Outdoor: Did you hear?...

Petzl raise $10K for Utah's Grand County, Black Diamond to offer guide scholarship, IMEC looking out for welfare of porters, REI to open another SoCal store, plus much more...
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>> Petzl, in partnership with Utah Open Lands, recently raised $10,000 in funding for land protection and preservation in Utah's Grand County. Petzl sponsored a special screening of the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Moab in an effort to raise awareness and support for Utah Open Lands, with 100 percent of the admissions going to the non-Utah Open Lands. The proceeds will help to protect and preserve a 530-acre area of Utah's Grand County that serves as a critical habitat for the Lasal Mountain Deer Herd.

>> Black Diamond Equipment has increased its support of the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA), and will now offer an annual scholarship for guides wishing to take an AMGA course or exam. The Black Diamond scholarship is an excellent opportunity for a guide to advance his or her career through AMGA certification. Black Diamond will provide full tuition toward any AMGA rock, alpine or ski mountaineering course or exam. The successful applicant must be an AMGA member, currently pursuing guiding as a profession, and boast a minimum of three years as a professional guide. He or she must also be currently enrolled and accepted into a scheduled 2004 AMGA course or exam.

>> The International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC), formerly the Himalayan Explorers Connection, is working with mountain guides and adventure travel companies to ensure that porters are properly clothed and cared for. The Porter Partnership Program, launched by the IMEC Porter Assistance Project in 2003, encourages adventure travel companies to adopt IMEC's Recommended Guidelines for Proper Porter Treatment and to educate travelers on social and environmental responsibility while traveling in developing nations. Partner companies are required to distribute educational materials to clients, promote the program on their websites and in their shops, and transport at least one bag of donated clothing per year to IMEC's Porter Clothing Banks in Nepal, Tanzania and IMEC's sister project operating in Peru. IMEC established the Porter Assistance Project in Nepal in 2000, opening a clothing bank to lend equipment to porters and providing English, health and safety classes. The program also conducts ongoing research to identify additional needs in the local porter population and promote sustainable travel. In late 2002, the project expanded to Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, and in 2003, IMEC began working with the Inka Porter Project (Porteadores Inka Ñan in the local Quechua language), a sister organization working on behalf of Peruvian porters. For more information, contact Amanda Daflos at amanda@hec.org or call 303-998-0101.

>> UNITED KINGDOM -- The Adventure Centre at Ratho, located on the outskirts of Edinburgh, has gone into receivership, only a few months after officially opening its doors in November 2003. Billed as the world's largest indoor climbing facility, the center was apparently way over budget on construction costs which soared to over $40 million USD. Despite a $2.2 million USD grant from SportScotland (the lottery), recently playing host to the climbing world cup, and being minutes from a large metropolitan area, the facility has failed to generate sufficient revenue to cover current costs which are currently estimated to be in the neighborhood of $37 million USD. The 120,000-square-foot complex boasts 100-foot climbing walls and a stretch fabric roof and houses, in addition to climbing walls, a retail shop and judo center. The Adventure Centre is said to represent the single largest investment in adventure sports in all of Europe. The receivers who took control of the business have stated that they are confident they will be able to find a buyer and that the jobs of the 78 employees are currently safe.

>> With the completed merger of The Sports Authority (NYSE: TSA) and Gart Sports Co. in August 2003, fourth quarter results for TSA more than doubled, representing the performance of the new consolidated company. Total sales for the 13 weeks ended Jan. 31, 2004, increased 125 percent to $712.0 million compared with $316.8 million in the prior year's fourth quarter as reported by the former Gart Sports on a stand-alone basis. Fourth quarter comparable store sales for the combined company increased 0.2 percent from last year's combined company results. Fourth quarter net income of $14.6 million, or $0.55 per diluted share, includes the effect of after-tax, merger integration costs of $13.7 million, or $0.52 per diluted share. Excluding merger integration costs, fourth quarter net income was $28.3 million, or $1.08 per diluted share, compared with $1.03 per diluted share in the prior year's quarter, as reported by the former Gart Sports on a stand-alone basis, and pro-forma combined net income for the prior year's quarter of $0.77 per diluted share. "We are pleased with our fourth quarter results given the on-going efforts to integrate the two companies," said Doug Morton, vice chairman and CEO of TSA. "Our results were primarily driven by strong sales in hunting, ski apparel, snowboards and footwear. We are also very encouraged with the initial results realized from the introduction of an enhanced offering of winter product in the northeast." Total sales for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 31, 2004, increased 67 percent to $1,760.4 million compared with $1,051.2 million in the prior year's 52 weeks as reported by the former Gart Sports on a stand-alone basis. Year-to-date comparable store sales decreased 0.7 percent, which represents a year-over-year comparison of the combined company results for the third and fourth quarters and the former Gart Sports on a stand-alone basis for the first six months. TSA opened six stores during the fourth quarter, for a total of 14 new stores in 2003. It also closed five former Sports Authority and two former Gart Sports stores during the quarter for a total number of stores in operation as of Jan. 31, 2004, of 384 stores. The company estimates FY2004 sales of $2.6 billion. For more information about this company or its financial reports, as well as to view stock prices updated every 15 minutes, visit the SNEWS® Stock Market Updates. Click on: www.snewsnet.com/cgi-bin/snews/stock_report.html.

>> REI plans to open a store in spring of 2005 in Huntington Beach, Calif., in the Bella Terra center at Edinger Avenue and Beach Boulevard. The 22,500-square-foot store will serve 45,000 active cooperative members in Orange County. The new construction store will be leased from the J.H. Snyder Company, the development manager for Huntington Center Associates. Bella Terra was formerly the Huntington Center. The renovation of the center into an open-air entertainment and lifestyle center began last year. The Huntington Beach store will be REI's sixth in the Los Angeles market. Other stores are located in Santa Ana, Arcadia, Manhattan Beach and Northridge. A store will open in Rancho Cucamonga in November 2004.The store will employ 50 full- and part-time staff.

>> Outside magazine has garnered two 2004 National Magazine Award nominations from the American Society of Magazine Editors. Outside has been chosen as a finalist in the categories of Leisure Interests and Photo Portfolio/Photo Essay, a new category. The finalists were chosen from among 1,393 entries by a panel of 190 judges.

>> On March 18, Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) reported third quarter (ended Feb. 29, 2004) revenues increased 21 percent to $2.9 billion vs. $2.4 billion for the same period last year. Third quarter net income totaled $200.3 million, or $0.74 per diluted share, compared to $124.7 million, or $0.47 per diluted share, in the prior year. During the third quarter, U.S. revenues increased 4 percent to $1.17 billion vs. $1.13 billion for the third quarter of 2003. U.S. athletic footwear revenues increased 1 percent to $772.8 million. Apparel revenues increased 7 percent to $329.3 million. Equipment revenues increased 13 percent to $67.4 million. Revenues for the European region (which includes the Middle East and Africa) grew 36 percent to $880.0 million, up from $645.8 million for the same period last year. Twenty-one points of this growth were the result of changes in currency exchange rates. Footwear revenues increased 48 percent to $537.7 million, apparel revenues increased 19 percent to $284.1 million and equipment revenues increased 34 percent to $58.2 million. Revenues in the Asia Pacific region grew 21 percent to $402.4 million compared to $331.6 million a year ago. Revenues in the Americas region increased 26 percent to $135.0 million, an improvement from $107.4 million in the third quarter of 2003. Nike reported worldwide futures orders for athletic footwear and apparel scheduled for delivery from March 2004 through July 2004, of $4.7 billion, 9.9 percent higher than such orders reported for the same period last year. Approximately four points of this growth were due to changes in currency exchange rates. For more information about this company or its financial reports, as well as to view stock prices updated every 15 minutes, visit the SNEWS® Stock Market Updates. Click on: www.snewsnet.com/cgi-bin/snews/stock_report.html.

>> UNITED KINGDOM -- Pittards, manufacturer of technically advanced leathers, realized an increase of 8 percent in net sales for the fiscal year ending December 2003, rising to $153,385,000 from $141,690,332 USD. The volume of finished leather sold for the year also increased 12.5 percent. However, because of the dollars weakness, and because of increased pension costs, Pittards reported a drop in profits from $3,592,000 to $1,796,000 USD. Pittards reports that Pittards leathers are currently being utilized by Adidas, Puma, Merrell, FootJoy, Nike, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, Cloudveil, Coach and others.

>> Five Ten has snagged John Connelly away from Zamberlan to join it as the company's international sales manager. For the past 20 years, Connelly has specialized in sales, marketing and category development for companies including Montrail/One Sport, Tecnica, Vasque and, most recently, Zamberlan. Connelly will be working out of his home in Bozeman, Mont. In related news, Five Ten will soon be debuting a brand new Stealth rubber compound that the company claims will redefine friction and performance.

>> The National Ski & Snowboard Retailers Association (NSSRA) has hired Roger Kahn as director of development for the association. Kahn will work with NSSRA to identify issues of interest to all retailers and represent these issues to the ski and snowboard industry as a whole. The NSSRA board has identified three critical issues for Kahn to begin his work, including assisting in adjusting the timing of the retail buying season, ensuring the preservation of a strong specialty ski and snowboard retail community, and growing the sports of skiing and snowboarding both in area visits as well as participants. Kahn will also work to increase NSSRA membership. Kahn was the owner of Porter's Ski & Sport, a small chain of ski and snowboard shops located at North Lake Tahoe, which he sold in 2002. During his 30-year ownership of Porter's, Kahn served on a number of industry panels and was a long-time executive board member of the Sports Specialists Ltd. buying group. Kahn can be reached via e-mail at kahnroger@hotmail.com.

>> Walden Kayaks has added two sales representatives to the Walden Kayaks team, Don Otey and Ethan Ebersold. Otey will represent Walden Kayaks in the Mid-Atlantic region including Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. Ebersold will represent Walden Kayaks along with his other lines, Eddyline Kayaks, Emotion Kayaks, Bell Canoe Works, Sawyer Paddles, Swift Paddles and Stohlquist Waterware in Oregon, Northern California, Washington, Idaho and Montana.

>> After 27 years with Malden Mills, executive vice president of sales and marketing, Cesar Aguilar, has resigned his position to "pursue other opportunities." Jim Allen, director of sales North America, will be assuming Aguilar's primary functions.

>> The National Ski Patrol (NSP) has hired Kyle Hanson as associate director of education programs for the association. Hanson's primary responsibilities will be enhancing NSP's Outdoor Emergency Care Program and promoting its use within the association and the outdoor industry in general, while Elizabeth Mason, education assistant, will continue to provide support for NSP's other education programs.

>> Jeff Rivest, co-founder of Riot Kayaks and president of Voodoo Technology Inc, parent company of Riot, Azul and Sun kayaks, has filled eight new positions at the company's head offices in Montreal. Normand Corbin, previously a 12-year veteran of Rossignol Skis and Snowboards, has been named Voodoo sales manager. Corbin will be working closely with new Riot Eastern U.S. Sales Manager John Lombardi, formerly a 13-year sales associate with Brunswick Corp., as Riot continues to expand its dealer network across the United States. TJ Walker is back with Riot as communications director after a three-year stint with ESPN X Games. Dorothy Newell and Linda Shaddock are new to Riot's customer service department. Ben Dargis has been promoted to the position of designer for Riot. Dargis will be working closely with Riot's team of pro paddlers in the development of new kayak designs. Pablo Rabado has been promoted to head shaper and Simon Martin has been appointed as Riot's new digital designer with the goal of getting prototypes onto the water more quickly.

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