Outdoor: Did you hear?…

PPA launches PaddlePro Business Evaluation Program, Allan Bard posthumously awarded Dagfinn Ragg honor, Canadian government delays PFD regulation, HighGear partners with Napster, Gore renews sponsorship of Winter Trails, Uber-rep Smoky Anderson wins Eagle Creek Australia trip, and much more...
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For the week of Dec. 14-20

>> Members of the Professional Paddlesports Association (PPA) looking for significant improvements in their business finances and operations are now able to enroll in the new PaddlePro Business Evaluation Programs — an exclusive, onsite peer evaluation program for members desiring to improve the efficiency and profitability of their business. With over 40 years of experience in recreation business management, PPA past-president Bruce Kerfoot will lead a two-person team of experts to review business operations from head to toe and offer recommendations on all aspects of a business including operations, risk management and financial controls. For more information on how to take advantage of this program, contact the PPA office at 703-451-3864 to schedule a time to discuss your interest in a PaddlePro evaluation and whether the program is right for a particular business.

>> The ballots have been counted and award coordinator Bob Woodward has contacted SNEWS® to let us know that the late Allan Bard will be posthumously awarded the Dagfinn Ragg Award for 2005. "What can I say that already hasn't been said about Bardini's great spirit? He was one of a kind and a great advocate of every aspect of the freeheel sports. For me personally, it completes a circle that began when I first met Allan and his brother Dale when they were high schoolers. A long friendship with both, and Allan in particular, developed which saw Allan visiting us in Bend and many fun days on skis in the Cascades," says Woodward. The award will be presented to Gary and Dale Bard at either SIA or Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.

>> HighGear has partnered with Napster? Indeed! And the promotion centers around HighGear's TrailAudio digital audio player designed specifically for outdoor entertainment. The partnership will include co-marketing activities centered on HighGear’s TrailAudio device. The TrailAudio packaging will be marked "Works with Napster", helping consumers understand that the Napster service and the HighGear device work together seamlessly. The free trial gives consumers one month of unlimited listening to the largest music catalog available online, access to 50 on-demand radio stations and all the community and music discovery features Napster has to offer — at no cost. As an added bonus, consumers receive a gift of five free tracks that can be burned to CD or transferred to the TrailAudio player.

>> Transport Canada generated quite an outcry from the Canadian paddlesport industry when word got out that it planned to change to the Small (Commercial) Vessel regulations, requiring all commercial, small-vessel operators to carry a life jacket for each passenger in their boat. The legislation would affect outfitters, guides and retailers as well. The flood of letters, phone calls and emails has caused the government to take a step back, thankfully. The issue is that the Canadian government defines a life jacket as a device that will right an unconscious person and keep them afloat, and includes everything from Mustang survival suits to the cumbersome life jackets that inhibit arm movement. The definition doesn’t include the PFDs now common in canoeing and kayaking. Victor Santos-Pedros, director of marine safety for Transport Canada, responded to the paddlesports industry with the following statement: "The majority of the comments were with respect to lack of wearability. A new lifejacket standard, which is in the final stages of approval, will bring to market small vessel lifejackets, both inflatable and inherently buoyant types with improved wearability characteristics. Although the current regulations require you to carry small-vessel or standard lifejackets when carrying a passenger on your kayak or canoe, Transport Canada has extended the date by which you must comply until December 2006. This will give us time to work with stakeholders to agree upon a specialized commercial paddlesport flotation device, just as we have done recently with the whitewater rafting industry, or to find some other solution to the concerns raised." The Canadian paddlesports industry will now work with Transport Canada to help create an equitable solution to this issue, and the Trade Association of Paddlesports (TAPS) will announce any changes as they occur. For more information, contact Nikki Rekman of North Water Paddlesports Equipment at 604-264-0820 or northwater@northwater.com.

>> W.L. Gore & Associates has renewed its sponsorship of Winter Trails (www.wintertrails.org), a free national program that introduces the public to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The program celebrates its 10th anniversary on January 8, 2005, with approximately 100 locations across North America hosting Winter Trails events. Nordic centers that are members of the Cross Country Ski Areas Association (CCSAA) will host the majority of sites for Winter Trails. Participating centers will offer snowshoeing and cross-country skiing demos as time and snow conditions allow. Winter Trails is a free one-day event geared towards families, hikers and fitness walkers, recreation enthusiasts, school groups and youth organizations who are interested in learning more about the sport of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Programs and activities will include the basics on getting started, how to dress, picking the right shoe, kids activities and more. Free guided hikes, tours and seminars will occur throughout the day at every event site location. Winter Trails is affiliated with SIA's Winter Feels Good public awareness campaign to promote the health, fitness and social benefits of snow sports. The www.winterfeelsgood.com Web site is the campaign's clearinghouse for information.

>> Original Buff Headwear has signed on to sponsor the 2004-2005 TeleFair telemark skiing and snowkiting series. TeleFair will take place at 12 locations throughout North America during the coming winter. The series promotes the sports of telemarking and snowkiting through low-cost clinics and free equipment demonstrations. TeleFair numbers indicate that 60 percent of participants in past years are new to the sport of telemarking and 10 percent are new to skiing. Last year, TeleFair drew more than 700 participants through seven two-day events, according to the organizers. This year, TeleFair clinics will cost $60. For more information on TeleFair, visit www.telefair.com.

>> The Sierra Club Foundation has received four stars, the highest rating, from Charity Navigator, a non-profit watchdog that ranks charities. In its 2004 ratings, Charity Navigator ranked The Sierra Club Foundation at the top of all three of its rating categories: effectiveness, organizational capacity, and overall. The Sierra Club Foundation is the highest rated national environmental charity, and third overall out of 202 environmental charities. It also is ranked eighth on Charity Navigator's list of "10 Slam Dunk Charities," described as ten charities which "are not only tops in terms of fiscal health, but also for respecting the rights of donors."

>> Bell Canoe is revamping its internal management structure. The announcement accompanied news of the departure of sales manager Craig Johnson in spring 2005. Effective immediately, John Woodruff Fleck has accepted a position as VP of sales and marketing and will oversee restructuring efforts. The company is currently interviewing candidates for its sales manager vacancy. Johnson has been with Bell since 1998 and is leaving to pursue a career in aviation — he is an avid pilot. Fleck will continue to handle day-to-day marketing issues and media relations.

>> Sport Obermeyer has promoted Barbara Owen to VP of sales and marketing, and Kathy Buzbee to VP of merchandising and design. Owen has been with the company since April of 1982. Buzbee has been with the company for more than 10 years, since March of 1994. In addition to her promotion to VP, Buzbee has also been invited to sit on the Board of Directors of Sport Obermeyer.

>> The Professional Paddlesports Association (PPA) confirmed new and continuing board members for 2005 during its membership meeting on December 2, 2004, in Savannah, Georgia. Mike Prom, owner of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters, Grand Marais, Minnesota, is the new PPA president for 2005 and continues to serve as the Northcentral regional director for the association. Ed Councill of Canoe Kentucky, Frankfort, Kentucky, now serves as past president and director at large. Mike Cichanowski, CEO of We-no-nah Canoe and Current Designs Kayak of Winona, Minnesota, is the associations’ vice president, and continues as the vendor representative to the board. Former Vice President Esther Sanborn of Adventures Unlimited Outdoor Center, Milton, Florida, moves to the position of PPA treasurer and continues as a director at large. Josh Gray of Mohican Adventures Canoe & Fun Center of Loudonville, Ohio, is the newly elected Mid-Central region director. Greg Knight of kayak retail and instruction center Aqua Adventures, San Diego, California, is the newly elected West region director. Rick Egedi, owner of Sheltowee Trace Outfitters, Whitley City, Kentucky, was re-elected as director-at-large. Continuing PPA board members include: Joe Feil, owner of Wolf River Canoe and Kayak in Long Beach, Mississippi, Southeast regional director and PPA secretary; Holly Anderson, owner Vanguard Inflatables, Arvada, Colorado, director at large; Walter Chadwick, owner, Waquoit Kayak, Waquoit, Massachusetts, Northeast director; Billy Wilken, owner, Teams2Go, McLean, Virginia, Mid-Atlantic director; and Pamela Dillon, executive director, American Canoe Association, Springfield, Virginia, cooperative director.

>> Smoky Anderson, principal of Smoky Anderson and Associates, has been named as Eagle Creek's "Representative of the Year" for 2004. Eagle Creek annually recognizes its top sales representatives for their individual commitment, sales success and focus on complete travel outfitting for diverse retail accounts. Chosen from a field of more than 30 sales representatives, Anderson, who covers the Rocky Mountains territory with associate Owen Dennehy, was chosen as the top representative for "his stalwart dedication to Eagle Creek and the outdoor industry for more than 27 years, as well as for his contributions to Eagle Creek's ongoing success." And for his reward, Eagle Creek is sending Anderson on a 10-day, all-inclusive adventure travel trip for two people to Australia. The Australian trip award, the first of its kind for Eagle Creek, was part of the company's combined retail and online "Outback Sweepstakes" last summer to introduce the new Eagle Creek Explorer series travel packs. In 2005, the leading sales representative for Eagle Creek will win a trip to Brazil.

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