Outdoor: Did you hear?…

3point5 training website launches makeover, BCM looking for volunteers for the upcoming summer season, Kelty making special packs for State Department to give to school-age children in 13 countries, AMK becomes corporate sponsor of National Trails Day, electronic payment for products surpasses use of checks for first time ever, and much more...
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For the week of March 15-21

>> 3point5 has given its website -- www.3point5.com -- a makeover. It's built an area called the "sales floor" to sell the incentives, brands on board and the ones coming up to the retail staff. In rebuilding the site, it said it is providing more information to give users more answers to their questions. New onboard is The North Face, launching its site for the spring/summer clinic season in three categories: camping equipment, Tekware and footwear. "3point5's business model allows us to reach different segments of the retail sales force, which is important because we are in many different parts of a retail operation. We also like that it is built for the outdoor category and strongly reflects our culture," said Sarah Gallagher, TNF's online manager. TNF is joining a community that has at least one participating company giving it the thumbs-up. Gary Fleming, marketing director for Head, said, "We are pleased with the first season's performance of our new site on 3point5. Head has had a 9 percent jump in sales so far, during a tough sales season, especially on the East Coast. 3point5 has definitely contributed to that increase in volume."

>> Big City Mountaineers (BCM) started the summer early by opening its 2005 program to volunteers as of March 15. With plans for the largest season in its 16-year history, BCM is seeking to fill over 150 volunteer spots in order to carry out its recreational mentoring program throughout the country during July and August. Trips are being planned with youth agency partners in various U.S. cities. BCM’s recreational mentoring program is a unique national model that is conducted exclusively by adult volunteers with a one-to-one adult to teen ratio in the backcountry. Although BCM’s eight-day trips are certainly physically challenging, it is the teens’ emotional journey that is the core of the experience. To learn more about volunteering to help lead one of these life-changing trips, go to www.bigcitymountaineers.org or contact BCM’s Volunteer Manager, Erin Sovick, at 303-271-9200, ext. 4 or esovick@bigcitymountaineers.org.

>> Kelty has signed a specialty contract with the U.S. State Department for the purchase of 110,000 Aspen daypacks, designed for light travel and school use. The packs will be filled with basic school supplies and distributed by the State Department to school-age children in Cambodia, Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Comoros, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Algeria, Thailand, Tunisia and Indonesia. Each of the daypacks will include an abridged version of the photographic book "America 24/7," a world map, and a variety of basic school supplies such as pencils, pens, rulers, and notebooks. The packs also will have a sewn-in tag reading "with the friendship of the people of the United States of America" in the country's native tongue.

>> Adventure Medical Kits has signed on as a corporate sponsor of the American Hiking Society's 2005 National Trails Day. Adventure Medical Kits is also offering retailers a 15 percent discount on its Day Tripper first-aid kit and donating $2 to the American Hiking Society for each kit purchased by retailers before March 31. Also, information about a special American Hiking Society membership offer will be included in specially labeled Mountain Series and Ultralight Series first-aid kits. For $25, applicants will receive a one-year membership, plus an annual subscription to American Hiker Magazine and Backpacker Magazine (a subscription value of $29). These kits will be available for sale to retailers March through June. Stores sponsoring National Trails Day events can contact Adventure Medical Kits for Safe Guide to Hiking pamphlets and trial sizes of Natrapel Plus, Ben's 30 and After Bite, while supplies last. Email jenn@adventuremedicalkits.com (East Coast) or maria@adventuremedicalkits.com (West Coast) to order the free pamphlets and samples for sponsoring events. Or call 510-261-7414. The 2005 National Trails Day (www.americanhiking.org/events/ntd) event will be on June 4 at nearly 1,000 sites across the United States.

>> Outerwear-maker Eider has signed on to outfit the Valdez Heli Camps guides in Alaska for the 2005/2006 season. Founded in 1995 by Matt White, Valdez Heli-Camps is the longest running commercial operation in Alaska and the only Alaskan operator to offer an all-inclusive helicopter and snowcat skiing experience.

>> Trails.com has launched a new website -- AllGetaways.com -- that allows self-guided travelers to create a weekend or extended vacation itinerary from guidebook content. AllGetaways.com offers members unlimited access to more than 10,000 detailed getaway travel itineraries from Fodor's, Rough Guides, The Globe Pequot Press, Falcon Publishing, Insiders' Guide, Hunter Publishing and Mobil Travel Guide guidebooks. Among the itineraries are weekend getaways, family getaways, romantic getaways, road trips, day trips, city walking tours, beach getaways, camping getaways, ski resorts and scenic drives in North America. Members can view and print guidebook chapters that highlight author-recommended activities, lodging, restaurants and popular attractions. Additional features include real-time weather, maps, traveler reviews and much more. New members receive a free 10-day trial on the annual subscription rate of $50.

>> According to the Federal Reserve, electronic payments, including debit and credit cards, surpassed checks for the first time ever last year. At Visa, debit card volume grew by almost 20 percent and eclipsed credit card transactions, the company reported. And, consumers are using credit cards for smaller amounts. Last year, more than 3 billion transactions were for under $5.

>> USA Triathlon has named Skip Gilbert as its executive director, leaving his position as the eastern advertising director for Outside Magazine. He has also worked with the Arena Football League, USA Swimming and U.S. Soccer. He will relocate from Connecticut to Colorado Springs in the next month. USA Triathlon's interim executive director, Mike Greer, will return to Lubbock, Texas, where he is the founder of the Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon and several other races. USA Triathlon (www.usatriathlon.org) is the national governing body for triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon and winter triathlon in the United States.

>> Teko Socks was the sole recipient this year of a Backpacker magazine 2005 Editors' Choice Green Award. Teko said its goal is to reach the ideals of sustainability and uses only ecologically sound high performance fibers and manufacturing processes, and recycled materials for packaging. It uses fibers made of recycled polyester, merino wool and organic cotton.

>> Investment bankers Nathan Pund and Robert Farinholt have joined Silver Steep Partners just a few short months after industry veteran Sally McCoy launched the specialty outdoor and active lifestyle financial advisory firm. According to McCoy, "Pund and Farinholt, formerly with RBC Capital Markets, bring years of Wall Street experience having advised on transactions together totaling approximately $5 billion during their careers. The team advised Mountain Hardwear on its sale to Columbia Sportswear and assisted Deckers Outdoor in raising approximately $100 million in capital." Silver Steep Partners provides financial advice regarding mergers, acquisitions and private capital placements exclusively to the specialty outdoor and active lifestyle markets and has offices located in Atlanta and San Francisco. For more information visit the firm’s website at www.silversteep.com.

>> G3 has hired Jimmy Rogers, P. Eng., as the company's manager of product development. Rogers is, according to G3, and avid outdoorsman and world traveler, and holds a bachelor of mechanical engineering from McGill University in Montreal, as well as an honors diploma of design specializing in industrial design from the Ontario College of Art and Design. For more information about G3 go to www.genuineguidegear.com.

>> They might have to start writing the names on offices doors in pencil.. Effective April 15, Gareth Richards will become the new vice president of sales for Mountainsmith. Richards takes over for Peter Novak who is leaving the Golden, Colo.-based Mountainsmith to become, yes, the director of sales for Kelty in nearby Boulder, Colo. That position opened up when Kenny Ballard was bumped upstairs to become president after Casey Sheahan left for Patagonia. Follow all that? Richards recently held the position of vice president of marketing for Lowe Alpine USA. Subsequent to his departure from Lowe, he relaunched Outdoor Prolink (www.outdoorprolink.com), a pro-deal purchase site that was dormant since Richard's days working with the dot-com casualty, Planet Outdoors. Richards tells SNEWS® that he will continue to own and operate Prolink.

>> Thule has appointed Tripp Wyckoff as its vice president of sales and service and Larry Hewett as western region sales manager, starting March 21. Wyckoff will oversee all sales and customer service activities for Thule, with all sales and customer marketing managers, including Hewett, reporting to him. Most recently Wyckoff was the managing director/general manager of Pedro's USA, a division of Swix Sports, where he led the sales, marketing, public relations, product development and purchasing. He has also headed Kryptonite's Global Action Sports Channels. Wyckoff will relocate to Thule's corporate headquarters in Seymour, Conn. Hewett spent over 18 years with Yakima and WaterMark where he most recently held the position of western director of sales. Hewett is the second former and widely respected WaterMark employee to join Thule in recent months, as Chris Dannewitz joined Thule as the vice president of business development in January. The cowboy hat-wearing Hewett will be working from his home in Arcata, Calif.

>> Congrats goes out to PR gal Coral Darby who just had her second little one, Brooke Darby -- "a beautiful little girl," says the beaming mom. In related news, and because Coral is now stepping back a bit, GoLite has just announced Coral’s replacement, Pat Smith with OnTarget Communications. According to GoLite, "Coral is impossible to replace, but Pat is super and brings some very unique and wonderful things to GoLite."

>> Osprey Packs has hired Stephen Barnes as the company's product development manager. For the past three years Barnes has served as Osprey's South Central sales representative, opening up several major dealers and resurrecting a dormant part of the U.S. for the company. Osprey Midwest sales representative, Kevin Cox and his associate, Jeff Heinrichs, will fill Barnes' position in the Southern territory. Cox's reach will now extend from the upper Midwest all the way through to Texas. At the same time, Osprey tells SNEWS® the company bids a fond farewell to Nathan Kuder who in his six years with the company served as customer service representative, production manager, design assistant, and for the past two years, as product development manager.

>> George Schneider, chairman of the board of LaCrosse Footwear, has passed away at the age of 82 after a brief illness. His son, Joseph Schneider is the CEO of LaCrosse. Richard Rosenthal will assume the duties of chairman, effective immediately. Schneider was well-known for his community service, an example he set for his children and his employees. In 1999, Schneider received the honor award from his Holiness, Pope John Paul II for his years of service to the Catholic Church.

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