Outdoor: Did you hear?...

Wild Country issues carabiner recall, K2 licensing subsidiary sets up deal with Marvel, Volvo SportsDesign Awards calls for entries, Marmot launches anniversary display contest, plus much more...
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>> Wild Country, in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, has issued a recall for approximately 1,000 Helium carabiners sold under the following model names -- Helium Dyneema, Helium DYN QD 5 X 13, Helium Clean Wire, and Oxygen-Helium. They are marked with batch codes AAA, AAB, AAC, AAD, AAE and AAF, and were sold from April 2004 through July 2004. No injuries have been reported. According to Wild Country, the post around which the wire gate locates was slightly deformed in the forging process, possibly allowing the wire gate to slip off under loading. Wild Country has stated that, "The small number of karabiners that were at risk would still have held a load of 10kN in a gate open situation. Within the climbing industry 10kN is considered to be in excess of any normal load generated in a fall. Therefore we can say that the risk to the few climbers who may have received a suspect karabiner from this batch was very small. None the less as responsible manufacturers operating within an ISO 9001:2000 quality system we felt compelled to issue a general recall of all batches." For more information go to: www.wildcountry.co.uk/popup_update.html or send an email to info@wildcountry.co.uk.

>> The moms are doing it for themselves…with a little help from their employers, according to Working Mother magazine. The magazine has released its list of "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" and Timberland was the only industry player to make this year's list, which will appear in the October issue. Companies are selected based on their corporate culture, employee population and policies on work/life and women's advancement. This year, the magazine gave particular weight to three issues: flexible scheduling, time off for new parents and child-care options. "Providing support to working mothers is consistent with Timberland's values," said Bruce Johnson, senior vice president of human resources at Timberland. "We recognize and appreciate our employees as individuals, and we try to offer programs and benefits that meet their needs and improve their quality of life -- both in and outside of the workplace."

>> Reality TV took a harsh turn when a competitor in the Subaru Primal Quest was killed halfway through the competition. Nigel Aylott, a 38-year-old Australian with Team AROC, was struck on the head by a dislodged 300-pound boulder and died of massive trauma injuries. Aylott is the fifth person to have died while participating in an adventure race, but is the first to be killed during the taping of a reality show. CBS Sports was taping the race for a show to air in January 2005. CBS plans to continue with the program but does not know yet how it will handle Aylott's death. The Subaru Primal Quest started Sept. 19 from Orcas Island, Wash., with 56 co-ed teams set to compete 400 miles over five to 10 days. Aylott, with team members Alina McMaster, Tom Landon-Smith and Matt Dalziel, was in the lead with Team Montrail when the accident occurred on Sept. 21. Race organizers consulted with Aylott's family and teammates about whether to continue and they urged organizers to resume it again in his memory. Twenty-five percent of all the prize money will go to Aylott's team and family, as well as for a scholarship and memorial in his name. Aylott, a business analyst for an Australian telecommunications company, apparently was single. In the race program, Team AROC described its mission as: "Enjoy life, enjoy racing and have fun. Oh, and find Nigel a wife."

>> Always on the lookout for design innovation, the 2005 ispo trade show is featuring the Volvo SportsDesign Award for sport products designed specifically for women in six categories, including women's outdoor equipment. Volvo is looking for submissions in the following categories: women's ski equipment (skis, shoes, binding, poles); women's board equipment (snowboards, snow boots, snowbindings, skateboards, surfboards, kiteboards); women's fitness equipment (stationary workout bikes, treadmills, weights); women's outdoor equipment (shoes, climbing equipment); women's footwear equipment (running shoes, soccer shoes, sports shoes); and women's accessories and components (helmets, glasses, watches, backpacks, gloves). Products will be judged based on quality, function and benefits for women, innovation and concept, material used as well as colors and patterns. Submission deadline is Dec. 20, 2004. The nominated products will be exhibited during 2005 ispo winter, Feb 6-9, 2005, and at ispo china, March 14-17, 2005, trade shows. Winners will also be published in the 2005 Volvo SportsDesign Yearbook. For more information, visit www.ispo-sportsdesign.com or contact Daniel Kugler, Pascher + Heinz SportsMarketing, daniel@pascher-heinz.com, (+49 89) 9441960.

>> K2 Inc.'s subsidiary, K2 Licensing & Promotions (K2LP), has launched a new business division that will develop licensing and corporate partnerships for K2's portfolio, including K2, Rawlings, Volkl, Marmot and Shakespeare, starting with a corporate-wide licensing deal with Marvel Enterprises. In conjunction with the launch, the company hired Robert Strand as vice president of licensing and Frann Vettor-Gray as vice president of corporate alliances. "Our efforts are off to the right start with the addition of top-tier talent to our team and a new licensing agreement that provides three separate K2 divisions with rights to create new products featuring many of Marvel's outstanding character brands," Scott Dickey, president of K2LP, said. "We intend to tap new sources of revenue and underdeveloped assets for K2 by unlocking latent brand value through strategic licensing relationships in several new product categories. In addition, we intend to leverage our broad reach to multiple consumer targets through the creation of unique corporate alliances and partnerships that deliver a connection to the millions of consumers who purchase K2 products every year." Through the multi-year agreement with Marvel, K2's Stearns (watersports), Shakespeare (fishing) and Fotoball (licensed sporting goods) divisions have obtained the North American rights to develop products featuring several Marvel characters, including Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk and Daredevil. And as we all know, "with great power comes great responsibility," so we pray that K2 will avoid the frightening economic lure to design Marmot-brand Spider-Man technical undies for climbers.

>> In a recent investor presentation, adidas-Salomon (OTC: ADDDF.PK) confirmed it expects 20 percent higher earnings this year and sales to be up about 5 percent excluding currency effects. The German sport company aimed for an operating margin of 10 percent by 2006, up from 7.6 percent in the first half of the year, adding that there is further potential to increase the operating margin. The company had raised its outlook in August from a projection of 15 percent higher profit and 3 percent to 5 percent sales growth after a recovery in its key North American business fuelled better-than-expected second-quarter results. Net profit rose 36 percent in the second quarter to 44 million euros ($53.40 million). Sales rose to 1.47 billion euros from 1.39 billion euros a year ago. Analysts are still keeping adidas-Salomon on their "outperform" list.

>> Marmot's 30th Anniversary Window Display Contest offers up a nifty prize to the retailer with the most creative window display featuring Marmot product -- a round trip, all expenses paid, ski trip to Jackson, Wyo., for two, including lodging, lift tickets and airfare. Beginning Oct. 1 and ending Dec. 1, any Marmot dealer can participate in a window display contest that features Marmot's 30 years. The only real stipulation is the display must feature Marmot product in a 30th Anniversary theme: old gear, new gear, retro gear, or no gear -- anything goes. Winners will be chosen by the Marmot merchandising staff and announced on Jan. 29 at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. Other prizes for honorable mentions include tents, sleeping bags and packs. Rules, regulations, prizes and details can be found in the trade section of www.Marmot.com.

>> You might want to mark your traveling calendar to be in the Bishop, Calif., region from Oct. 15-17 for the SNO*fest, an event organized by the 1,100-member Sierra Nevada section of the American Alpine Club. Proceeds from the SNO*fest benefit the Inyo Search and Rescue team. For more information, go to www.aimhigh1.com/sno-fest.htm.

>> On Sept. 22, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice told Wellman Inc. (NYSE:WLM) that it will not be seeking an indictment of Wellman or any of its employees in connection with the department's investigation of price fixing in the polyester staple fiber industry. Wellman manufactures and markets polyester products, including PermaClear and EcoClear brand PET packaging resins and Fortrel brand polyester fibers, and utilizes a significant amount of recycled raw materials in its manufacturing operations. Also, Wellman announced it has taken the next step in its PET resin expansion at Pearl River by placing an order for a solid state polymerization unit with Buhler Inc. It will have the capacity to produce 300 million pounds of solid stated PET resin annually with a start-up of early 2006.

>> As part of SIA's national Winter Feels Good program, SIA is partnering with W.L. Gore & Associates to sponsor women's ski expert Jeannie Thoren's ski clinics (www.jeanniethoren.com) for the 2004/2005 winter season. Beginning this October, Thoren will travel to more than 15 resorts and 30 retail operations to provide expert counsel to women about choosing the right products for skiing and to share her expertise on the fitness and health benefits of snow sports. For more information on Winter Feels Good, go to (logically) www.winterfeelsgood.com. Information on Jeannie Thoren's Women's Clinics can be found at www.jeanthoren.com.

>> SGMA International is presenting a three-part series (via phone/web conferencing) called "Doing Business in China" to provide information and resources to the sporting good industry on how to succeed in the Chinese marketplace. "Whether your company is currently doing business in China or you are looking at new opportunities in China, this program will bring you the latest news and information from that country," said SGMA International President John Riddle. "By participating in this 'webinar,' you will learn from experts in the field on how to develop a comprehensive and well-planned strategy for doing business in China." The sessions will be on Oct. 5, Oct. 19 and Nov. 2. A webinar brochure in PDF format is available at: http://www.sgma.com/china/webinar-china.pdf. The audio portion of the program will be presented as a toll-free dial in teleconference with visual materials available on the Web. To register, visit http://www.SGMA.com/china or call SGMA's Anna Weinman at 202-775-1762. The fee is $295 for SGMA members, and $395 for non-members.

>> The Outdoor Industries Women's Coalition (OIWC) is testing the waters for interest from the bike industry by holding what the group calls a "Schmoozapalooza" on Oct. 7 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Venetian meeting room, Casanova 602, at the Sands Expo Hall Lower Lobby down the hall from Interbike Registration. Refreshments will be served. The agenda will include special guest speaker, Neide Cooley, president of the OIWC, who will provide information about the organization, its goals, mission, mentoring and initiatives. Sponsors of the event include Bicycle Retailer & Industry News, NBDA, Shimano, Interbike and Specialized. Trek, Terry Bicycles, Dirt Rag Magazine and Specialized have donated schwag for the event. Phat Cycles has donated a bicycle for a drawing. For more information about the bike industry women's gathering, contact Ariadne Scott at Specialized at 408-779-6229, ext. 2249, or email at adscott@specialized.com.

>> SnowSports Industries America (SIA) has tweaked the management structure sales and marketing management team which now reports directly to SIA President David Ingemie. Chris Semon, an eight-year sales veteran at SIA, has been named SIA's national sales and product manager. Mary Cecile (MC) Neville will continue to lead all trade and trade show marketing efforts as trade marketing manager. Alicia Allen will continue to manage SIA's consumer marketing initiatives and coordinate public relations for the association. Scott Mellin, who had served as director of sales and marketing for SIA, has been appointed CEO at Factory Design Labs in Denver, Colo., SIA's agency of record.

>> Timbuk2 Designs has hired Andy Anderson as director of operations -- yeah, the same Andy Anderson that left Mountainsmith in October 2003 to become national sales manager for Dana Design up in Vashon Island, Wash. No word as of press time as to why Anderson left Dana, or who is replacing him at Dana, though insiders tell us that Anderson departed because he had a chance to work with his friend, Mike Valvano, also formerly of Mountainsmith, once again at Timbuk2. We're heard that no replacement has been named for Anderson, leading us to speculate that K2 is still trying to decide how best to integrate Dana and Marmot. We hope they decide soon, because our perception was that Dana was just beginning to get some luster restored to the venerable brand name and this isn't going to help the momentum.

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