Outdoor: Did You Hear?...

News on military insoles, OIA's lobbying trip, Rollerblade goes to Tecnica, BITE moves offices, new website for doggie gear by Cascade Designs, Marmot adds European sales director, Internet cafe on Everest? Tubbs Snowshoes on the little screen, Bob Hall goes to Panoptx
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>> A recent study by the American College of Sports Medicine has identified one insole as being the most cushioned and best at preventing injuries in military boots: It is six millimeters of soft polyurethane foam attached to a stiffer, vinyl (foam) footbed with a raised heel. This type of insole demonstrated the greatest absorbency, was most effective in slowing the occurrence of peak impact force, and reduced the bend in the ankle during each step, which has been suggested to reduce Achilles tendon strain, according to the study in the March 2003 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (www.acsm.org). For the study, researchers looked at four different insoles, which were tested for stiffness after being mechanically degraded (equivalent to running 46 miles in them), struck to simulate running, worn by recruits in biomechanical testing, then tested to see how they affected various angles at joints. The study was done at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.

>> Mark your calendars for April 1 to 3 and book a trip to Washington, D.C., today to attend the Outdoor Industry Association's Capitol Summit. Representatives from SNEWS, Galyan's, REI, National Geographic Adventure, as well as companies represented by the OIA board will be there to do their part to work toward influencing legislation that affect the outdoor industry, including business, conservation and funding issues. The two-day event will include team lobbying opportunities with key members of Congress and the Bush administration, a briefing on physical fitness initiatives, and the opportunity to help save recreation programs inside the Conservation Trust Fund. In addition, participants will have an opportunity to meet with members of their congressional delegation and to help thank the industry's DC partners and friends at the Friends of the Outdoor Industry Reception, held at the National Geographic Society. For more information and to register, contact Karen Grannan at 303-444-3353, ext. 209, or kgrannan@outdoorindustry.org.

>> Adweek has announced that Outside magazine's creative director, Hannah McCaughey, and photography editor, Rob Haggart, have been awarded the Creative Team of the Year award. McCaughey and Haggart will be featured in Adweek and Photo District News and will be honored at a luncheon for the winners at the Four Seasons.

>> Good things come to those who wait. After a Canadian suitor for Rollerblade bowed out, Benetton's efforts to sell Rollerblade became more earnest. Our sources in Italy have confirmed that Benetton now has agreed to sell its Rollerblade division to the Tecnica group for Euro 20 million (USD $22 million), plus a share of sales during the first five years -- no word on what percentage of sales Benetton will receive. As you may recall, the Tecnica group, led by Gian Carlo Zanatta, bought Benetton's Nordica division in January, for Euro 38 million (USD $41.8 million). SNEWS View: Yet another fire sale for Benetton, with Benetton being the company getting burned. Consider that when Benetton acquired the company in 1994/1995, Rollerblade was hauling in between $300 million and $400 million in sales.

>> BITE Footwear has moved its offices from Preston, Wash., to Redmond, Wash. The new location, based just outside of Seattle, will allow BITE to house its business offices and warehouse in the same location. BITE can now be reached at: 7120 185th Ave. N.E., Redmond, WA 98062. Phone: 800-248-3465

>> If you fancy surfing the web with your favorite mutt hanging over your shoulders, he or she is going to be barking for joy at the latest product introduction and companion website from Cascade Designs -- www.campk9usa.com. Website highlights include "Company 'Paw'ticulars," "Sniff out a Store" and "Bark Back" -- there's even a place to sign up for "pup-dates" on new products and website additions. The new Camp K-9 Dog Beds and Trail Pads are made using Therma-a-Rest technology. Woof.

>> Andy Schimeck will become Marmot's Central European sales director on April 1 -- no foolin'. Andy is winding up his position as Central European brand manger with Haglöfs. His main responsibility at Marmot will be to maintain and grow the company's Central European business and develop new market opportunities.

>> It's not Starbucks, but who cares at 17,400 feet?! Word out of Katmandu, Nepal, is that Tsering Gyalzen, a Sherpa whose family owns a hotel at Namche village, hopes to open an Internet café that will be open during the spring and fall. This is no easy feat. To relay a signal, Gyalzen has to build a second hut in the Kalapathar area, about two hours by foot below the base camp, which will house satellite equipment and transmit data via radio signal to the café itself. This will be Gyalzen's second Internet café, as he currently operates a successful one in Namche that serves the needs of local villagers and thousands of foreign trekkers.

>> Ever been spritzed with sunscreen by a passionate man touting the benefits of sun protection at an Outdoor Retailer Summer Market or demo? That would be KINeSYS co-founder Jeff Kletter. Now he and his co-founder wife Josie have a new soldier in their non-stop promotion of sunscreen. Jett Kletter (you like that "J" family theme?) was born Feb. 3 and weighed in at 5 pounds, 5 ounces. Jeff was manning the KINeSYS booth at OR Winter Market when he got the call from Josie that she was ready to rock, so to speak -- more than two weeks early! Josie then proceeded to drive herself to the hospital, while Jeff scrambled to get out of Salt Lake City and back to the San Francisco Bay Area. He made it back, but -- darn -- missed the delivery. But all are healthy and congrats all the way around. You betcha all three will be at Summer Market!

>> REI has turned to SeaTab's PivotLink web-based business information software to provide useful merchandising and sales data and reports across the company, as well as for the retailer's 63 stores and strategic vendors. Bellevue, Wash.-based, SeaTab's PivotLink is designed to provide fast, easy and intuitive real-time information and reporting to internal corporate departments, such as finance, merchandising and marketing, as well as extending data to its retail operations and vendors. Current company's using PivotLink include Birkenstock, Foot Locker, REI, and Rossignol.

>> Tubbs Snowshoes will be featured in an upcoming episode of "Ed," the prime time hit television series on NBC. In the episode, scheduled to air on March 12, Ed's best friends, Mike (Josh Randall) and Nancy (Jana Hupp) go away to a bed and breakfast where they and several other guests of the inn go on a snowshoe trek. In addition to using Tubbs snowshoes, the characters will also be sporting Tubbs accessories such as Tubbs fleece hats and snowshoe poles. The added interest in snowshoeing has also resulted in record sales as Tubbs reported double digit gains in both January and February 2003 due in part to record-breaking snowfall in the Northeast, a key market for the near century-old Tubbs brand.

>> Panoptx named Bob Hall as its CEO just over a month ago. Hall has been in the outdoor industry for 26 years, working for established brands including Allegra, the Vuarnet-France distributor of premier sunglasses, Ride Snowboards, Inc., Smiley Hats, and Salomon North America. As CEO, Hall will oversee the growth of Panoptx as it moves into other categories, in particular snowsports, outdoor and marine. Panoptx is the dominant windless eyewear brand in the motorcycle industry and enjoys a long-term relationship with Harley-Davidson retailers.

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