>> Chasing rumors once again. No, Any Mountain — a chain of specialty outdoor/snow sport stores in Northern California — is not going out of business, and no, Marmot has not invested in Any Mountain. Here is what we do know. A little over a month ago, Bud Hoffman, owner of Any Mountain, was in a bit of a tight spot and his bank, GE, was not being too cooperative, essentially bleeding the company dry and calling in its note in the process. Hoffman nearly didn’t make payroll and that is when Steve Crisafulli stepped in, not as the CEO of Marmot, but as a private investor. Crisafulli told SNEWS that he simply took GE out of the equation and now his middle name is “GE.” Word is that this has given Hoffman the breathing room he needed to bring goods into the stores, make payroll and start making money once again. Crisafulli’s role is simply that of providing Hoffman a short-term, secured loan that he “feels very, very good about.”
>> Say goodbye to a kayaking pioneer in the Northwest. Pacific Water Sports, a store with a 32-year history and co-owned by Lee and Judy Moyer, has shut its doors, citing revenue drops and a market that is more about selling lots of units than loving the sport of paddling. To link to the excellent Seattle Times story on the closing, click here.
>> Want a chance to ski your brains out in Cloudveil’s hometown of Jackson Hole? The Cloudveil Live Close To Your Dreams Sweepstakes will allow one lucky winner — consumers, retailers, media and other industry freeloaders — to enjoy an all-expenses paid, three-day ski trip to Jackson sometime in February. The winner will receive a trip for two to fly for free and stay three nights at the super posh Snake River Lodge (www.snakeriverlodge.com). Bring your best powder boards because you’ll be skiing great lines at the world famous Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (www.jacksonhole.com) the first day. Day Two is non-stop, untracked heli skiing adventure with the crew from High Mountain Heli Skiing (www.heliskijackson.com). Day Three will guarantee to leave you rubber legged (if you’re not already) with a classic tour for powder shots on Teton Pass with Cloudveil’s founders, Steve Sullivan and Brian Cousins. Don’t even worry about packing ski clothing, as the winner will also receive $1,000 of Cloudveil gear upon arrival. Go to www.cloudveil.com to register.
>> To recognize the support of the Conservation Alliance’s grant-making efforts in protecting wildlands across North America, the non-profit will be running ads this winter that list all member companies and speak to their recent success in helping the Utah Open Lands group buy land that will keep the Castleton Towers area from being turned into a subdivision, thereby assuring continued access for hikers and climbers. Watch for these ads in upcoming outdoor trade and consumer publications this winter — including the GearTrends® Winter Outdoor magazine.
>> SnowSports Industries America (SIA), TransWorld Snowboarding and Mountain Sports Media have partnered to produce The Snow Industry Summit, a high-level business conference that will address global issues affecting all aspects of the snow-sports industry. The Summit is scheduled for April 1-4, 2004, at the Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado. According to SIA, the summit is being designed (the agenda is not yet finalized) to offer “state-of-the-art information on marketing and sales topics, marketplace trends, practical applications for effectively managing a business, and provide a networking environment for industry leaders involved in alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, telemark skiing, backcountry skiing/snowboarding and snowshoeing.” The Summit will immediately follow the WWSRA Denver Show and is open to retailers, suppliers, resort management and sales representatives. Complete details will be available mid-December. For more information on the Snow Industry Summit, contact Mary Jo Tarallo at email@example.com.
>> Columbia signed a licensing agreement with PEM America of New York for PEM to design, manufacture and market a collection of Columbia-branded home furnishings. The initial product launch will include pillows, comforters, mattress pads, blankets and bath accessories. It is expected that merchandise will flow into select retail locations as early as summer 2004 with expanded distribution planned for specialty sporting goods, department and specialty home furnishing stores later in the year. SNEWS View: Remember Eddie Bauer? Home furnishings worked for them for a bit and then flopped. Woolrich is trying a similar model to expand that company’s brand and distribution with furniture and branded home furnishings. By all accounts, its introduction looks to be a quality presentation, but only time and sales will define the legacy as successful. And now Columbia turns to home furnishings too, perhaps seeing it as another necessary paving brick on the road to $1 billion in sales. And while we pray we don’t start seeing Columbia-branded toilet paper, we would never be so foolish as to bet against a Tim Boyle decision. Columbia soap on a rope? Yeah, we’d wash with that, wouldn’t you?
>> On Nov. 9, 2003, two American women of the 2003 mAmas Dablam Women’s Expedition reached the Himalayan summit of Ama Dablam (22,494 feet) in Nepal. Angela Hawse and Ellie Pryor, already turned back several days before by extreme winds, climbed the dramatic Southwest ridge from their Camp 2 (19,500 feet) in a 10-hour roundtrip push. The team of nine American women, unsupported by Sherpas, was climbing to benefit the dZi Foundation and raise funds to support local women’s shelters. All but two of the nine-member team were alumni of or guides with Chicks With Picks, a series of ice climbing seminars that teach both climbing skills and self-reliance in an all-women, non-competitive atmosphere. The dZi Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Ridgeway, Colo., directed by Jim Nowak and Kim Reynolds, that promotes the education, health and welfare of indigenous mountain communities in Asia. Funds raised by mAmas Dablam helped the dZi Foundation establish and support a residential facility that provides safe haven, shelter, education and medical assistance for young women in Sikkim, India. Sponsors for the team included Marmot, GoLite, Wild Roses, Sterling Ropes, Moving Comfort, Cloudveil, Climb High, Lowe Alpine Systems, Fox River, Isis, Sallie Shatz, Julbo and La Sportiva.
>> Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) has announced plans to close its Federal Way store, located south of Seattle, Wash. The company cited increasing customer numbers at the Tacoma and Tukwila store locations, which opened just over a year ago, combined with declining sales at the Federal Way location as the reason for the closing. REI believes it can more than adequately serve its Pierce and South King County members with its Tacoma and Tukwila locations as well as its successful Internet site — www.rei.com. The Federal Way store, which opened in 1988, employs 30 staff members. REI hopes to retain most employees by providing them positions in nearby stores.
>> Bauer Industries, a leading manufacturer and retailer of high-end vehicle outfitting gear, has retained Backbone Media to manage its public relations efforts. Headquartered in Sacramento, Bauer’s manufacturing division, known as BVG (Bauer Vehicle Gear), designs and manufactures its own line of vehicle racks. In addition to its manufacturing division, Bauer also operates 15 retail stores, under the name of Sports Rack, in California, Colorado, Utah and Washington, as well as a nationwide mail-order division — www.sportsrack.com. The official supplier to Land Rover, BMW and Hyundai, Bauer’s BVG line of vehicle gear includes bike, boat, ski and luggage racks. In addition to being sold in Bauer’s Sports Rack stores, BVG is distributed through automotive, sporting good and outdoor specialty retail stores.
>> Horny Toad is accepting applications for the 2004 Team Toad including: athletes, unique sports enthusiasts, comedians, musicians, artists, community leaders, or any other interesting or quirky field we may not have yet heard of. Horny Toad tells us it is not simply seeking the best, but rather brightest, most unique or just plain fun and interesting individuals with dimension, character and a positive outlook on life’s everyday adventures. Those simply seeking monetary support need not apply. But, individuals who are passionate about their sport, trade, hobby or lifestyle and think that Horny Toad’s apparel line fits well into their adventures would be a great fit. Horny Toad sponsorship will be based on the individual, and awards will be granted on a case-by-case basis. Sponsorships will include clothing and logo wear. The company may also include product for related events, grants, monetary reward for media exposure of brand and promotional support. Horny Toad intends to promote the Toad Team and its members through a variety of outlets and feels the Team will provide a great opportunity for individuals to heighten the profile of their activities and passions. If you want to join the Team or know someone who might, send an email to Megan@backbonemedia.net and request an application, but hurry, the deadline for submissions is Dec. 15.
>> Thule Car Racks Systems just received an award for On Time Delivery for Model Introductions at the Honda Access America Supplier Forum during the 2003 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The award was based on Thule’s performance in supplying hitch racks and rooftop products for the 2003 Honda Element launch. Honda Access America recognized 15 suppliers at the Forum for on-time delivery for various 2003 Honda product introductions. Thule is one of over 80 manufacturing suppliers to Honda. Thule is also an original equipment manufacturing supplier to General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Saab, Saturn, Tecstar and Volvo.
>> SmartWool, like Mountainsmith earlier this year, has entered into a multi-year partnership with Vail Resorts. The agreement designates SmartWool as the “Official Sock” for many of the top ski areas in the country: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge Resort, Keystone and Heavenly Ski Resort. The SmartWool logo will appear on Vail Resorts promotional and marketing materials including trail maps, grooming reports, websites and various resort brochures. Paying homage to its ski racing roots, SmartWool will have a sponsorship presence at the 2003 Chevy Trucks “Birds of Prey” World Cup Downhill Races.
>> Climbing Magazine promoted Greg Williams to advertising director. He served as Climbing’s advertising manager since June 2002. According to a release from Climbing, Williams has been a dedicated climber for 16 years and was the former owner of the Philadelphia Rock Gym.
>> Five Ten Footwear has announced that the company’s longtime rep, Robert McDaniel, will be expanding his territory to include Missouri and Kansas. McDaniel has been representing the line since 1998 in the south-central region including Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana.