Outdoor: Did you hear?…

Outdoor Academy ramps up for 10th season and adds Washington, dueling cams win Climbing mag editor awards, Leki user shares workout joy, Blue Ridge names rep of the year, and much more...

For the week of Feb. 8-14

>> School is almost in session as Outdoor Academy ramps up for its annual educational training events in spring. After 10 years in just Southern and Northern California, OA is adding an event in southwest Washington where more than 70 manufacturers will present their products to hundreds of retail employees. Ranging from 15 to 50 minutes, training clinics are presented in an informal outdoor classroom setting with short hikes and hands-on demos as part of the curriculum. And, for the first time, boat manufacturers will be providing on water demos at all Outdoor Academy venues. OA’s calendar is: Southern California — Orange, Calif., April 19-20; Northern California — Livermore, Calif., April 26-27; and southwestern Washington — Battleground, Wash., May 3-4. For detailed information, visit or call 707-252-9630. Rep/vendor registration is currently underway and retailer registration will begin early March. Primary sponsors for 2005 include Therm-A-Rest, MSR, Yakima and The North Face.

>> Dueling cams have both been recognized by Climbing magazine as Editor’s Choice award winners. Trango’s MaxCam and Black Diamond Equipment’s new Camalots received Climbing’s annual awards, which are given for product design, quality, innovation and function. Black Diamond was recognized for its outstanding production quality and ease of use, while Trango’s award is based upon its unique design that maximizes the expansion range and minimizes weight. Award winners will be featured in the April issue.

>> Leki shared the love with SNEWS®, letting us peek at a letter from Donna Mirabile who is being tracked by the Salt Lake City Tribune on her weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes. “So yesterday I was walking the track with the (Leki) NW poles…and wow! I started to sweat three minutes into my workout. My heart rate got up to 130 very quickly and it STAYED THERE during the whole workout. When I work out on the ellpitical trainer, it takes me about five minutes to get my heart rate up to 130, and it varies from 130 to 120 or lower unless I’m very diligent about making sure I’m moving my legs fast enough. I work up a good sweat with both devices, and I’ll keep using the ellpitical trainer because the ‘push through’ action has some specific good points for my knees. However, the Leki NW poles really make a difference in the quality of cardio workout I get when I’m ‘just walking.’ Leki NW poles rock!!”

>> Blue Ridge Mountain Sports named Walt Bailey from Patagonia as the “Rep of the Year” for Blue Ridge during Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. Store managers, with feedback from buyers and department heads, nominated one rep they believed gave Blue Ridge exemplary service through the year. Once the names were compiled, they were put on a ballot to decide who would be named Rep of the Year. Blue Ridge’s Jeff Smith told SNEWS® in an email, “Walt was a very popular choice with outstanding reviews from all levels in our company. From my own experience, Walt is a terrific advocate for both brands, Blue Ridge and Patagonia.”

>> Paddling the new Wave Sport EZG 42, Team Wave Sport paddler Jutta Kaiser took the gold medal and dominated the final round of the 2005 World Freestyle Championships in Penrith, Australia, last week, with the highest scoring ride for women in the competition. “Jutta has long been one of Europe’s top paddlers, and we’re very proud of her win and continuing our women’s winning tradition at Worlds,” said Kelley Woolsey, Confluence Watersports’ senior vice president of marketing and sales. “I don’t know if I would consider our women’s results at Worlds as a dynasty, but we’re very proud of their accomplishment of having won the past four World Championships in our boats.” Kaiser, who is from Germany, scored 133 points in the opening round of the women’s finals and won each of the subsequent rounds to take the gold. Fellow Team Wave Sport paddler Tanya Shuman lead the qualifying heats and qualified for the finals, where she finished fifth.

>> GSI Commerce has named Stephen J. Gold to the position of executive vice president and chief information officer, overseeing the company’s technology and information services organization. Gold has more than 25 years experience in the design, implementation, operation and support of large-scale technology projects and associated businesses. Prior to joining GSI Commerce, Gold served as the corporate vice president of U.S. Human Health Information Services for Merck & Company Inc.

>> Deja Shoe is back, re-launched by Shoes with Souls Inc. at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. Deja Shoe features footwear made from recycled and eco-friendly non-leather materials in its casual, sport and kids lines. Its sport line also touts natural rubber soling units, recycled cardboard mid-soles, eco-friendly water-based adhesives, and microfiber uppers. The natural rubber soles are made from tree-tap rubber purchased from small agricultural communities in Columbia seeking to reduce their reliance upon money from illegal cocaine production. All packaging is 100 percent recycled. For more information call 1-858-653-3741 or visit

>> GoLite has appointed Rep First as its new sales group for the outdoor, cycle and running markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions. Rep First includes founder David Ripley and Greg Fischer and John Hester. Rep First also manages Adventure Medical Kits, BlueWater Ropes, KAVU, Mountainsmith, and Nike ACG footwear. To contact the Rep First crew, call 434-973-7635.

>> A few good men will be taking part in the “Everest Climbing for a Cure Expedition 2005” to raise awareness for breast cancer in April. American climbers Chuck Huss, Dan Smith, Rob Chang, and John Gray — each with family members affected by cancer — will lead the charge to help stop one of the deadliest diseases by climbing the world’s tallest mountain. Joining the group is Apa Sherpa — a trekker, porter, guide, and climber — who holds the world record of 14 Everest summits. The group’s goals are to maximize exposure to the cancer issue in the United States, promote steps to prevent cancer and encourage self-exam, and promote a healthy lifestyle. After the expedition, the group said it intends to go on a nationwide speaking tour and hopefully spread these messages to 100,000 or more.