “Intro” day, two additional half-day clinics and event festivities for $299. The festival will also offer clinics for advanced, intermediate and beginning climbers on Saturday and Sunday for $60, and $159 per person for the Friday “Intro” day and Saturday and Sunday clinic combo. For more information and to register, call 800-829-2009 or visit www.mgear.com/rrr.
>> With the departure of Carlo Lingiardi to Teva, Kevin Dixon has been promoted to vice president and general manager of Tecnica USA’s footwear division. As footwear division manager, Dixon will be responsible for all aspects of the footwear line and will report directly to Tecnica Group CEO John Stahler. Dixon joined Tecnica in 2001 where he has served as director of product management and marketing. In his new role, he’ll continue to oversee the product and marketing direction for the footwear division as well as all aspects of sales management. Prior to joining Tecnica, Dixon held product positions with Duofold and Fila.
>> EORA said it’s opening the doors for retailers to have more buying opportunity with more reps by combining its Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regional shows. This united effort will maintain the same open booth format with an enhanced dealer reception, boat demo and seminars, it added. The new EORA Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Fall Show will take place in Hartford, Conn., at the Connecticut Convention Center on Sept. 5-8, 2006.
>> The World Shoe Association has selected CGPR to manage all public relations initiatives for the WSA Show, held twice a year in Las Vegas. CGPR will be working to maximize WSA attendance by key footwear industry executives around the globe, to enhance the buyer experience and to increase media participation at upcoming WSA Show events.
>> Michelangelo may be rolling over in his grave, but it won’t stop Brunton’s SolarRoll 14 solar panel from being included in an upcoming display at the New York City Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The “Safe: Designs Takes on Risk” exhibit features more that 300 contemporary products which were designed to protect the body and the mind from dangerous or stressful conditions, to respond to emergency situations, to ensure clarity and information, and to provide a sense of comfort and safety. Running from Oct. 16-Jan. 2, all objects on display share safety as a common theme.
>> Montrail is offering a new order system that it says will make retailers jobs easier, more accurate and less costly to maintain. The new Excel order form is an industry-wide standard that can be used with any participating vendor, and an extension of its work with the Outdoor Industry B2B initiative and is consistent with the OIA industry standards it has established for XML documents. Montrail said there are no related costs and minimal set-up effort. Plus, retailers will never need to request or load another electronic order form again, because its new system will automatically update itself each season. All this is coordinated through a central web service called OI Connect (www.oiconnect.com). Presently, Cloudveil and Petzl are also compliant with the XML system. For more information, contact Montrail’s Alexa Broweleit at email@example.com or206-357-6229.
>> New Balance has signed on to be the official footwear and apparel sponsor of the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women in Boston on Oct. 10. As a sponsor, it’ll host an interactive tent on race-day, sell select footwear and apparel products on-site at the event and offer an exclusive gift-with-purchase program during the race number pick-up days at City Sports. New Balance will also outfit the Tufts HP 10K staff, have pre-race and race-day signage, and select award winners will receive New Balance products as prizes.
>> Sport Obermeyer has hired Nathan Dopp as its new director of sales. Formerly with Spyder Active Sports, Dopp brings eight years of experience in the snow sports industry to Sport Obermeyer.
>> Zoic Clothing has added Pat Flanagan as its sales director. Flanagan has more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience, including eight years spent building sport specialty distribution for Clif Bar.
>> World champion pro kayaker Jay Kincaid is the latest addition to Team Jackson Kayak. Kincaid, 28, is a veteran member of the U.S. Freestyle Kayak Team, as well as 2003 World Freestyle Champion and three-time national point series champion. He holds more than 30 major freestyle titles and has recorded a number of first descents on steep creeks in the western United States.
>> Michael King has joined DeFeet as its new Upper Midwest sales rep. Based in Madison, Wis., King will cover the entire upper Midwestern region including the states of Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.
>> Marmot has named Gregory Houser as vice president of design and product development, effective Oct. 1. Houser was previously the vice president and DMM of strategic planning and product development of L.L. Bean’s outerwear, technical apparel and men’s sportswear divisions, and worked with all aspects of Bean’s product development, design, sourcing and marketing. He also has prior product development management experience with Eastern Mountain Sports and Nike.
>> SkiPressTV.com officially went live in late September, anointing itself the “first online broadcasting network just for skiers.” It offers a library of free ski movies, free ski documentaries, free ski tips, free ski news broadcasts, resort profiles, live event coverage and pay-per-view ski movie premieres. Check it out at www.skipresstv.com.
>> Isis has appointed Polly Tucker as its independent sales rep for the Rocky Mountain regional territory, replacing Erin Seabury. Tucker will be responsible for Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. Along with her associate, Amy Koenigsknecht, she also represents Auclair Sports, Bison Designs, Heat Factory, Mountain Chalet and Swix. Tucker can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or or 970-704-1640.
>> To meet recent growth demands, Wacoal Sports Science’s CW-X Conditioning Wear has added four full-time employees and four independent sales representatives. Shane Armando and Derek McDaniel have been added as brand development representatives, new hires Shara Leonard and Rebecca Wisniewski are sales and marketing assistants, and new independent sales reps are Eric Knollmeyer and Travis McDowell (southeast), Dan Miller (southwest and Hawaii), and Tom Pursell (Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas).
>> Pigeon Mountain Industries (PMI), a distributor of Seattle Manufacturing products, recently hosted its annual Dealer Camp for more than 30 people at Bison Peak Lodge in Colorado. PMI President Steve Hudson said dealer camps are an extraordinary way to promote exceptional two-way communication between PMI and dealers. Over the two-and-a-half days, attendees participated in intensive hands-on product training with mountain and urban rescue products.
>> ProTech has entered into a distribution partnership with Paceline Products — its first distributor in the cycling market. This distribution partnership helps ProTech take full advantage of its sponsored athletes, adding Monique Sawicki as its latest athlete. Sawicki is the 2005 NORBA Nationals Marathon champion, her second championship in a row, after only two years racing on the NORBA pro circuit.
>> Jeremy Mauck has joined Werner Paddles as the new marketing assistant. He’ll be the go-to guy for media needs and handle sponsored athletes and expeditions. His email is email@example.com.
>> Mountain Mecca is handling Icebreaker sales in the Northwest and has added Karri Gerling into the Mountain Mecca fold in order to bolster sales and service. Gerling is based in Seattle, Wash., and can be reached at 206-419-4597 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
>> Outdoor Sports Marketing has signed on as Mion footwear’s rep agency for the South. Outdoor Sports Marketing is composed of Nolan Davis, Rion Smith, Scott Eddins, Martin Wilkinson and Tavia Davis. They’ll cover Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.