Outdoor: Did you hear?...

Polartec Challenge announces 2004 winners, Patagonia joins ROI buying group, W.L. Gore named outerwear sponsor of Winter Feels Good, Ex Officio moves into new facility, plus much more...
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>> The Polartec Challenge has announced the winners of the Polartec Challenge for 2004. Winners for the coming year are Amy Bullard, leader of the Southern Patagonia Icecap Ski Traverse and climbs in the Cerro Moreno Group, and Dave Anderson, leader of the Long Walk Expedition. The Polartec Challenge grant program selects winners based on criteria that typically includes exploration of remote terrain in a frugal, low-impact style. Additionally, expeditions often embrace local culture, research scientific objectives and reach out to the human spirit of adventure. For more information on the Polartec Challenge, go to: http://polartec.com/pulse/challenge.php.

>> SWITZERLAND -- A new European testing standard for sleeping bags, EN 13537 -- 2002 "Requirements for Sleeping Bags" now defines how to measure and display the temperature ratings for sleeping bags, a standard which promises to change the sleeping bag industry -- at least in Europe. All manufacturers selling sleeping bags into Europe will have to comply with the standard by the end of 2004. In response to the new standard, Ajungilak, a part of the Mammut Sports Group, is offering a free publication to manufacturers, retailers and journalists titled, "Sleep Well -- A Review of the Temperature Standards for Sleeping Bags." The 40-page booklet is broken into the following segments: The Science behind Sleeping Bag Ratings, The Early History of Sleeping Bags, The History of Sleeping Bag Testing, Various Textile Tests and Thermal Manikin Tests, The Implications of the New Standard EN 13537 -- Requirements for Sleeping Bags, Comparisons between Various Standards, Practical Advice for Journalists, Retail Buyers and Consumers. Sleep Well Part 1 is available as a downloadable PDF file in English and German. We're told the PDF will be available for download from the Mammut site in March. To request the PDF sent to you before then, send an email to Michael Farnworth at mfarnworth@mammut.ch.

>> Cloudveil has managed to filter through over 15,000 entries to select the winner of its "Live Close To Your Dreams Sweepstakes," an all expenses paid, three-day ski trip to Jackson Hole. The winner, Jennifer Dionne of Detroit, Mich., will bring her husband Jason to Jackson Hole to enjoy a long weekend at the Snake River Lodge Hotel, skiing at the resort, a day of helicopter skiing and backcountry touring with Cloudveil founders Brian Cousins and Stephen Sullivan.

>> ROI (Retailers of the Outdoor Industry) is growing. Patagonia is coming on board effective for the fall 2004 selling season. This is the first time Patagonia has entered in to a relationship with a buying group, as the company preferred to remain independent during its 30-year history in the outdoor industry. Founded in 1995, ROI is a member-based organization with a primary goal of expanded customer service for retailers in the outdoor industry. David Matz is the president of ROI, and a former sales representative for Patagonia. Matz cites one of their first priorities for Patagonia will be implementation of an auto-replenishment system for the company's Capilene underwear category. In more growth news for ROI, two new retail members, Champaign Surplus of Champaign, Ill., and Massey's of Metairie, La., have come on board. And as if all that is not enough, ROI has a new website to check out at www.roi-usa.com.

>> Johnson Outdoors has revamped its website at www.johnsonoutdoors.com. According to Johnson's release, "Our commitment to being responsive to you, our current, and future customers, has brought about this website. Here you will find a community of others who share your passion for the outdoors. To make the site easy to use we have divided the information into the individual brand areas, which can be navigated to/from the Johnson Outdoors homepage. These individual brand areas contain information about our products as well as some related topics for your interactive fun. We want you to have as much fun indoors as you do outdoors."

>> W.L. Gore & Associates has joined SnowSports Industries America's (SIA) national consumer initiative, Winter Feels Good, as the official outerwear sponsor. Launched last September, Winter Feels Good -- www.winterfeelsgood.com -- is a national consumer awareness campaign designed to showcase the health and fitness benefits of winter sports. The first national event is SIA's Winter Trails Day, a free national snowshoe demo, taking place at multiple venues across the United States on Jan. 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

>> Zamberlan outdoor footwear in the United States has snagged Michael Burns, a seasoned player in the outdoor business, to service the brand's growing number of specialty retailers on the East Coast and further expand Zamberlan's dealer base. Additionally, Burns will collaborate with brand manager John Connelly in developing marketing programs to grow awareness and demand for the brand and to maximize sell through for its high-end products. Burns was one of the original North Face reps (back in the day), and has been sales manager for Patagonia, director of sales and marketing for the North Face, and vice president of sales and marketing for both Sweetwater and Mountainsmith. He's also been a professional training consultant for Learning International, facilitating courses for Fortune 500 companies. Initially, Burns will cover the eastern seaboard from his base in Charlottesville, Va. Burns will represent Zamberlan at the upcoming Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City and the EORA southeast show in Greenville, S.C. Burns can be contacted at: mikeb711@mindspring.com.

>> Two top New York advertising and design firms have been retained by distributor Arctic Edge LLC, Ridgefield, Conn., for the U.S. launch of 66ºNORTH (66northus.com), a 77-year-old outerwear company headquartered in Iceland. Assouline, Inc. (assouline.com) will direct the apparel company's advertising and marketing, with its first ad appearing in the winter issue of the New York Sports Clubs' Strong magazine. The New York creative agency and publishing firm is also creating collateral material with an Icelandic focus for the retail trade. Pompei A.D. (pompeiad.com), based in New York, is a multidisciplinary creative firm that specializes in the design of transformational environments for retail stores, museums, cultural centers, spas and upscale concept hotels. It's known for creating experiential space for retailers including Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Discovery Channel and Levi's. The firm will design trade show displays for 66ºNORTH, starting with a booth for Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. This will be the first showing of the line to outdoor specialty store buyers.

>> Osprey Packs has added Kevin Cox to the Osprey sales team. He will represent Osprey in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa and the upper peninsula of Michigan. Cox also represents Western Mountaineering, Cloudveil, McNett and St. Moritz in the upper Midwest. Kevin lives in Bozeman, Mont., and can be reached at: 406-585-0904 or alpexp@attglobal.net.

>> The Leisure Trends Group (LTG) has hired David Scott as director of business development. Most recently, he was vice president of commercial operations for Tamarack Resort, LLC, a year-round resort in Idaho with a $1.2 billion planned development cost and the first major destination ski resort to be opened in the United States in more than 20 years. In related news, The Leisure Trends Group recently signed three-year contracts with Snowsports Industries America, Outdoor Industry Association and the Outrigger Resort Group.

>> Bell Canoe Works has expanded its rep force. Paul Brittain of Synergy Outdoors has signed on as Bell Canoe Works' inaugural Canadian representative. Synergy Outdoors operates out of Ontario. His other lines include Watermark boats, Harmony accessories and AT Paddles. In addition, Minneapolis-based BP Associates will assume representation of the line in the Midwest. BP Associates' other lines include: Watermark boats, Harmony, Yakima, Pearl Izumi, Jansport and Cascade Designs.

>> Seattle Sports Company, a manufacturer and distributor of paddling, camping and car-top accessories, has retained Cathy Herbstler Public Relations to manage the company's public relations efforts.

>> Kim Willis has been appointed marketing director of Backpacker magazine. Willis was most recently director of marketing for Dennis Publishing's Maxim, where she was responsible for branding strategy as well as overseeing creative services for the magazine, which experienced significant growth during her tenure. SNEWS View: We can only hope the Maxim influence does not carry over and we all start to see more of Jon Dorn's naked backside in the magazine pages. Once was quite sufficient thank you.

>> Ex Officio is moving to a new larger facility in Tukwila, Wash. As of January 19, the Ex-O team will be operating out of a new 40,000-square-foot home. The facility enables Ex Officio to upgrade to state-of-the-art distribution systems and equipment. The location is also minutes from sea, air and freight terminals for added convenience. Ex Officio worked with a local Seattle architect to design a space with an innovative atmosphere that promotes communication and creativity. The location complements the active, outdoor lifestyle of the employees by being situated on a 30-mile bike trail next to the Duwamish/Green River waterway. This waterway offers kayaking and fishing opportunities for staff. Additionally, the facility will offer a workout room with showers and a southern exposure to help with those rainy Pacific Northwest days. Ex Officio's outlet store will remain in downtown Seattle at the current location. The new Ex Officio address is as follows: Ex Officio, Gateway North Corporate Park, 3314 South 116th Street, Tukwila, WA 98168.

>> La Sportiva has announced that Norman Pitts has jumped ship from Five Ten to become the company's new southeastern sales rep. Pitts will now be traipsing around the states of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, and Florida, spreading the love for La Sportiva. In addition, SNEWS has learned that former Five Ten sponsored athlete Tommy Caldwell has joined the La Sportiva team as a sponsored athlete.

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