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BOULDER, Colo. (Jan. 18, 2007) â€“ American idols don’t just live on the musical stage in front of Simon Cowell hoping for the next recording contract. On the contrary; next week, 10 young â€œOutdoor Idolsâ€ (www.outdooridols.org) are performing on the slopes of Utah just outside Salt Lake City and are being lauded not only for their achievement in sport, but more importantly, for their unique passion for teaching the benefits of a healthy outdoor lifestyle to their peers and for giving back to their communities. Ten kids under the age of 23 are being recognized by the $33 billion outdoor industry (including companies such as JanSport, Merrell, Timberland, and W.L. Gore & Associates) against the backdrop of the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market (ORSM), the bi-annual gathering where over 1000 companies display the latest outdoor gear and apparel. In its second year, The Outdoor Industry Foundation (OIF), a not-for-profit established by the Outdoor Industry Association (www.outdoorindustry.org) will bestow these honors at Brighton Mountain Resort, Utah on Jan. 26, 1:00-2:00 p.m., as 20,000 outdoor professionals begin gathering in Utah to do business.
The 2007 winter class of Outdoor Idols are: Ryan Battersby, 11 (Park City, Utah); Nick DeVore, 21 (Salt Lake City, Utah); Gabriela Hernandez, 18 (Mexico City, Mexico/Edwards, Colo.); Phillipa Hunt, 19 (Salt Lake City, Utah); Erol Kerr, 20 (Truckee, Calif.); Ryland Mauck-Duff, 16 (Cabot, Vt.); Eric McNair Landry, 21 (Iqaluit, NU Canada); Sarah McNair Landry, 18 (Iqaluit, NU Canada); Lorin Paley, 14 (Wayne, N.J./Steamboat, Colo.); and David Sinclair, 15 (Waitsfield, Vt.).
â€œIn a time when text messaging, DVDs and video games seem to be captivating today’s youth, this unique group of kids is focused on pursuing outdoor activities and educating their peers about the distinct advantages of this lifestyle,â€ said Michelle Barnes, vice president for OIF. â€œEach Outdoor Idol was selected for being a new voice in encouraging the active outdoor lifestyle; we applaud all of our Outdoor Idols for the terrific example they are setting for the next generation.â€
â€œI have learned to respect what the world has given me and utilize it to my best ability,â€ said Outdoor Idol Phillipa Hunt. â€œToo many people waste time trying to avoid boredom, when all they really need to do is get outside.â€
To be considered, all nominees had to meet the following qualifications: must be under the age of 23; be a trendsetter in ice climbing, freeskiing, alpine skiing (ski racing), telemark skiing, mountaineering, expeditions, snowboarding, nordic skiing, kite skiing/boarding, ski basing or winter sport/outdoor instruction; embrace the spirit of the active lifestyle; and be actively involved in growing participation in outdoor recreation by motivating their peers. Winners were selected by a panel of outdoor journalists, industry leaders, youth development organizations and outdoor athletes. The 10 athletes will now serve as ambassadors for the youth market to the outdoor industry, working closely with OIF, providing ideas on how best to engage today’s youth in outdoor pursuits.
These Outdoor Idols are actively involved in giving back to the youth community. Outdoor Idol Gabriela Hernandez, who first learned snowboarding through Snowboard Outreach Society (www.sosoutreach.org), today mentors underserved/at-risk kids in this program.
â€œI love volunteering because it allows me to help others and sets a good example for other young people that may one day be in my shoes,â€ said Hernandez. â€œNot only do I learn new things everyday from helping others, but it helps me to become a better person too.â€
Brother and sister Outdoor Idols, Sarah and Eric McNair Landry plan their own expeditions (mountaineering, kiting and dogsledding), and regularly meet with school groups to encourage other youth to set and accomplish their own goals. They are currently planning a youth team trip to Greenland.
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Sixteen-year old Ryland Mauck-Duff of Vermont started a newsletter, Free Heel Flyer, four years ago that allows outdoor enthusiasts to share their adventures. Nick DeVore mentors young kids, encouraging them to rock climb or take up backcountry exploration. Eleven year old Ryan â€œZOOâ€ Battersby is working with kids in his local Park City, Utah freeride program. David Sinclair is a volunteer mentor teaching skiing in Vermont. Nineteen-year old Phillipa Hunt created the Crested Butte Academy (Colo.) Alpine Freeride Program to coach the up and coming youth in the sport. Lorin Paley organizes early a.m. workout groups during the summer off-season to get her friends active. Lastly, Errol Kerr can be found mentoring young athletes though the National Brotherhood of Skiers.
New for this year, Serac Adventure Films, a full-service film production company specializing in award winning expedition documentaries, is developing a movie trailer featuring the Outdoor Idols. For more information on Serac, please visit: www.seracfilms.com.
About Outdoor Industry Foundation and Outdoor Industry Association
Outdoor Industry Foundation (OIF) is a non-profit foundation established by Outdoor Industry Association to encourage active outdoor recreation for all Americans. OIF’s charter is to increase participation in outdoor recreation and to encourage and support healthier, more active lifestyles through education, partnerships, programs and advocacy. For more information go to www.outdoorindustryfoundation.org or call 303.444.3353.