Hot Sheet: More Vermont, Ski Team, LSSM and more industry news

News keeps emerging from storm-ravaged Vermont, including an update on the damage at Okemo, and a new statewide initiative to get tourists back for the upcoming foliage season. That, the new deal between Nastar and the Ski Team, and Kastle's growth in this week's Hot Sheet.

New information continues to emerge from the disaster zones in Vermont. Bonnie MacPherson of Okemo Mountain Resort sent over a note on Sept. 9, 2011, updating the statues of the Vermont ski area and saying that, “Communities have rallied in support of those in need and the newly created motto, ‘I am Vermont Strong,’ has taken on the status of a battle cry.”

MacPherson said Okemo wasn’t unscathed by the storm, but most of the damage has already been repaired. She said the Clock Tower Base Area suffered the most. Flooding washed out Mountain Road below the snowmaking pump house. And water and mud washed through the base area, depositing several feet of silt and sand in the Snow Stars learning area, also known as Galaxy Bowl. But the Jackson Gore Inn never lost power during the storm and the base area suffered no damage at all. Okemo also raised $10,000 at a benefit concert and donated the money to Black River Good Neighbors Services. 

In other Irene news, the State of Vermont announced a multi-disciplinary task force charged with restoring tourism during the state’s celebrated fall foliage season. The task force plans to use a comprehensive communications campaign to highlight the accessibility of Vermont while emphasizing that most areas of Vermont “are ready to provide the inspirational foliage experience the state is known for.”

U.S. Ski Team, NASTAR join forces

The U.S. Ski Team and NASTAR are combining forces for a season-ending extravaganza of ski racing. “The Championships presented by Nature Valley,” a joint venture between the U.S. Ski Team and NASTAR, will feature 10 days of recreational and top level competition at Winter Park Resort. The Championships will combine the traditional Nature Valley NASTAR National Championships together with the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships. The combined event is expected to attract over 2,000 competitors from recreational racers to Olympic champions from March 22-April 1. 

"Both NASTAR and the U.S. Alpine Championships have great reach, but The Championships provides stronger growth and offers a consumer marketing opportunity with the potential to impact the 16 million sport participants in America," said USSA Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Andrew Judelson. The event will be broadcast nationally on NBC, Versus (NBC Sports Network) and Universal Sports.

LSSM takes aim at drawing 150,000 new skiers

Organizers of Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (LSSM) are gearing up for January 2012 and hoping to motivate 150,000 children and adults to take ski and snowboard lessons during the month. The 2011 initiative drew 75,000 up from 30,000 in 2010. 

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association is the newest national industry association to sign on as a partner. USSA is producing a series of videos featuring Olympians and other members of the ski and snowboard teams. Organizers are also working with recreation-oriented government agencies and initiatives, travel and tourism offices and other outreach programs. Children and adults can earn a Presidential Active Lifetime Achievement Award (PALA) by participating in skiing and snowboarding. LSSM also supports the First Lady’s Let’s Move Outside initiative in an effort to get more children and adults active in winter.

Black Diamond Hosts 18th Annual Utah Avalanche Center Fundraiser

Black Diamond Equipment, Uinta Brewing Company and the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center will host their 18th annual fundraiser September 15, 2011, from 6 to 10 p.m. at Black Diamond, 2084 East 3900 South, Salt Lake City, Utah. “It’s time for the unofficial precursor to the Wasatch ski season,” said TJ Kolanko, grassroots marketing coordinator for Black Diamond Equipment. “Black Diamond’s 18th Annual Fundraiser for the Utah Avalanche Center will bring great people together to benefit a worthy cause and serves as a reminder ‘Old Man’ winter is on its way.” The Utah Avalanche Center is funded partly by local and federal government sources and partly by donations from businesses, foundations and individual backcountry supporters. 

Kästle reports growth surge, bolsters rep force

Kästle Skis announced sales growth of 64 percent over the previous fiscal year at the close of its 2010/11 business year on May 31. This sales increase makes the U.S. the most important market worldwide for the brand. To further support the U.S. market, Kästle announced the hiring of Travis Townes as western territory sales associate, and looks to fill the position of Pacific Northwest Territory sales rep. The states where Kästle’s U.S. business shows the strongest sales are Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, California and Vermont. The fastest growing product segments for Kästle are Freeride skis (waist widths 95-128mm) and the Alpine Touring/Randoneé product group. For the business year now underway, a roughly 50 percent growth in sales is forecast.

In other news…

Spyder's Fallen Patriot Hat (MSRP $40) was developed to support the sons and daughters of fallen service members by collaborating with the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation CFPF, a non-profit organization that provides college scholarships and educational counseling to military children who have lost a parent in combat or training accidents. For every Fallen Patriot hat sold, Spyder will donate money to CFPF. Nearly 3,000 fans turned out at the New York City world movie premiere of “The Art of FLIGHT” on Sept. 7. The premiere, held at the iconic Beacon Theatre, welcomed the film’s entire cast and crew including pro snowboarder Travis Rice, celebrities such as Justin Timberlake, Mike Diamond from the Beastie Boys and Owen Wilson.

--Peter Kray

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