For the week of Sept. 28 to Oct. 4
>> Bill Bancroft, a well-loved sales rep for Mountain Hardwear working with Barry Schrimsher and the Sherpa Group, as well as for K2 working with Terry Skjersaa, was found dead of an apparent suicide at the age of 50 on Sept. 24. Prior to becoming a rep, Bancroft, the brother of world-famous polar explorer Ann Bancroft, worked as an assistant manager at Midwest Mountaineering and was the Western sales rep for Bell Canoes for many years. Friends close to Bancroft tell us he was recently separated from his wife, Ginny Arnold, and had recently moved into his own house. Memorial donations may be made to Greater Yellowstone Coalition, P.O. Box 1874, Bozeman, MT 59771 or to the African Wildlife Foundation, P.O. Box 96844, Washington, DC 20077-7016. We echo what one of our readers emailed us about Bancroft: "He was a very kind and caring individual with many friends in the industry. We will miss him dearly!!"
>> The Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT) is now actively promoting a new adventure race, the Nevada Passage, designed to showcase Nevada as an adventure destination. Billed as "the first statewide adventure race," the event will be held May 19 to 24, 2005. An hour-long TV show documenting the race will show the athletes kayak, mountain bike, run, hike, rock climb, four-wheel drive and jet ski their way across Nevada from Las Vegas to Reno by way of Alamo, Ely, Elko and Fallon. Team Unlimited will produce the program for syndication in more than 80 national TV markets that include New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Sacramento, Seattle and Portland, and event highlights from Nevada Passage will be included in two half-hour Xterra Planet TV programs for national viewing on major networks and cable affiliates. NCOT is sponsoring the event along with Paul Mitchell, Xterra Energy Drink and Nissan.
>> Deckers Outdoor signed a licensing agreement on Sept. 30 with Fownes Brothers Inc. to design Ugg-branded, cold-weather accessories in the United States, a move that some analysts are saying will strengthen the brand. Fownes will design, manufacture and market the Ugg products, which includes gloves, scarves and headwear for specialty stores as well as "better department stores." The licensing agreement is through January 2008, with an additional option for a three-year renewal. "The demand for the UGG brand continues to strengthen, allowing us to build upon our leading position in the premier sheepskin footwear category while at the same time increasing our penetration of the overall luxury goods market through the introduction of non-footwear branded products," Doug Otto, president/CEO of Deckers, said. "We are committed to successfully executing our strategy and look forward to capitalizing on the many opportunities that lie ahead." Headquartered in New York City, Fownes is a privately-held, family-owned and operated business which produces a full range of cold-weather accessories including gloves, scarves and headwear in leathers, knits, woven fabrics and furs.
>> Dunham and Deuter will serve as a co-presenting sponsors of the 2004/2005 Banff Mountain Festivals. This year's events will be held at The Banff Centre in the town of Banff, Alberta, from Oct. 30 to Nov. 7. Immediately following the annual competition of mountain films and books, the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour will take a program of some of the best films from the festivals to more than 250 cities and town in 30 countries around the world. In addition to Dunham being a co-presenting sponsor of the 29th annual Banff Mountain Film Festival and North American Tour, the outdoor performance footwear brand will be a sponsor of the 11th annual Banff Mountain Book Festival as well as Radical Reels, a film tour dedicated to adrenaline action sport films that begins in Banff and visits more than 30 cities throughout North America in 2005. Deuter has signed on to be a supporting sponsor and major sponsor of the 2005 Radical Reels Tour. To learn more about the upcoming Banff Mountain Festivals, go to www.banffmountainfestivals.ca.
>> The Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center has partnered with Backcountry.com to develop what they say is a first-of-its-kind avalanche safety campaign specifically developed for and targeted to school-age children in Utah. Called "Know Before You Go," the one-hour education program will be taught in participating junior high and high schools in Utah as an annual assembly, to any gathering of young outdoor enthusiasts such as Boy Scout troops, and to outdoor recreation programs at universities. As of early September, more than 30 area schools had expressed interest in the program. The program has three parts: a 15-minute, narrated video showing avalanches, people triggering avalanches and the destructive power of avalanches; a local avalanche professional telling stories about close calls or accidents they have experienced ; and a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation about the basics of how to recognize avalanche terrain, how to recognize obvious signs of instability, safe travel practices, an overview of avalanche rescue equipment and self-rescue procedures; and where to obtain information about current avalanche conditions. The Know Before You Go avalanche education program is administered by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, which raises private funding for the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center (FSUAC) and promotes avalanche safety in Utah. The staff of the FSUAC will design, create and supervise the project.
>> Ed Howell is exiting Columbia Sportswear's Sorel division as global president to be closer to his family on the East Coast. Sean Beers, director of operations, and Mike Prendergast, national sales manager, will oversee the Sorel team while a search for Howell's replacement is conducted. "(Howell's) leadership has made a lasting impact on Sorel," Tim Boyle, Columbia's president/CEO, said. "We are pleased with the strength of Sorel's existing management team, designers and merchants, and the overall strategic direction of the Sorel division." In other news, Bill Berta has been named national sales manager of footwear to direct U.S. sales efforts for Columbia's branded footwear. Columbia has started a search for a vice president of footwear to manage global footwear design and merchandising. Berta is a veteran footwear sales manager with nearly 20 years of sales and merchandising experience, and has served as the general manager of Columbia's footwear division since 2001. He will continue to manage the division on an interim basis.
>> The "Winter Feels Good" public awareness campaign has been honored by the Public Relations Society of America (PSRA) and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). The Winter Feels Good press kit won the PRSA "Thoth" Award of Excellence in its category. It was prepared by the program's public relations firm CGPR and packaged by Factory Design Labs. The announcement was made at a gathering of top public relations professionals recently at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The kit offers information about the health, fitness and social benefits of snow sports and provides journalists with material about new products, learning programs and the importance of proper dress for outdoor winter activities. The IABC cited the overall Winter Feels Good campaign with a Silver Inkwell Award for its "depth and creativity." Developed in response to the growing obesity challenge in the United States, the campaign focuses on parents, teachers and other influencers of children to alert them about how and why snow sports can contribute to a healthy lifestyle. For more information, head to www.thesnowtrade.org.
>> Backcountry Access and Alpine World Ascents have partnered to offer on-snow avalanche training tours, with a strong emphasis on gaining practical experience leading informal groups in the backcountry. Dubbed the "BCA On-Snow Field Sessions," these multi-day trainings will take place in Silverton, Colo. (Dec. 11-13 at a cost of $450); Washington's North Cascades (May 6-9 at a cost of $550); and the Andermatt/Gotthard region of Switzerland (Feb. 12-16 at a cost of $1,490). They will be guided and taught by AMGA Ski Mountaineering Guide Markus Beck of Alpine World Ascents and Bruce Edgerly, co-founder of Backcountry Access. The courses do not offer a certification of any kind, but they are designed to provide strong field experience to recreational skiers and snowboarders who have already taken some form of basic avalanche instruction in the classroom and want to increase their knowledge in route finding, snow stability analysis, group management and decision making. For more information, contact Alpine World Ascents at 303-485-1511 or Backcountry Access at 303-417-1345.
>> True North Brand Group has added Mike Coogan to the team to open a marketing division within True North aimed at supplying brands in the outdoor, athletic and fashion market segments with a range of marketing programs. According to Mark Tedeschi, president of True North Brand Group, "Coogan's addition now gives True North the ability to offer support in a range of marketing segments including identity, packaging, catalogues, sell-thru brochures, in-store display, consumer promotions. True North will now also offer solutions in the sales end, specializing in motivating and educating the people responsible for selling the product in, and those that sell it through at the point-of-sale." Coogan will serve as president of the newly formed True North Marketing Division. Prior to this, he worked as president of Rogue Outdoor Brands, vice president of marketing at Kamik footwear, and he has also held senior level marketing positions with Dunham and Stride Rite.
>> Jeannie Wall has joined the board of the recently formed U.S. Ski Mountaineering Association (USSMA). Wall was the only woman to represent the United States in the World Ski Mountaineering Championships held in Spain earlier this year where she took fifth place. She also placed fourth in the World Cup Race held in Salt Lake City in March of this year and has won the North American Ski Championship Race of the Life-Link/Dynafit Race Series three years in a row. The USSMA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the sport of ski mountaineering and to the safety of those who participate in the sport. The USSMA is committed to financially supporting avalanche education and awareness as well as local avalanche forecasting centers and local search-and-rescue groups. In related news, Ibex Outdoor Clothing has agreed to become a sponsor of the Life-Link/Dynafit Randonnee Rally Race Series ski mountaineering competition. The race series is run by the USSMA which donates proceeds to local avalanche forecasting centers and/or search-and-rescue organizations at each race venue.
>> Wenonah Canoe has signed a training grant launching a three-year workforce development partnership with the Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The grant, awarded to the college, will allow Wenonah Canoe to offer its employees a variety of courses including efficient manufacturing techniques and composite technology. Training will be offered as credit-based certificate programs through Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical.
>> Primaloft has promoted Arnie Liati to western U.S. territory manager and hired Steve Cuthbert as eastern U.S. territory manager. Both Liati and Cuthbert will be responsible for directing and implementing strategy, account management and continued territory growth in their respective territories. Both report directly to Eileen Berner, Primaloft director of sales.
>> McNett Corp. has promoted George Farkas to sales and marketing manager -- a newly created position. Farkas has been with McNett for over six years as OEM sales director and marketing director.
>> Sherpani Alpina has signed on two new rep firms. Tokul Creek Marketing, based in Snoqualmie, Wash., will be handling Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. The firm is headed by Paul Dukich, who began his rep career eight years ago after working at Outdoor Research. He has two associates, Jenn Zollars and Dan Smith. In addition to Sherpani, Tokul Creek represents Cloudveil, Horny Toad and Sterling Rope. Megan Kress of Northstar Sales Group has also joined the Sherpani team and will be covering Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, North Dakota, South Dakota and Missouri. She's been in the industry for seven years, first as a buyer for Duluth Pack and for the past three years as a rep, selling lines including Isis, Lendal Paddles, Sawyer Paddles, Astral Buoyancy and Danuu Canoe & Kayak Covers.