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Press Releases

Active Interest Media Names Courtney Matthews Director of Integrated Marketing at Backpacker and Climbing

Sheri and Randy Propster promoted to direct consumer events.

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Boulder, CO, December 17, 2013 – Active Interest Media ( today announced that Courtney Matthews has returned to Backpacker magazine (, where she began her career in publishing, to take the new position of director of integrated marketing of Backpacker and Climbing. Matthews will execute multimedia programs and events with outdoor industry clients, while also leading collaborations with select nonprofits. She will report to group publisher Jeff Tkach, splitting time between her home office in Pennsylvania and AIM’s headquarters in Boulder.

“I am excited to embrace two authentic brands that have been a tremendous part of my personal and professional path,” said Matthews, who comes to AIM after 14 years at Rodale Inc., where she served as marketing director for both Runner’s World and Bicycling. “Both titles have just celebrated 40 years of serving the most active readers in the outdoors, and both are leveraging events, tablets, social media, and other digital platforms to broaden – and deepen – their best-in-class audience engagement.”

“Courtney brings the perfect blend of outdoor industry expertise along with a profound insight to building integrated media solutions that deliver on client goals,” said Tkach. “She also possesses a wealth of knowledge from the cycling and running markets that will enable her to apply best practices and an innovative approach to our key partners. In addition, Courtney has successfully launched highly impactful philanthropic endeavors. In 2014, Backpacker will launch a new philanthropic platform that she will lead.”

Matthews began her media career in 1994 as a marketing coordinator at Backpacker, soon moving to California to join The North Face and then Sierra Designs. “During more than five years working on the manufacturer side of the outdoor industry,” said Matthews, “I learned the importance of customer trust and product attributes that will guide me in developing creative concepts for our clients.”

In a related move, Tkach strengthened Backpacker and Climbing’s growing consumer event footprint with the promotion of Sheri and Randy Propster to the new positions of Events Directors. Beloved in the outdoor industry as the husband-and-wife team behind Backpacker’s Get Out More mobile marketing tour, the Propsters will spearhead an expansion of the series—adding a women’s tour and a winter tour—as well as launching new consumer events at Climbing. They will also hire a new team of ambassadors to replace themselves after 7 years on the road for Get Out More. “Sheri and Randy have grown to become an iconic brand in the outdoor community. They have inspired and enabled countless people to get engaged in outdoor pursuits over the last seven years. We are thrilled to have them provide leadership to our entire events business. Backpacker has very aggressive plans to grow the Get Out More franchise in 2014, so that we can continue to accelerate the growth in participation for our industry,” said Tkach. The Propsters will be based in Boulder.

About Active Interest Media, Inc.
Active Interest Media, Inc. (AIM, is a leading publisher of enthusiast consumer shows and publications across all media platforms. AIM’s titles include Yoga Journal, Backpacker, SKI, Skiing, Warren Miller Films, Vegetarian Times, Yachts International, SAIL, Power & Motoryacht, Black Belt, American Cowboy, Practical Horseman, Log Home Living, Old House Journal and many more.The company’s five publishing groups–the Equine Network, the Home Buyer Group, the Healthy Living Group, the Marine Group, and the Outdoor Group–reach more than 10 million readers in 85 countries around the world.

AIM was formed by Wind Point Partners, a private equity investment firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Southfield, Michigan, in partnership with CEO Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III, in October 2003.

About Backpacker:
Backpacker ( brings the outdoors to readers’ doorsteps, inspiring and empowering them to get out and enjoy nature more often. The authority on active adventure, Backpacker is the world’s first GPS-enabled magazine, and the only magazine whose editors personally test the hiking trails, camping gear, and survival tips they publish.

Backpacker is published by Active Interest Media (, has a circulation of 340,000, and is published 10 times per year. Since 2006, Backpacker has been nominated 11 times for National Magazine Awards, and has won 5 times, including general excellence honors for both the magazine and the website. Backpacker’s digital universe continues to grow exponentially, with highly engaged audiences for its social platforms, video channel, 5,000-trip report database, downloadable maps, and custom-searchable gear database ( Its event programming includes Adventures NYC, an annual outdoor festival that introduces adventures sports to 40,000 attendees in Central Park, and Get Out More, a mobile marketing tour that provides introductory camping clinics at 75 retail stores around the country. In 2014, Backpacker will add two new tours to the Get Out More franchise, one designed exclusively for women and another built around winter sports.

Backpacker is part of AIM’s Outdoor Group, which also includes consumer brands like Climbing, SKI, Skiing, and National Park Trips, as well as the leading B2B media in the outdoor, fitness, and wintersports industries.