Outdoor: Did you hear?...

Sign up for OIWC's annual ChillFest, Dagger sponsoring Girls at Play kayak clinics, W.L. Gore awards 2004 Shipton/Tilman grants, Montrail hires first European sales manager, plus much more....
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>> Get ready to chill out once again with the Outdoor Industries Women's Coalition (OIWC) at the non-profit's popular and annual ChillFest, this year from August 15-17 at the historic Wasatch Mountain Club Lodge at Brighton, Big Cottonwood Canyon. Women of our industry will have the opportunity to chill out, take a hike with a local herbalist, do some fly-fishing or rock climbing, or relax in the clear mountain air or enjoy a massage in the woods, or yoga or a soothing pedicure and manicure." Only 45 spaces are available, so women are encouraged to sign up soon. Registration is now open at www.oiwc.org. But don't chill out trying to decide -- first come, first to chill, as it were. The OIWC is a non-profit corporation focused on the mission of equipping women to achieve their success. The OIWC is sponsored at the Gold Plus level by REI. Gold level sponsors are W.L. Gore & Associates, Fox River and Mountain Hardwear. Silver level sponsors are Jansport, Exel, Tubbs Snowshoes, Karhu USA, Burton Snowboards, Stonewear Designs, Marmot, K2, The North Face, Black Diamond, Outdoor Mind, Columbia, Timberland and Polartec. For more information about ChillFest, contact Maile Buker at mai_buker@hotmail.com.

>> Dagger is sponsoring Girls at Play, a national series of kayaking clinics for women taking place this spring and summer, led by Anna Levesque, a member of Team D, Dagger Kayak's professional team. Designed to bring more women into kayaking in a supportive, relaxed environment, these free two-day clinics offer participants the opportunity to learn the basic skills of kayaking, how to outfit a boat, and how to recognize and correct common technique challenges specific to women. In addition, women can demo the latest Dagger kayaks, along with products from other sponsors such as Nike ACG water apparel, Shred Ready helmets and other gear companies. The Girls at Play clinics take place April through July at 11 locations throughout the United States. Dagger's support for the Girls at Play initiative will be complemented by Dagger's own consumer outreach program Paddle with the Pros, featuring Team D professional athletes, who will visit 34 locations in 2004. This year Paddler Magazine, Kayak Magazine and Nike ACG are supporting Dagger's Paddle with the Pros program. For more information on Girls at Play and to view a schedule of events, visit www.watergirlsatplay.com.

>> W.L. Gore has announced the 2004 Shipton/Tilman Grant recipients. Now in its 14th year, the Shipton/Tilman Grant awards up to $30,000 annually to adventurers planning small expeditions that reflect the philosophies of the late explorers Eric Shipton and H.W. "Bill" Tilman. This year four projects were chosen to receive financial contributions. $6,000 goes to an expedition by John Harlin III and Mark Jenkins to attempt the first ascents of Namla Karpo (6,316 m) and Lumbogangzegabo (6,542 m) near Lake Basong in eastern Tibet in October. It will be the first peaks climbed in this region, and only the second and third climbed in all of East Tibet. The lower valleys are populated by traditional Tibetans who have seen perhaps a dozen Westerners in their lives. This will be Harlan and Jenkins' second attempt on Namla Karpo since May 2002 when they were turned back by avalanche conditions at 17,200 feet. (SNEWS® View: Since Harlin writes for Backpacker and Jenkins writes for Outside, we trust the two infamously competitive magazines will see past their noses to allow both skilled journalists to publish stories of their experiences.) $7,385 goes to an expedition by the husband and wife team of John Mock and Kimberley O'Neil of Yosemite National Park, who plan to traverse, beginning in June, the length of Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor to the source of the Oxus River near the western base of the Wakhjir Pass. The team will then cross the Dilisang Pass to Misgar in the upper Hunza Valley of Pakistan's Northern Areas, a 300-mile trek on foot. $10,000 goes to an eight-man expedition, led by Dr. Alvin Hubbard of the University of Edinburgh, and will include an attempt at the first kayak circumnavigation of South Georgia's coastline. $6,000 goes to an October expedition by New Zealanders Sean Waters of Christchurch and Jo Kippax of Aukland to begin exploring the Lawa Valley in the Nyainqentanglha East ranges of south-east Tibet, a region that no climbers and very few trekkers have ever visited. The application deadline for the Shipton/Tilman Grant is March 1 of each year. A panel of independent judges meets annually in March to review all applications and looks for projects that exemplify the Shipton/Tilman philosophy, utilize simple and light alpine style, and align with the small team expeditionary philosophy. Each year between four and six teams receive a grant ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. For more information and applications, go to www.goretex.com.

>> Fischer Sports USA is practically giddy that America's top ranked cross-country skier, Kris Freeman, has chosen to race on the company's new Centrix Boots -- available to dealers this fall. Freeman, who also races on Fischer skis, has contracted to race on the new Fischer boots through the 2006 Olympic season. He joins World Cup Sprint Champions Margit Bjoergen and Tobias Fredrikson also on Centrix boots.

>> Thule has hired Chris Roberts as the southeastern Thule Envoy. Launched in 2003, the Thule Envoy program was created to promote dealer and consumer relations through hosting in-store training, assisting with retailer sales events, and attending outdoor-related events. Roberts will be based from his home in North Carolina and will report to Mike Moore, Thule western and southeastern zone manager. Roberts was most recently the store manager of Get:Outdoors (formerly Pro Canoe and Kayak) in Greensboro, N.C. Prior to working at Get:Outdoors, Roberts served for four years as the rotomolding manager at Confluence Watersports. A complete schedule of the outdoor-related events that the western and southeastern Thule Envoys will be attending will be posted on www.thule.com.

>> Rock River has decided to launch what the company has dubbed the "Outdoor Educators Discount Program" designed specifically for "those who educate, preserve and help others enjoy the great outdoors." Schools, environmental programs, outdoor recreational guides and activity instructors can now receive substantial discounts on Rock River pure adventure footwear via a group discount code provided by the company and activated on the Rock River's website www.rockriver.com. All groups or individuals interested in the Rock River Outdoor Educators Discount Program should contact Blake Grenier, e-business manager, by email at bgrenier@rockriver.com.

>> Montrail has hired Bruno De Muynck as the company's first European sales manager, effective immediately. De Muynck, who will be based out of Antwerp, Belgium, will take the lead role in Europe to develop the Montrail brand, penetrate key markets and coordinate marketing efforts. Since 1999, De Muynck, has worked for Five Ten Europe, both as sales manager, and for the last two years, as general manager. His areas of responsibility with Five Ten Europe included sales management, forecasting, market analysis, marketing and product development. De Muynck speaks five languages, and is active in climbing, trail running and is a certified canyoning guide. Montrail distributes its footwear internationally throughout Europe, the United Kingdom, Russia, Canada, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Montrail tells us that international sales accounted for 21 percent of the company's business, and increased 27 percent over sales in 2002. Sales in mainland Europe, the U.K. and Russia grew by more than 60 percent in 2003.

>> Rick Galas has joined the Manzella team as the company's new director of product development and marketing communications. Galas will be developing new products from both a technical and styling perspective, while streamlining the development process. On the marketing side, he will be focused on packaging and point of sale to support new products at retail. Galas will also be working to build the Manzella brand through collateral, trade show and event visibility.

>> Ruff Wear, the Bend, Ore.-based, manufacturer of gear for dogs, has expanded its European distribution. After seeing a year of steady growth and success with Denmark-based distributor Original Doggear in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Germany, Ruff Wear has decided to expand its distribution to include the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain and Ireland by using a second distributor, UK-based Canine Spirit. For more information on Original Doggear, visit www.hundens.net. For more information on Canine Spirit, visit www.canine-spirit.com.

>> Caviro USA, the company that oversees U.S. distribution of Buff Headwear, has signed on to be a supporting sponsor of the 2004 Muddy Buddy series races. In 2004, Muddy Buddy events will take place in Los Angeles, Denver, Boston, Chicago, San Jose, Calif., Richmond, Va., and Austin, Texas, between June and October. For specific race dates, visit www.muddybuddy.com. For more information about Buff, go to www.buffusa.com.

>> Life-Link Backcountry Travel, manufacturers of Life-Link backcountry gear and trekking poles and North American distributors of Dynafit alpine touring gear have hired Bert Hopp, president of Hopp Outdoors LLC, as the company's new sales rep for Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. Hopp's company also represents Boreal, Camp, Deuter, Kavu, Kahtoola, Moonstone, Mountain Surf, Gaia, Superfeet and Neosport.

>> Someone had too much fun plotting the little symbols used to identify the features of clothing in Hind's running and fitness 2004 catalog. Forget some technical lettering you can't decipher. Let's keep this simple. For women's sports bras, a single-dip ice cream cone signifies that it's good for low-impact activities, a double-dip is medium-impact, and a triple scoop is for high impact. Gender specification is with silly stick-figure-like faces, and we totally LOVE the stick figure for a relaxed fit. Never knew a stick figure could be this relaxed! Click here, and then click on the link to the Icon Guide to see the full line-up.

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