Hot Sheet: Head, drunk skiers, Hall of Fame, Burton and more

It's Hot Sheet time, with Head's latest financials, a disgraced--and now former--U.S. Ski Team member, the latest Ski Hall of Fame nominees and much more.
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Low snow in Europe last winter resulted in a significant sales drop for Head NV, as the company reported that mid-January sales reorders were reduced considerably, driving sales down in the wintersports division by nearly 7 percent for the first quarter. But second quarter sales increased by 18.7 percent “driven mainly by earlier shipments of bindings under contract manufacturing agreements for the 2011/12 season and a favorable product mix for boots,” according to a statement from the company.

Head also reported that the diving market was severely impacted by both political turbulence in key dive destinations in North Africa and natural disasters in Australia and Japan that resulted in a decline in sales for the first quarter. Overall, sales for the group for the first six months of the year declined by nearly 1.4 percent. The net loss for the first half of the year increased by EUR 1.8 million (USD $2.5 million) due to non-cash share based compensation income in 2011 being lower by EUR 3.4 million (USD $4.8 million) and higher interest and other finance expense of EUR 2.7 millon (USD $3.8 million), offset by lower foreign exchange losses of EUR 3.8 million (USD $5.4 million) and a small improvement in the adjusted operating loss.

The adjusted operating loss for the six month period improved marginally by EUR 300,000 (USD $420,000) compared to the prior year. This was mainly due to a EUR 1.5 million (USD $2.1 million) positive movement in other operating items, primarily due to exchange rate gains, offset by lower sales and increased raw material prices which reduced the gross margin by one percentage point from 42 to 41 percent.

In other Head news, here in the U.S. the company announced the appointment of Mike Poole to the position of national sales manager for rental products. And Davy Kammer has been named national sales manager for Head snowboarding retail products. Also, Vic DeGeorge has accepted the position of independent sales representative in the Southeast territory for Head Wintersports products.

18-year-old kicked off ski team after urinating on sleeping girl

An 18-year-old skier from Vermont appears to have literally whizzed away his Olympic dreams after getting drunk and urinating on an 11-year-old girl on a Jet Blue flight on Aug. 10, 2011. The Associated Press reports that 18-year-old Robert "Sandy" Vietze, told police he consumed eight alcoholic drinks before boarding a redeye flight from Portland, Ore., to New York JFK, where he urinated on a sleeping girl, mistakenly believing he had reached the bathroom. Following the incident, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) Executive Vice President of Athletics sent an e-mail to the AP confirming that Vietze “has been dismissed from the team.”

Dorworth, Abraham lead Hall of Fame nominees

The National Selection Committee has met and voted on 30 nominations that were received over the past year for election of Honored Members to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame. With the ballot now determined, the process moves on to the National Voting Panel made up of approximately 125 individuals invited because of their knowledge and passion for ski sports. This year's nominees include:

* Horst Abraham

* Nick Badami*

* Mason Beekley*

* Dick Dorworth

* Kris Feddersen

* Philip Gravink

* Craig Kelly*

* Harry Leonard

* Paul McCollister*

* Dr. Ralph Miller

* Joe Pack

* Tyler Palmer

* Kristean Porter

* Bob Smith

* Lane Spina

* Eva Twardokens

(Deceased*) 

K2 parent Jarden approves $500 million stock repurchase

The Jarden Corporation, which counts K2 and Volkl among its many holdings, announced that its Board of Directors has approved a new stock repurchase program for up to $500 million of its common stock. The company also stated that during the current quarter it completed the $150 million repurchase program first authorized in November 2007 and increased in March 2010. As of June 30, 2011, the Company had approximately 92.7 million shares of common stock outstanding.

Martin E. Franklin, executive chairman of Jarden, commented, “For the past several years, our key priorities for using our cash have been to reinvest in our businesses, to pay down debt and to make acquisitions where appropriate. We have made significant progress on these efforts, and they will continue to be a focus. However, given the weakness in our share price, current market dynamics, and the strength of our liquidity, we believe accelerating our repurchase of shares is an appropriate use of cash, in line with our ongoing commitment to increase shareholder value.”

Burton storms into stores on Saturday

Burton Snowboard has issued a “Winter Storm Warning,” rushing new 2011/12 product into stores across the country on Aug. 13, 2011. Burton announced the program as a part of an integrated effort to release new product around the country on the same day, and is throwing parties celebrating the launch at 25 snowboard shops across the country. Along with the product launch, Burton is hosting a contest where the lucky winner gets to “live like a pro for the winter,” with $10,000 in prize money and Half a year's use of an AWD Mini Cooper.

--Peter Kray

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