Outdoor: Did You Hear?...

Outdoor Retailer offer Wi-Fi, Toko acquires Yoko, Patagonia's Thomson joins Salomon, Forest team become firefighters, Clark named CEO of Watermark, REI gives $65k grant to AMC, AHS partners with Trails.com, Isis supports Breast Cancer fund...
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>> Hats off to the Outdoor Retailer trade show team! Though exact details are sketchy SNEWS has learned that as an added perk for qualified retailers (that means you have to have a retailer badge or no go), OR will offer free wireless access in the Retailer Lounge located in Meeting Room 251 of the Salt Palace Convention Center. Apparently, all other show attendees will be able to tap into wireless access too by visiting the Business Center and plunking down $30/day. The Business Center is in the same place as past shows on the upper level -- take a right past the magazine bins and keep going straight. SNEWS View: The first major perk of the Olympic games upgrade are being realized directly. The Salt Palace is wired and OR is working to be sure the industry is connected.

>> Toko, recognized as the second largest ski wax company in the world, has expanded its cross-country line by adding Yoko gloves and ski poles. Yoko's technology, styles and colors will be continued now under the Toko brand name.

>> Hal Thomson has left the Patagonia fold to join the Adidas-Salomon team in the newly established position of manager of public relations and communications for Salomon USA. Bryan Johnson, vice president of marketing for Salomon, told SNEWS that this is an evolutionary move for Salomon. "By bringing PR in house and hiring a well-known PR specialist in the outdoor marketplace, we gain an immediate opportunity to get closer to our media partners, the environmental community and the general business family. This is about taking PR to a next step that is based on internal relationships and leveraging all the possibilities. We have 110 folks inside the organization and Hal's job will be to connect more of them to the outside world." Thomson's new email is, Hal_Thomson@salomon-sports.com. Lu Setnicka continues to hold down the Patagonia communication fort.

>> Adam Forest and Adrienne Graf of The Forest Group have just started training as volunteer firefighters in Northern California's forested El Dorado County. If you see them dashing through the Outdoor Retailer show halls with fat hoses over their shoulder, don't worry, they're just getting some extra training in. They may even request a hotel room in a top floor so they run up and down with the aforementioned hose. OK, just kidding. Good luck to them!

>> GoLite has appointed Greg Kaiser as its new sales representative for the Southern California, Southern Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii territories. Kaiser owns Global Contacts, Inc., an independent sales agency based out of Encinitas, Calif. Kaiser can be reached at 760-944-9319; globalcontacts@compuserve.com.

>> Marty Grabijas has been promoted to the newly created position of vice president, sales and marketing for TravelChair. The new position will have Grabijas overseeing sales and marketing in all of the company's various distribution channels, as well as developing strategies and implementing tactics to open new distribution channels for the company.

>> We got a chuckle out of the announcement for a Gore Windstopper promotion at ispo. "Hostesses on the information stands at ispo will be outfitted this winter with functional soft shell jackets from Windstopper. Come what may, it seems the ispo personnel will be armed for any changes in weather!" Now this leaves the SNEWS team wondering -- just how much changeable weather are ispo and Gore expecting inside the trade show? We're thinking we'd better reevaluate our packing list.

>> John Rukavina has handed off the CEO title to Watermark's Jim Clark, the company's current president and COO. Rukavina will continue in the role of vice chairman of the board, remaining actively involved in strategic opportunities for the company. Clark told SNEWS that he's a one-title guy, and that the president and COO responsibilities will be assimilated into his new role as CEO. Clark started with WaterMark in 1998 as president of Perception. According to Clark, the move was Rukavina's decision and completes the ultimate company plan of one company with one vision. Under the new structure, all senior managers report to Clark now instead of being split between two leaders.

>> The Appalachian Mountain Club has received a $65,000 grant from Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) to support the club's Youth Opportunities Program (YOP), an initiative that helps engage young people in outdoor recreation and adventure. REI announced the grant with the awarding of a $35,000 check to AMC to help fund their ongoing core programming needs, as well as an additional contribution of $30,000 in new hiking and camping gear. Since 1968, YOP has reached more than 42,000 youth. The REI grant will help YOP serve 3,300 young people and 200 youth agencies throughout the Northeast this year, including more than 100 agencies in the greater Boston area.

>> Ultimate Direction, manufacturer of bottle and bladder hydration systems, has named a new licensee in Canada, Igloo Vikski. Based in Quebec, Igloo Vikski works with ski companies Fischer and Swix as well as Kayland, a high-end hiking, mountaineering and ice climbing boot manufacturer.

>> Outside magazine has named Janet McKevitt as its executive director of travel and sponsorship sales. McKevitt, who will report to Publisher Scott Parmelee, will work out of the Chicago office.

>> Alex Cushing, founder and chairman of Squaw Valley USA, is being honored with the Can Do Award for his dedication and support of the Huega Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with multiple sclerosis. Cushing will be recognized on Jan. 29 at the Winemaker Dinner in Reno, Nev., and all proceeds from the event will go to the Huega Center for scholarships. Jimmie Huega, founder of the Huega Center and an Olympic medallist, is expected to be on hand to present the award to Cushing. Tickets for the awards dinner are $100 per person and can be purchased by calling 775-824-4411.

>> The American Hiking Society has entered into a partnership with Trails.com where the non-profit organization will reap monetary benefits and its website visitors will receive a one-stop shop for researching and planning self-guided outdoor trips. AHS now has a custom Trail Finder on its website powered by Trails.com with information on 30,000 trails in the United States and Canada. AHS members and website visitors can purchase Trails.com's eTrail Pass for as low as $4.95, and AHS will receive 25 percent of the proceeds made from each sale at its site. Subscription benefits include access to trail information from 700 guidebooks, unlimited topo map printing and discounts on eTrail downloads.

>> Isis, makers of performance apparel for women, is supporting The Breast Cancer Fund's Climb Against the Odds -- Mount Shasta Expedition by donating technical jackets and pants to the expedition's team members, many of whom are breast cancer survivors. Isis has designed the limited edition Andrea Jacket for the climb and will preview it at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market to retailers for fall 2003. Isis also will donate a percentage of the profits from the sale of each jacket toThe Breast Cancer Fund. "Breast cancer affects the lives of one in every eight women," said Isis co-founder Carolyn Cooke. "These expeditions bring increased attention to the growing epidemic. We support The Breast Cancer Fund's commitment to combine activism and adventure to prevent breast cancer. We believe that together, we can end breast cancer the same way we climb mountains -- one step at a time." The July 2003 climb has set a goal to raise $500,000 for breast cancer research.

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