For the week of Nov. 30-Dec. 6
>> Casey Sheahan has accepted the job of his dreams -- as Patagonia's newest
product line director in charge of a division near and dear to one of his greatest passions in life (other than his lovely wife, of course), fly fishing. Sheahan will be stepping down as Kelty's president effective Jan. 1, 2005, and will oversee Patagonia's fishing and paddling divisions, working from a solar-powered home office he tells SNEWS® he is in the process of building (we can only assume he has significant drift boat time worked into his new contract). Sheahan will be working for Michael Crooke, the man who recommended Sheahan to his bosses as the next president of Kelty when he left to become president of Pearl Izumi in May of 1998. Crooke, of course, left Pearl after a short tenure to head Patagonia -- telling SNEWS® then that he too was pursuing a dream job. Seems Patagonia is fulfilling a lot of dreams. Sheahan tells us Kelty is currently beginning the search for the company's next president, considering several very qualified candidates within the company as well as a few likely external applicants. SNEWS® View: Perfect job for the perfect man...or perfect man for the perfect job. Either way, it is a perfect match. Sheahan, who once had an honorable career as an editor, left the publishing world for the corporate side in 1990 to become a marketing manager at Nike ACG. From there it was to Merrell as vice president of marketing from 1994 to 1998. Coincidentally, Crooke was the first president of the Conservation Alliance, and Sheahan was president of the Alliance for the last year. Sheahan has found a home (whether it will be his last at the corporate dance remains to be seen) at a company that matches perfectly his beliefs and passions. Of course, Patagonia has to realize it's just given Sheahan more reason to be outdoors fishing under the guise of product development than at his desk actually working.
>> Last week, Telemarktips.com, the most popular site on the web for discussions of backcountry skiing, was attacked by a malicious hacker. It started with a simple mindless script manipulation exploiting a flaw in the PHP software used by numerous online forums. However, when the intruder was detected, the twerp got nasty and inflicted as much damage as possible. By Friday, the entire website was offline. Mitch Weber, Telemarktips.com's vociferous owner, and volunteers spent the entire weekend trying to recover as much material as possible. Although they rescued all of the articles, stories, and reviews, the entire database of discussions from September 2003 through December 2005 was completely lost, never to be seen again. While the vast majority of this was trivial conversations, there was also a significant wealth of information on equipment, technique, avalanche safety and many other topics. Weber and crew did a fantastic job of bringing the website back up by Monday morning, including a much-needed server upgrade, and in some ways starting with a clean slate isn’t such a bad thing. Nonetheless, SNEWS® joins in wishing the hacker, should he or she be found, a harsh fine, lengthy jail sentence...and a special place in hell.
>> New and old faces are joining VF Corp.'s JanSport, Vans and Napapijri brands. Within its JanSport division, Mike Corvino has been promoted to president of JanSport, replacing Mike Cisler who is not making the move to San Leandro, Calif., where the brand will now be headquartered. Corvino was vice president of sales and merchandising for VF Imagewear. Todd Yates has been named vice president of research, design and development and marketing for JanSport, reporting to Corvino. Most recently, he was vice president of TNF's marketing and business development. Paula Kosmatka has been promoted to design director for JanSport apparel and equipment, reporting to Yates. Her most recent role was as merchandising and design directors for TNF's new business development. Also, Mike Boyle has joined VF Outdoor as vice president and general manager of Napapijri Americas. Over the last 20 years Boyle has served in sales and merchandising roles at Merona Sports, Boston Traders, The Timberland Company and Columbia Sportswear. Most recently he served as Vice President of Sales for the U.S. launch of Victorinox/Swiss Army Apparel. He will report to Mike Egeck. Lastly, VF announced the following new roles in its Vans division: Bill Bettencourt has been appointed vice president of footwear and equipment. Terri Miller has been promoted to vice president of apparel. Michael Schulam has been promoted to category director of Vans' snow and outerwear apparel. Deborah Dyson is nowdirector of development and quality assurance for Vans' apparel division.
>> The recently-announced Polartec Challenge grants for 2005 go, this year, to: Nils Larsen for his expedition to the Chinese Altai Mountains to document the traditional use of skis by the Tuwa tribe; Ryan Nelson for his alpine climbing Project Bazooka Tooth to the Ruth Gorge in Alaska; and Lindsay Yaw for her Lapland Ski Traverse following the historical journey of WWII expatriate Jan Baalsrud in his escape from Nazi-occupied Norway. The Polartec Challenge grant program selects winners based on criteria that typically include exploration of remote terrain in a frugal, low-impact style. Additionally, expeditions embrace local culture, research scientific objectives and reach out to the human spirit of adventure. Started in 1991 the Polartec Challenge offers Malden Mills an essential testing ground for new fabric technologies. Each expedition provides detailed and vital feedback through in-depth, post-expedition reports on the performance of supplied Polartec products. In addition to receiving clothing to test, each expedition receives a share of the $10,000 kitty that Malden has made available this year. The amount each expedition receives is based on need and individual expedition budgets SNEWS® has been told. On average, what Malden awards kicks in 15 to 50-percent of the financial needs of each expedition. For more information on the Polartec Challenge, go to: http://polartec.com/pulse/challenge.php.
>> The Outdoor Industries Women's Coalition (OIWC) has announced the three finalists of its fourth annual Pioneering Woman Award: Kim Coupounas of GoLite LLC, Ann Krcik of Extreme Connection, and skier Jeannie Thoren of Thoren Theory Seminars. Each year during Outdoor Retailer Winter Market the OIWC presents its Pioneering Woman Award to a deserving woman in the outdoor industry who has distinguished herself as a mentor of other women. The Pioneering Woman Award winner will be revealed at OIWC's Winter Gathering on Jan. 31 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. in Abravanel Hall adjacent to the Salt Palace Convention Center. The recipient of the award will receive a check for $1,000 to be given to the charity of her choice. Previous award recipients are Kitty Bradley of Stonewear Designs, Rachel Ligtenberg of REI, and Norma Hanson of Smartwool.
>> The North Face has opened its fifth European store in Helsinki, Finland, in partnership with Partioaitta. The 1,550-square-foot store elaborates on TNF's retail concept designed to personify the brand and celebrate its outdoor exploration heritage, the company said. TNF worked with the Italian design firm Brombini & Saccardo to adapt the space into a destination for outdoor enthusiasts and retail shoppers. The store's interior includes authentic multicultural artifacts from regions around the world where TNF has supported expeditions intertwined with modern elements that represent the technical aspects of the product line.
>> Continuing the sustainability discussions started at Summer Market and the Outdoor Industry Rendezvous, Outdoor Retailer Winter Market will host another seminar -- Industry Collaboration on Environmental Sustainability -- on Jan. 29. This session is geared toward companies that are interested in taking an active role in advancing an environmental agenda within the industry. The organizers -- made up of David Bennell, REI's Mike Collins, Timberland's Terry Kellogg, and Patagonia's Jill Vlahos -- will present results from a survey on environmental practices as well as examples of how different groups have aligned to address the sustainability challenge in the past. They'll also present a framework for how the outdoor industry could collaborate for discussion by the audience. The goal is to establish a group of companies interested in (and a model for) moving the environmental agenda forward. The session will be in the Marriott, Salon Room D, from noon to 1 p.m.
>> SnowSports Industries America (SIA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are promoting snow sports with nearly 500 specialty retail stores nationwide are in the first-ever VERB Project Zero Degrees winter sports program. Targeted at kids aged 9 to 13, the program was developed to increase awareness and participation of winter sports among them and has touched 17 million kids and parents so far. The VERB brand touts a 79 percent recognition rate among this age group and kids who are aware of the VERB campaign are 34 percent more active than unaware kids, according to participating organizations. Retailers are offering free activity kits that include U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) team athlete activity cards, a carabiner, stickers, tattoos and a free magazine subscription to Ski Racing packaged in a "kid cool" reusable pouch. The integrated VERB campaign uses advertising, marketing, events and partnership activities to ensure that campaign messages reach children whenever they are looking for something physical to do. The marketing campaign has included Sports Illustrated for Kids, nick.com, bonus.com, kaboose.com and other print and online outlets. Through multicultural media partnerships, the campaign is designed to reach children in all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds, including African Americans, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, Native Americans and Hispanics/Latinos. More info is available at www.VERBnow.com and www.snowlinkjr.com.
>> Bob Barker and Kelty are going to share TV time again as the outdoor brand appears on three episodes of "The Price if Right" game show in 2005. A shipment of backpacks, tents and sleeping bags are Hollywood-bound -- including a family-friendly basecamp set up and a traditional backpacking collection for four. To be taped in front of a live studio audience this fall, each broadcast will reach an estimated 7 million viewers per episode. "These are the right activities to promote at the right time at the right place," said Ann Obenchain, Kelty marketing director. "To grow the overall outdoor market, the essential first step is to reach out to a national audience of potential participants with a colorful presentation of camping and backpacking -- two of the most inclusive, affordable and easy-to-learn outdoor activities."
>> Chaos headwear company has revised its logo to position its image for long-term growth and ready itself for various 2005 promotional events, including the Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge. Chaos will be the on-mountain promotional partner for SnoCountry events, broadcasting, websites and raffles, and at nationwide at Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge events. The Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge developed by SnoCountry a decade ago is the longest running snowboarding and skiing promotional tour in North America. SnoCountry works with over a 1,000 ski resorts in the United States and Canada, Europe and the Southern Hemisphere, with over 500 radio stations and numerous media outlets. Its partners are represented daily in SnoCountry's mountain report radio network, demo sampling promotions and brand promotion through its website. Along with the new logo, Chaos is debuting a new booth at both SIA and Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.
>> Teko has received the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 environmental certification, a strict European standard that ensures that a product is proven to be harmless to human health, for all of its socks. Testing maintains that the fiber content and all manufacturing processes will leave the product 100 percent safe to be next to your skin. Oeko-Tex was developed by a group of European textile institutes and addresses the human ecology component of textile products. In particular, Oeko-Tex evaluates and screens for the presence of hazardous elements. Products with the Oeko-Tex label: do not contain allergenic dyestuffs nor dyestuffs that form carcinogenic arylamines of the MAK-groups III A1 and III A2; have been tested for pesticides and chlorinated phenols; have been tested for the release of heavy metals under artificial perspiration conditions; are free from formaldehyde or contain trace amounts significantly lower than the required legal limits; have a skin friendly pH; are free from chloro-organic carriers; and are free from biologically active finishes. Teko's product line features environmentally sound materials, such as organic cotton, Ecopet recycled polyester and EcoWash Merino wool. www.tekosocks.com
>> In a ceremony that included company Chair Gert Boyle, Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield and Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher, Columbia Sportswear officially dedicated its new Robards, Ky.-based, distribution center. With an operation date for January, the facility will mainly handle Columbia and Sorel footwear. With footwear sales up 25 percent in the last six years, it'll help that the facility's systems can track 1,800 cartons every hour. Plus, new sorting and tracking technology allows workers to locate any carton in the 520,000-square-foot facility at any time. Special chutes and sorters were created to accommodate footwear and a wide variety of products. The cost of the facility was approximately $40 million.
>> The Bettys are back! Once again, the Outdoor Industries Women's Coalition (OIWC) is sponsoring the Backcountry Betty Clinics at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market's Backcountry Basecamp demo on Jan. 28. The free two-hour clinics at Brighton in Big Cottonwood Canyon are open to all women in the outdoor industry. Clinics include: Basic Backcountry Skills conducted by Babes in the Backcountry founder and owner Leslie Ross (sponsored by Black Diamond); Beginning Telemark Instruction led by former U.S. and World Cup Telemark Team member Sarah Bennett Alley; Backcountry Snowboard Tour guided by Sandra Guzman, head snowboard training coordinator and coach for the Women's Snowboard Camps, (sponsored by Burton); and Guided Backcountry Ski Tour led by ski mountaineer, BD- and TNF-sponsored athlete Kasha Rigby. Each clinic accommodates six participants and registration will be on-site at Brighton in the OIWC booth. The four clinics will be conducted in the morning and repeated in the afternoon, with additional clinics added for basic backcountry skills and beginning telemark instruction. For more information, visit www.oiwc.org or contact Maile Buker at email@example.com, phone 801-706-4261.
>> David Kramer, southeast rep for Arc'Teryx, Salomon and JetBoil among others, is the proud papa of a bouncing baby boy born Dec. 3. Conrad Clayton Kramer was born with a full head of hair (unlike his Dad!) and weighed in at 6 pounds and 10 ounces.
>> Nate Smith is joining LRI Inc., an LED flashlight company, as director of sales. He will join the Blachly, Ore.-based, company on Dec. 12. Phone 541-925-3741. Smith was most recently national sales manager for Sierra Designs.