For international recognition, an ispo award is hard to beat

At ispo winter '05, the awards were being presented at an almost breakneck speed -- which was very good if you were an exhibitor on the receiving end of one, not so good if you were the media trying breathlessly to keep up with all the bestowing of honors, hardware and glowing acceptance speeches. Here then is a brief, yet as complete as you'll want to read, recap of all the hardware and applause worth noting from ispo winter.
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At ispo winter '05, the awards were being presented at an almost breakneck speed -- which was very good if you were an exhibitor on the receiving end of one, not so good if you were the media trying breathlessly to keep up with all the bestowing of honors, hardware and glowing acceptance speeches. Here then is a brief, yet as complete as you'll want to read, recap of all the hardware and applause worth noting from ispo winter.

11th annual ispo BrandNew Awards
We would argue that no other award in the world offers young, innovative companies from the international sports industry the prestige, media attention, retailer attention and, perhaps most importantly, potential investor and manufacturing support attention or distributor source as the ispo BrandNew Awards.

Winners in each of the seven categories -- hardware winter, hardware summer, boarder, sportswear, style, accessories, and hardware accessories -- each received a completely equipped booth of 20 square meters (215 square feet) in a so-called BrandNew Village, honors during the official award ceremony that attracted international media, PR support, and much more. The additional 32 selected finalists received a 10-square-meter booth (110 square feet) in the BrandNew Village.

This year, there were 158 applications submitted, setting a record. Over the life of the award, which was begun in 1999, ispo reports that over 440 new and start-up companies have submitted products for consideration in the BrandNew awards. Over 60 percent of this year's submissions came from outside Germany, and two of the award-winners this year were from the United States.

ispo's BrandNew Village, complete with its fashion show and coffee/sandwich bar (all complimentary or, should we say, likely part of the overall sponsorship ante'd up by Dupont), became a must-see stop for any ispo attendee wanting a peek at the best and brightest new companies and products in the sports world. Touring the village was eye-opening and inspiring.

The Overall Award was bestowed on Nemo's Sako, a one-piece inflatable tent. NEMO was founded in 2002 by Cam Brensinger. He told SNEWS® he drew inspiration from his previous work on, get this, space suits for astronauts. Not bad for a small U.S. company out of New England.

Not to be outdone, JetBoil, yet another New England company, grabbed recognition for being the best Hardware Accessories product. Co-owner Dwight Aspinwall was all smiles when we caught up with him at his booth located right next to the espresso machine -- location is everything they say.

Other winners include: the Flink backpack from Switzerland winning in the Accessories category, the Pressurized skydiving suit from Austria winning in the Sportswear category, Japan's Yono for its protection jacket in the Style category, the Surfswing from Germany in the Hardware Summer category, and the Alurunner sled from Germany winning in the Hadware Winter category.

In an upcoming story, SNEWS® will detail products, including other finalists with some eye-opening innovations, that stood out to us from our tour of the BrandNew area.

Volvo Women's SportsDesign Awards
From a climbing shoe for girls to high-tech, graphically-coordinated ski and snowboard sets, the winners of the first Volvo SportsDesign Awards took center stage as "the most innovative products in women's sports design" at the New Munich Trade Fair Center on Sat. night, Feb. 5, in a glamorous, pre-ispo gala event that followed the third-annual daylong Volvo SportsDesign Forum.

The actual presentation of the SportsDesign Awards were a somewhat overdone affair -- replete with attempted glamour, champagne, glitz, flashing lights (that blinded the audience), smoke, and the-envelope-please presentations (hey, this wasn't the Academy Awards people, com'on!) leaving many of the reported 1,000 attendees rolling their eyes at times and looking anxiously at their watches -- Could the promised food be far?

Still, winning one of the six awards, and finding your product feted up in the hardcover commemorative book was certainly heady stuff for the top companies and their designers. (Although there were some who rumbled and murmured about why ski gear won the outdoor category and wasn't in the ski category.)

A reported 281 products were entered from around the world. The judges measured the products on five criteria: formal character, functionality and usability for women, innovation and conception, use of materials, and color and graphics.

The six category winners were:
>> Ski Set: Rossignol Attraction, designed by Mediapack. The judges noted that the ski provided the perfect blend of performance, comfort, and good looks with its unique “nubuck” tattoo graphics statement. "Rossignol has really listened to women," said judge Florian Weingaertner of ispo management.

>> Board Equipment: the Burton Troop Group (board, boots, bindings), designed by Lisa Fickentscher, won the top prize for its board, boots and bindings. “We're super proud, and we'll keep working for women's ride, for sure," said Jake Burton, upon accepting the award.

>> Outdoor Equipment: the Dynafit ST 5.0 Women's Set (ski, bindings, boots, poles), designed by Herwig Halun, Fritz Bathel and Stefan Tschager. A key to the victory, the judges said: Each ski weighs only 1.08kg (40 ounces), thanks to its carbon laminates.

>> Footwear: the Montrail Grommet Girl, designed by Scott Franklin. Franklin took his extensive climbing experience and the influence of his toddler-aged daughter to create a shoe that has true climbing sole features, with flower graphics that are catchy to young girls. "It is important to attract girls to the sport with a non-patronizing product," said WGSN active market editor Danielle Sellwood, one of the judges. Said Montrail designer Scott Franklin, "We're really proud."

 >> Accessories & Components: Salomon Siam Helmet, designed by Quentin Verhaeghe. To date, women's sports helmets were inspired by racing sports or martial arts. That has changed with a ski and snowboard-inspired helmet designed for participants. Its features include fur-lined removable ear pads, airflow ventilation and goggle attachments.

>> Women's Concepts, a special category for students and young designers: Homesick Sports Net, designed by Silvia Knuppel and Damien Regamey. New design concepts took center stage, with Silvia Knuppel's innovative Homesick Sports Net earning an award sculpture and a Euro 5,000 (USD $6,500) check. The concept revolutionizes net development by steering away from the age-old, predictable mesh design pattern. Plus, the net can be used for volleyball, tennis, badminton, basketball, field hockey, handball and other sports.

The judges for the Volvo SportsDesign Award included: Andrej Kupetz of the German Design Council, Florian Weingartner of ispo, Anna Rosen of Volvo Car Corporation, Julie Fawcett of Sheactive, Sybs Bauer of the Women Designer's Forum, Annke Osthues of designafairs, Danielle Sellwood of WGSN, and Moni Wolf of Motorola iDEN.

The award was what left the recipients and the audience in awe. It was a tall, clear, glass vase, nearly 16 inches in diameter, designed by Swedish artist Ingegerd Raman, with an engraved "tree" theme with flowers, leaves and branches entwining up the sides.

ispo Outdoor Awards winter 05
For the 10th year, ispo presented its "ispo Outdoor Awards." The awards seek to recognize the most "innovative outdoor products," this time for the winter season 2005/06, in the textiles, hardware, women and specials categories. Innovation, function/quality/technical solutions, user-friendliness/ease of use, and design were the jury's criteria for selecting the winners. The jury was composed of representatives from specialty stores, the trade media, the safety commission of the German Alpine Club, the European Standards Committee, as well as representatives of the Munich trade fair management.

>> Though new to ispo perhaps, the winner of the "hardware category," the Berghaus C7 Pro backpack with Bioflex technology won for technology that actually debuted at OutDoor Friedrichshafen in July 2005. Still, it is pretty cool.

>> In the "clothing category", the functional underwear Men's Nike Sphere React LS Crew from Nike ACG won acclaim from the judges -- and not just for the ridiculously long name.

>> The Wild Roses Baffin jacket earned accolades in the women's category for its "extreme softness and light weight, which go hand-in-hand with freedom of movement and a very good fit."

>> And the award in the "specials category" belongs to the feather-light sleeping bag "Mirage 350" from Valandré.

ispo European ski awards winter 2005
For the third year, ispo presented its European Ski Awards for what the judges felt were the "best innovations in all aspects of winter sports" in six categories – hardware, bindings, integrated binding systems, clothing, specials, and for the first time women.

The international jury, which was composed of representatives from industry, trade, the media, and the International Skiing Association, FIS, judged the entries on: function/quality/technical aspects, innovation, user-friendliness/ease-of-use, and design.

The winners included: "TLT Race TI" from Dynafit in the bindings category, X-UnderGear in the clothing category, the Hans Kammerlander X-tralite touring ski by Fischer in the hardware category, The iPT Motion by Volkl in the integrated binding systems category, the Leki Mountain Unlimited poles in the specials category, and the Attiva product line for women by Volkl that combines skis, bindings, ski shoes, clothing, helmet and goggles in the women's category.

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