Outdoor: Did you hear?…

SIA.06 is sold out to exhibitors, Athans leads Sight to Summit expedition, 15th Potomac Whitewater Festival has been redesigned, Volkswagen and Sports Illustrated continue sponsorship of Teva Mountain Games, Teva is creating sandals for -- and we're not kidding -- elephants, and much, much more.
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For the week of March 29-April 4

>> For the second year in a row, the SIA.06 SnowSports Show is officially sold out, according to SnowSports Industries America (SIA). To date, more than 320,000 square feet has been sold with exhibitors on tap to showcase more than 750 brands at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Jan 23-26, 2006. The wait list already has 24 companies on it. "Selling out the floor space for the second consecutive year confirms that the SIA SnowSports Show works as a preview show and the industry has adapted to making this show the premier snowsports event in North America," said David Ingemie, president of SIA. SIA said the show will showcase some of the top brand names representing a cross section of the entire wintersports industry including: 4FRNT, Armada, Burton, Cloudveil, Coal Headwear, DaKine, Erin Snow, Fischer, K2, Level Gloves, Line, Mountain Hardwear, Orage, Patagonia, Ride, Rome, Rossignol, Salomon/Bonfire, Section, Sessions, Siver Cartel, Tubbs Snowshoes, Volcom and more. It added that its new exhibitors include industry newcomers and veterans such as Baseline, Hayes Brothers Snowboards, Kenyon Consumer Products, Life-Link and Yakima. "With a flat market, it is exciting that the SIA SnowSports Show provides a place for new exhibitors to come and debut their products," said Bob Olson, owner of Viking Ski Shop. "The SIA Show provides the best place to see all the products as well as learn about new products and innovations from industry veterans and newcomers. " The official floorplan will be available on July 1 and continue to segregate companies by alpine, snowboard, accessories and apparel categories.

>> Pete Athans is leading a team of climbers to Nepal not just to climb three Himalayan peaks but also to participate in a mission to help hundreds of people regain their sight. Sponsored by The North Face, Athans' Sight to Summit expedition has teamed up with Dr. Geoff Tabin, a corneal surgeon from Vermont and the co-director of the Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP), to assist with two HCP eye "camps" in remote villages in Nepal's outback with the goal of restoring sight to nearly 450 people suffering from cataract blindness. After the camps have been completed, the expedition will travel north to climb Numbur (6,900 meters), Khatang (6,800 meters), and Karyolang (6,500 meters). The Himalayan Cataract Project works to eradicate preventable and curable blindness in mountainous Asia through high quality ophthalmic care and education. In conjunction with the Tilganga Eye Centre in Kathmandu, these partner organizations are establishing a world-class eye care infrastructure in the region. Athans' Sight to Summit team will assist Tabin and Nepalese Dr. Sanduk Ruit with eye camps in Jiri and Phaplu by collaborating with local volunteers, preparing patients for surgery and assisting with post-operative patient care. Athans has assembled a team of The North Face climbers that includes Conrad Anker, Jordan Campbell, Kevin Thaw and Abby Watkins. Also part of the team are filmmaker Michael Brown and cinematographers David D'Angelo and John Griber of Serac Adventure Films who will be producing a film about the expedition. In addition to sponsoring the expedition, The North Face is also donating $100 toward the Himalayan Cataract Project and its programs for every 1,000 vertical feet climbed by each Sight to Summit team member. The expedition will take place from April 12 to May 17.

>> The 15th annual Potomac Whitewater Festival, a fund-raising event for American Whitewater, has been redesigned to encourage new participation by the Washington, D.C., community, and feature a new format, which will be easier for novice paddlers and offer spectators a better view. And with its new July 15-16 dates, organizers are hoping to draw more attendees as it moves away from the crowded spring calendar. Among the festivities are clinics for beginner whitewater paddlers and touring kayakers, events for experienced paddlers that include freeriding, squirt boating and the Great Falls Race, which has been cancelled in recent years due to high spring water levels. There will also be a kickoff party at Carderock on the Maryland side of the Potomac in C&O Canal National Park and a banquet at Rockwood Manor. For more information, contact Rob Terry at 301-807-1515, rmterry32@hotmail.com or Risa Shimoda at 301-585-4677, risa@theshimodagroup.com.

>> Volkswagen of America and Sports Illustrated have extended their sponsorship of the Teva Mountain Games through 2006. Once again, Volkswagen will be the presenting sponsor and Sports Illustrated will be the official media partner of the adventure sports, art and music festival, where more than 1,500 outdoor athletes will compete for $60,000 in prizes. Along with Teva continuing its title sponsorship, Gore-Tex will return as sponsor of the interactive Gore-Tex Gear Town. Among the new highlights at this year's games -- which is expected to draw 25,000 spectators -- is the naming of the June 4 trail running race as the Gore-Tex USA National Trail Running Championships by the U.S. Track & Field Association. Also new this year is a 5K fun run -- the Teva X-1 Mud Run -- featuring a huge mud bog for runners to race through. In addition to live music, the new Everest Awards will recognize and award the year's best outdoor and adventure athletes, photographs, films and videos. Other event partners include General Nutrition Centers, GoLite, Coors, Franciscan Estate Wines and Nature Valley. The games run from June 1-5. Registration for all the competitions is now available online at www.tevamountaingames.com. For more information, contact event organizer Joel Heath at Untraditional Marketing, 970-477-0111, ext. 11, or heath@untradtional.com.

>> On March 28, Brendan O'Neil of Jackson Hole, Wyo., took first place at the Marmot North American Ski Mountaineering Championship -- the culmination of the 2005 Mountain Hardwear/Life-Link/Dynafit Randonnee Rally Race Series. With over 6,000 feet of vertical uphill and 6,000 feet of downhill to conquer, O'Neil, a member of the Atomic/Patagonia Race Team, completed the course in two hours and 47 seconds, which included a hike up and out of Corbet's Couloir and then a fast 4,000-foot descent to the bottom of the mountain. O'Neil was five minutes ahead of the rest of the field, but the next six finishers crossed the finish line within six minutes of each other. Coming in second and third place, respectively, were Cary Smith of Jackson Hole and Pete Swenson of Boulder, Colo. Manuel Perez and Javier Martin from the Spanish World Cup team actually finished ahead of O'Neil, but international rules state only a North American can win the North American Championship. In the women's race division, Jeannie Wall of Bozeman, Mont., and a member of the Atomic/Patagonia Race Team, finished first in a time of two hours, 18 minutes, and also won all three series races that she entered. Emma Roca of the Spanish team finished in a time of two hours, 28 minutes, but, again, because of international rules could not step up to the podium. Coming in second place was Monique Merrill of Boulder, Colo., and third place was Polly Samuels-McLean of Park City, Utah. The Mountain Hardwear/Life-Link/Dynafit Series Championship saw Chris Kroger of the Atomic/Patagonia team and the Jackson Hole Ski Patrol crowned the overall champion with 114.5 points, Mark Santurbane of Salt Lake City took second with 99 points and Pete Swensen took third with 98 points. Sanctioned by the U.S. Ski Mountaineering Association, the race series benefits local search and rescue groups and or local avalanche forecasting centers. Sponsors of the series are Mountain Hardwear, Life-Link/Dynafit, Marmot, Outdoor Research, Arc'Teryx, Petzl, Ibex, Suunto, Couloir Magazine, Backcountry Magazine, Off Piste Magazine, Buff Headwear, Clif Bar, Adventure Medical Kits, Crazy Creek, Honey Stinger, Croakies, McNett ReviveX, Red Bull, Grand Teton Brewery, The Escape Route, The Alpineer, Mammoth Mountaineering Supply and Pro Ski Service.

>> After hundreds of R&D hours, Teva has come up with the ultimate high-performance sports footwear for…elephants. When the call from the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn., came in, Barry McGeough, Teva's senior director of product and development, found a project he couldn't refuse. It seems Tina, a 34-year-old Asian elephant at the sanctuary, was suffering from a severe foot condition and needed a lightweight, breathable shoe to allow her to roam her habitat area free of pain and discomfort. "We knew it was something incredibly worthwhile. Given the rigors of business, it would have been easy to say we were too busy, but sometimes you need to say yes," McGeough said. "From there, it was an incredible educational experience. Hundreds of hours later, we had the first wearable high performance sports footwear for elephants." From conception to completion, the entire process took nine months. Teva used components from Brock, Vibram, Ducksan and Ancra, donating all its time and services to the sanctuary. Unfortunately, the shoes were finished just a few weeks too late for Tina who passed away due to heart problems. The sanctuary said it believes that her foot ailments were a symptom of he heart condition. Teva still plowed forward to ensure that other elephants that suffer from this ailment would benefit and tested the footwear on Tina's companion Tarra, a 31-year-old African elephant. So far, seven additional pairs and 15 replaceable insoles have been donated to the Elephant Sanctuary to help other residences live a more comfortable life.

>> Mountain Hardwear high-altitude athlete Ed Viesturs, along with Finnish mountaineer Viekka Gustafsson, and photojournalist Jimmy Chin recently started their expedition to Cho Oyo which will allow them to acclimatize for a rapid alpine style attempt of Annapurna. If Viesturs successfully summits Annapurna, he will become the first American to climb all 14 of the world's 8,000-meter peaks, an endeavor which he began in 1989. In addition to becoming the first American, Viesturs will have summitted each peak without the use of supplemental oxygen.

>> The Timberland Company promoted Jay Steere, Keith Denny and Rob Koenen to vice president positions. Jay Steere has been promoted to vice president of global product management for Timberland's outdoor performance business. Steere has been with Timberland for nearly 20 years, serving in a variety of marketing, sales, brand management and product management functions before becoming director of outdoor performance in 2003. Keith Denny has been promoted to vice president of global product management for Timberland's boot business. Previously with Nike, Denny joined Timberland in 2003 as the senior category director for the kids business, and was most recently the global category director for Timberland's kids and youth footwear business. Rob Koenen has been named vice president of global product management for Timberland's men's and kids suburban business. In 2001, Koenen joined Timberland as the senior category director for the men’s casual business and, most recently, assumed responsibility for the design and product management team for Timberland’s kids suburban business. He has also worked Benetton SportsSystem and Rollerblade. Also, Timberland announced the creation of all outdoor performance business as a distinct segment within the company. "By bringing together product management, sales and marketing functions for Timberland's outdoor performance business, we create efficiencies, shared accountabilities and a stronger capability for our outdoor performance line to authenticate and contemporize the Timberland brand," Gary Smith, senior vice president and general manager of outdoor performance, said.

>> David Bushnell, who built the Bushnell Optical Corp. from a tiny Pasadena-based mail-order business into the country's leading binoculars brand, died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at his home in Laguna Beach, Calif., on March 31. He was 91. Bushnell bought his first two cases of binoculars in 1947 on an around-the-world trip, eventually growing it into a business that commands 56 percent of the U.S. binocular market, according to company representatives. After being acquired by Bausch & Lomb in 1972, the company moved to San Dimas, Calif., in 1986 and later to Kansas. After a brief period of ownership by Worldwide Sports & Recreation, it was bought by Wind Point Partners of Chicago in1999. Bushnell is survived by his wife, four children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

>> White Sierra has hired Peak Sports to rep its Central territory. Peak Sports' sales reps Chip Webster and George Knaggs also handle Nike, Thule, Mavic, Hobie, Ritchie, Clif Bar and MTI. They recently represented the now-defunct Allegheny Trail where they were a top agency opening the most new accounts. Webster and Knaggs will cover Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri.

>> U.S. Olympic Bronze Medalist Bobby Julich is CamelBak's newest ambassador just in time for the 2005 cycling season. Julich will be a spokesperson for CamelBak, meeting retailers, industry professionals and the media, and provide product feedback. Camelbak said Julich is one of road cycling's first to utilize a hydration system other than the typical plastic water bottle. In both the 2004 Tour de France and Olympics time trials, Julich wore CamelBak's RaceVest under his skin suit with the hose and bite valve punched through the skin suit.

>> LaCrosse Footwear recently announced additions to its management team: Gary Rebello as the vice president of human resources, Erron Sorensen as the director of marketing, Dave Strouse as the new vice president of product development, apparel and accessories, and Aaron Atkinson as the corporate controller.

>> Nancy Coulter-Parker, editor-in-chief of Hooked on the Outdoors magazine, gave birth to a baby boy on March 4 -- Kai William Parker. She said, "The nurses declared that he had huge hands and feet, so I'm guessing I have a basketball player or something of the sort on my hands." Doug Schnitzphan is handling day-to-day at the magazine while Coulter-Parker has time with her new baby.

>> Ever on the growth warpath, Cabela's is set to open two stores in Texas this summer -- one in Fort Worth and the other in Buda outside Austin. More than 4 million visitors are expected at the 230,000-square-foot Fort Worth store each year, while the 185,000-square-foot store Buda store expects to draw 3.5 million, making the retail locations the No. 1 and No. 2 largest tourist attractions in the state. Each will employ 500 people.

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