Black Diamond Equipment has inked a letter of intent to acquire Skye Alpine Inc., the company announced April 24. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close May 1, were not disclosed. Black Diamond will add Skye's product line, including the 02 Telemark Binding, Glide Lite skins, and Quick Draw avalanche probes and accessories to its current performance Backcountry line.
Founder and owner of Skye Alpine, Ted Ayliffe, Ph.D., will be joining BD's staff as a long-term contract designer.
Ayliffe was a partner in the G3 telemark binding company, where he was the one behind the Targa concept, but left to launch his own business, Skye Alpine, which he incorporated in September 2001.
SIA 2002 was his first winter trade show and the first time the company showed its new binding and began offering avalanche probes. Black Diamond, a company that had spent three and a half years developing its own telemark binding business which failed, took notice at that show, according to BD president, Peter Metcalf.
"We took a look at where we were and noted that our brilliant failure with the Sky-Hoy had set us back," Metcalf told SNEWS®. "So, we began a new approach with some new ideas when Skye first appeared on the scene. We took a look at the binding, thought it was very neat and began wondering if they (Skye) would be interested in talking to us.
Before we could do that, Ted broached the idea with Dave Mellon (BD's senior product line director) at SIA that if we would ever be interested in talking with him, he'd be interested in talking with us and discussions began."
When the deal closes on May 1, Metcalf told SNEWS®, Skye will no longer exist as a company or a brand and the website that exists now will either disappear or refer directly to Black Diamond's own site. It is BD's goal to try to change over labeling and packaging of the Skye product to its own by fall.
That means the new O3 Telemark Binding being introduced in, well, 03 (ummm, can we please have a bit more originality in the naming gang?) will launch under the Black Diamond brand name. Metcalf also told us that Ayliffe will work with the BD team in its efforts to establish a new Telemark Norm binding, which the company hopes to launch by fall 04 -- (but, puleeze, call it anything but the "04," O.K. folks?).