Outdoor: Did you hear?…

American Consumer Satisfaction Index declines, Half of online purchases involve the use of a search engine according to DoubleClick, It's time to get down and dirty ladies as the Sugoi Dirt Series ramps up for 2005, and much more...
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For the week of Feb. 15-21

>> It's time to get down and dirty ladies as the Sugoi Dirt Series ramps up for 2005. The women's technical mountain bike camps started in British Columbia, and expanded east into Alberta, before making its first trips to the United States last year. Now, this year's program features 18 camps in two provinces and four states: British Columbia and Alberta in Canada, and Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California. The series offers personalized bike skills instruction and group rides flexible enough to accommodate beginners to expert riders, along with bike fit, gear demos, and maintenance sessions. Along with Sugoi's continued support as title sponsor for the third year, others supporting the cause are Rocky Mountain Bikes as the presenting sponsor (which means more bike demo opportunities for campers), and Fox Shox has joined PowerBar and Nokian as associate sponsors. Other sponsors include Syncros, Hoots, Deuter, Carrera Eyewear, Lake, Giro, WTB, Pedros, Timbuk2, Brave Soldier, Russell Athletics, Sole Custom Footbeds, Sleeman Breweries and Kicking Horse Coffee. The series runs from April to September. More details are at www.dirtseries.com.

>> La Sportiva has teamed up with Trail Runner Magazine to present the 2005 Trail
Runner Trophy Series featuring an all-expense-paid trip grand prize to the 2006 Dolomite Race in the Sky in Italy.
The trail-racing series features more than 130 races all over the United States and Canada between March 1 and Sept. 30, offering something for every type of trail-runner, in varying location. The grand prize winner isn't based on how first-place finishes but on how many Trophy Series races you finish. The winner will receive two roundtrip airline tickets: lodging for two in Italy's scenic Val di Fassa, entry fee for 2006 the Dolomite Sky Race, rental car for one week and two pairs of La Sportiva trail-running shoes. Celebrating its ninth year in 2006, the Dolomite Race in the Sky is an impressive high-mountain races with a course that travels along trails, mule tracks, scree and snowfields in the shadow of the world-renowned Dolomites. The Trail Runner Trophy Series also offers 18 other prize packages for series champions in ultra-distance and marathon and under categories provided by supporting Trail Runner Trophy Series sponsors. For more information on the 2005 Trail Runner Trophy Series and the Dolomite Race in the Sky, visit www.trailrunnermag.com and www.dolomiteskyrace.com.

>> Nikwax UK has promoted Chas Fisher to president of Nikwax N.A. and hired Tom Savelle as its national sales manager. Hired in 2004 as general manager for the wholly owned subsidiary of the UK parent company, Fisher has been the principle architect of Nikwax's brand revitalization in the North American markets. Formerly with Montrail, Savelle will oversee Nikwax’s sales program in the United States and Canada, and help the company expand into new markets.

>> Dennis Davidson has been named sales manager for Bell Canoe Works, replacing Craig Johnson. Davidson is an ACA open canoe instructor, a whitewater boater and president of the Minnesota Canoe Association. His past professional experience includes event coordinator for Friends of the Mississippi River and international sales manager for Fraser Papers. He starts March 1.

>> Paul Done, known for years as "the voice of Sugoi," has left the company to start his own marketing and communications business. The firm, called Epic Media (www.epicmedia.ca), will be a full-service full-service sports marketing and communications agency with primary services including media placement, communications, and brand strategy for run, bike tri and outdoor. With a past that includes journalism and sports management, Done tells SNEWS® he is "excited to get to work with all my friends out there in the business, and hopefully, I will still find time to train for some more marathons and mountain bike races." He can be reached at paul@epicmedia.ca or 604-644-5423.

>> Timbuk2 has a new address, just a block away from the old. Effective March 1, the new mailing address is 333 Alabama St., San Francisco, CA 94110. Phone -- 415-252-4300 or 888-846-2852 -- and fax -- 415-252-4303 or 888-846-2859 -- stay the same.

>> Fox River gave weary-footed Winter Market attendees the chance to win some papmpering as part of a makeover contest to show off its new packaging. Three daily winners received spa baskets from Bath & Body Works worth $200 and the grand prize winner received a three-day weekend, including airfare, at Mii amo, a destination spa at Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Ariz. Winners were: Jenny Corn from Riverat, an outdoor store in Twin Falls, Idaho; Amber Conlin from InLand Sports in Clinton, Utah; and Shelia Kappel from The Prepondress Store in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The grand prize winner was: Holly Aronson from Ames Outdoor Gear in Ames, Iowa.

>> After two years of improvements, the American Customer Satisfaction Index checked in at 73.6 in the final quarter of 2004, a 1 percent decline from the third quarter. Conducted quarterly by the University of Michigan, the American Society for Quality and CFI Group, the survey said retail trade scored a 72.6, a fall of 3.2 percent from the previous year and a 4.1 percent drop from the 75.7 baseline assigned to it when the overall index was created. The overall index, with a baseline of 100, was created in 1994 to measure consumer views about service in various industries. Producers of the index maintain that a drop in the ACSI retail trade number is a troubling sign for the economy. "It turns out that the modern consumer is almost insensitive to income and whether or not he has cash on hand because credit has been so available," said Claes Fornell, a business professor at the University of Michigan who leads the ACSI study. "So it seems to depend on, as far as we can tell, degree of satisfaction. If your satisfaction goes down, you may hesitate a bit more as a consumer, and in the aggregate that shows up as a reduction in spending, which directly affects economic growth."

>> National Geographic Kids Editor in Chief Melina Gerosa Bellows has been promoted to vice president of the Magazine Group. Since taking over the reins of the kid's magazine, circulation has nearly doubled to more than 1.3 million and advertising has become a major revenue stream. Ad pages were up more than 20 percent and advertising revenue up nearly 65 percent in 2004.

>> Jim Kern Sr., the founder of Big City Mountaineers, which provides inner-city kids with positive adult mentoring on wilderness trips, was recognized by Hooked On The Outdoors magazine as one of its "Outdoor Persons of the Year." Kern was among the top five, and Gary Erickson, the founder of Clif Bar, was named the winner of the second annual award.

>> Half of online purchases involve the use of a search engine, and online shoppers tend to search for products well in advance of purchases, according a study by DoubleClick. The "Search Before the Purchase" report, conducted by DoubleClick's search marketing division, Performics, along with comScore among 1.5 million Internet panelists, analyzed pre-purchase search activity across four categories: apparel, computer hardware, sports and fitness, and travel. The report said most shoppers search for products weeks in advance of making purchases, and those searches are often not brand specific, and brand names of online retailers were in the minority of purchase-related searches. The study found that search is almost as important for shoppers' research needs. Also, shoppers often shop around when searching, conducting multiple queries prior to buying something online. In regard to the categories it looked at, shoppers on fitness/sports sites conducted 2.5 relevant searches in the 12 weeks preceding a purchase, while apparel buyers made 4.7 searches, computer hardware buyers made 4.9, and travel buyers averaged six searches before pulling the trigger. While the majority of pre-purchase search involves generic terms, it appears that many online shoppers start broad and then get narrower as they proceed. Brand-specific searches and clicks become more prominent closer to purchases, DoubleClick said.

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