Outdoor: Did you hear?…

Outdoor Retailer has indefinitly postponed its OutdoorPreview event, SmartWool launches advocacy program, Sportif's Kirsch and Willamson to pedal to raise money for FreeWheelin Foundation, 24 Hours of Climbing to benefit Thai rock climbing communities, Lynn Hill launching climbing camps, and much, much more...
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For the week of March 1-7

>> Outdoor Retailer has postponed its OutdoorPreview event -- a pre-show buying forum for apparel manufacturers and retailers -- scheduled for June 7-9 in Chicago until further notice. As we reported on Nov. 29, 2004 (See SNEWS® story: "Outdoor Retailer to host June pre-show for apparel companies and retailers"), Outdoor Retailer had created the invite-only event to address the apparel businesses' concerns that Summer Market is too late in the buy-sell cycle to be meaningful. "This is intended as a working event, not a trade show," Peter Devin, Outdoor Group director, told us in our interview last year. "We see this as a service model where retail buyers and apparel brands can meet to preview lines in 90-minute to four-hour appointments. Rather than the apparel companies or retailers flying all over the country in May and June which they are doing now, we hope this can perhaps alleviate some of that stress and expense by providing a consolidated time frame in the middle of the country to try and accomplish the same thing." The premise of the event was to invite up to 25 retailers along with 25 apparel brands for a three-day event held at a hotel in the Chicago area. Each manufacturer would pay approximately $10,000 to attend and for that receive a private hotel suite for showing its line, as well as meals. According to retailers we interviewed who had already been approached by Outdoor Retailer to gauge interest, their expenses would be paid. Devin said in a recent statement, "Our decision to postpone the OutdoorPreview is based on what we learned through many conversations with the market over the past three months. The fact is there are many differing needs and objectives occurring during this buy/sell cycle and we'd like to do some additional homework to address those needs." He added that Outdoor Retailer would continue discussions with manufacturers and retailers about future timing, scheduling and operational details. SNEWS® View: You have to give Outdoor Retailer credit for introducing an out-of-the-box idea. Unfortunately, it didn't fully address apparel manufacturers' needs for an earlier Summer Market to help with lead times. Without support from Outdoor Industry Association and manufacturer concerns over the quality of retailers attending, it's little wonder that the preview event has been postponed until further notice. Bottom line, Summer Market needs to move to an earlier time frame.

>> SmartWool is launching the SmartWool Advocacy Program with two separate funds using different funding mechanisms. Awarded semi-annually, grants range from $500 to $5,000 and are available to qualifying non-profit organizations through the SmartWool Advocacy Fund or the SmartWool Breast Cancer Fund. The SmartWool Advocacy Fund will help organizations that identify most closely with important areas of interest reflecting the SmartWool brand, including promoting environmental stewardship; promoting active, healthy lifestyle choices for youth; and encouraging responsible outdoor activity participation. The SmartWool Advocacy Fund will be financed by 10 percent of net revenues of online sales from SmartWool's new e-commerce website at www.smartwool.com. With one of the original founders of SmartWool a breast cancer survivor and advocate, the SmartWool Breast Cancer Fund will allow the company to give to the many organizations dedicated to this cause. Grants will be given to those who promote breast cancer prevention awareness and education; utilize environmentally friendly activities in the outdoors to raise money for breast cancer research; and support families of women battling breast cancer and/or the families who have lost a loved one to breast cancer. The SmartWool Breast Cancer Fund will be financed by 2 percent of net revenue of select SmartWool women's-specific socks. Administration and execution of the SmartWool Advocacy Program will be handled by a board of SmartWool employees, elected by their peers. Also, all SmartWool employees will be awarded a new benefit, enabling each to volunteer as many as 20 paid hours per year to help local non-profit organizations. For grant guidelines and applications, go to www.smartwool.com/advocacy.

>> Reno's FreeWheelin Foundation, co-founded by Sportif owners John Kirsch and Tom Williamson, will take part in "America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride" event presented by Bike The West organization and ride around Lake Tahoe to raise money to provide adaptive sports equipment and experiences for mobility impaired children and adults. The FreeWheelin Foundation is a non-profit organization that assists mobility impaired children and adults to be able to participate in athletic activities. Kirsch and Williamson founded the organization after Kirsch suffered a spinal cord injury one year ago that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Since its inception, the FreeWheelin Foundation has purchased three all-sport wheelchairs for a Reno wheelchair basketball team, sponsored Candace Cable in her effort to become the first female adaptive athlete to complete in the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon, purchased 12 Invacare handcyles for local mobility impaired individuals, sponsored a local ski athlete who will be competing in the National Adaptive Ski Championship in 2005 and hosted an adaptive cycle clinic that introduced handcycling to 30 Truckee Meadows residents. This year's ride will be June 5 and participants will have the option of riding a 35-mile, 72-mile or 100-mile route around Lake Tahoe. Participants can register online at www.bikethewest.com and riders are asked for a minimum donation of $150 to the FreeWheelin Foundation. To become a team rider for the FreeWheelin Foundation, please contact Tom Williamson at tom@sportif.com. Last year, the FreeWheelin Foundation raised more than $55,000 during its inaugural Lake Tahoe bike ride benefit.

>> The first-ever 24 Hours of Climbing fund-raiser is being held to benefit the Thailand rock climbing communities impacted by the late December tsunami in Asia. Hosted at the Vertical World climbing gym in Redmond, Wash., the 24-hour event will involve two or four-member teams of friends, colleagues and families raising donations through pledges for climbing the most vertical feet in a 24-hour period on April 22-23. Creative that care is sponsoring the event and funds will support the Thai rock climbing community, providing as much assistance as possible. Donatiosn will be dispersed through direct-aid groups including Rally for Railay, Phi Phi Releve-Toi, and Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs. For more information on the 24 Hours of Climbing, or to make a donation, contact Blake Lewis at 425-649-5289 or at flannel1@earthlink.net.

>> Hey, wanna be in a movie? If you're snowboarder, you may be wondering why you were the only one the slopes the past couple of days, and why none of your friends are returning your calls. Well, here's a news flash -- your crew's probably in Steamboat, Colo., vying for a chance to be movie stars. This week Red Sky Pictures and SnoCountry are in Steamboat filming a snowboarding documentary titled "SnoBlind." The filmmakers are searching for riders of all ages, including professional competitors, industry folks and average, everyday riders to star in the film covering the history, culture and lifestyle of snowboarding. According to a press release, "This film will follow several young competitors that are on the brink of success, and the lengths they will go to win. It will also document the everyday enthusiast, the top pros in the world, the most extreme riders, the marketers, manufacturers, and the passion behind all of them." In addition to Steamboat, there will be filming in Alaska, Canada, Europe and "destinations unknown." For your shot at the silver screen, send raw footage of yourself pulling a nutty trick -- we don't know… leaping over a 1978 Cadillac Deville or something -- to Red Sky Pictures talent scout Karen Shamus (Karen@aarra.com). And then boogie out to Steamboat, find your friends, and pummel them for leaving you behind.

>> Who says dreams don't come true? Lynn Hill is making hers happen as she prepares to launch six comprehensive climbing camps starting next month. With support from Petzl, Beal, Patagonia, La Sportiva, Moab Desert Adventures, Sierra Mountaineering and Climbing Magazine, Hill's five-day camps will celebrate the climbing lifestyle and help participants achieve a new level in their climbing. Hill will coach participants, demonstrate various types of climbing techniques, explain the process of problem solving, mental strategies, as well as give individual feedback through video analysis. Craig Luebben and Naomi Guy will also be on-hand to help out, with the possibility of surprise appearances by notable climbers. Camping logistics and supplies will be handled to provide a seamless, safari-style experience, and all meals will be prepared by a professional chef. The camp schedule is: Bishop, Calif., April 4-8; Moab, Utah, May 16-20; Eldorado Canyon, Colo., June 6-10; Vedauwoo, Wyo., July 11-15; New River Gorge, W.Va., Oct. 10-14; and Smith Rock, Ore., Oct. 31-Nov. 4. For more information, contact: naomi@lynnhillclimbs.com, 720-422-5755. Or visit www.lynnhillclimbs.com.

>> Mountain Safety Research's Lightning Ascent snowshoe is being given the Design Distinction Award in the consume products category by I.D. Magazine, a leading magazine covering the art, business and culture of design. Published since 1954, I.D.'s Annual Design Review, juried by design-recognition programs, showcases the best American and international designs in the areas of consumer products, furniture, equipment, environments, packaging, graphics, concepts and student projects. The award will be featured in the magazine's upcoming July/August 2005 issue.

>> Trail Runner Magazine released the 2005 Trail Runner Trophy Series final race schedule and expects more than 34,000 runners to participate this year. Sponsored by La Sportiva, the Trophy Series is a points-based competition with two categories: marathon and shorter distances, and ultra distances. The series features three national trail championship events: The Headlands 50K National Trail Championship (Aug. 27, Sausalito, Calif.); White River 50-Mile National Trail Championship (July 30, Crystal Mountain, Wash.); and Mohican 100-Mile National Trail Championship (June 18 in Loudonville, Ohio). It will also have three qualifying races for the 2005 Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team: The Northfield Mountain Run (June 25, Northfield, N.H.); WORS Devil's Run (July 16, Merrimac, Wis.); and Mt. Cranmore Hill Climb (Aug. 7, North Conway, N.H.). For a complete schedule, visit www.trailrunnermag.com.

>> Fast Company took on massive task trying to find the most innovative company in America. After looking at companies with criteria that included a long history of innovation, proof of sustained inventiveness through technological and economic change, and adeptness at product innovation as well as process innovation, the magazine dubbed W.L. Gore & Associates the most innovative. It featured the company's roots and culture in the article "The Fabric of Creativity" -- click here to read.

>> As part of the Thule Envoy program, Thule has hired Ben "Benny" Cruickshank as its new western technical representative, responsible for attending and assisting in-store training sessions, retailer sales events, and outdoor-related consumer events. Cruickshank's background includes Rocky Mounts, MontBell, and Inside Communications, the publisher of VeloNews, Ski Racing and Inside Triathlon magazines. He'll be based from his home in Boulder, Colo. A complete schedule of Western and Southeastern Thule Envoy events is available at www.thule.com.

>> Sean Leslie has left the editorial confines of National Geographic Adventure Magazine to join Base Camp Communications, an adventure sports and travel PR firm in Jackson, Wyo. He's available at sleslie@base-camp1.com and 307-734-7575.

>> Arc'Teryx recently promoted some key players on its team. Designer Tom Fayle has been promoted to director of product design. Janice Larsen has been named director of product engineering. Lance Richardson, formerly the director of product planning, shifts to the newly created position of director of business development. Darcy Mercier has been promoted to director of manufacturing from production manager. In other staffing news, Josephine Lin has been promoted to factory manager, Susan Daniels has been promoted to assistant factory manager, Ming Liang shifts to hardgoods product manager, and Calum Davidson has been promoted to planning manager.

>> Lowe Alpine has hired Noel Sperry of Sperry Sales Associates as its Mid-Atlantic sales rep, handling New York, New jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and North Virginia. He is available at 215-848-9910.

>> Kinesys Performance Sunscreen plans to come on strong in the U.S. market, hiring 27 new sales reps. After a comprehensive review and extensive search, CEO Jeff Kletter said he handpicked the reps for their experience, knowledge and performance in each of the company's key business segments, including outdoor, sporting goods, snowsport, bike and golf industries. For a list of reps and their territories, call 877-KINESYS.

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