Outdoor: Did you hear?…

CEO Tom Herbst to leave Arc'Teryx in 2005, Mark Martin to succeed Steve Crisafulli as Marmot president, Chaco sponsoring Telluride Mountainfilm and Gear Swap, avalanche center funding bill needs your support, plus much more...
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For the week of Oct. 5-11

>> Lowe Alpine's northeast rep, Mike Fisher, had his home broken into the weekend of Oct. 2-3 and several 2004 samples of apparel and packs were taken. SNEWS® was told that the alleged thieves probably knew what they were looking for, stealing product that retailed for $200 or more. Although it's unlikely the product will surface, Lowe and Fisher are asking their New Hampshire retail neighbors to keep their ears open for customers claiming warranty or credit without proof of purchase. If anyone has any information, contact Lowe Alpine at 877-888-8533.

>> Tom Herbst is resigning from his CEO post at Arc'Teryx Jan. 31, 2005, and will be succeeded by Tyler Jordan, senior vice president of finance and operations. Herbst, a 30-year veteran in the outdoor industry, and former head of Canadian retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op, joined Arc'Teryx in 1998 as a shareholder and advisor. He was named CEO in 2002 following the company's sale to adidas-Salomon. Herbst will continue with the company part time in an advisory role and said, "One of my goals has been to semi-retire at an age where I could enjoy my time while continuing to help Arc'Teryx in anyway I can." Jordan, his successor, has been with Arc'Teryx since 1993 and is also a former shareholder. Jean-Luc Diard, managing director of Salomon Sports, said, "I want to thank Tom for his efforts and welcome Tyler in his new role. I am confident there will be a seamless transition and that Arc'Teryx will continue to lead the industry in design, quality and innovation."

>> Steve Crisafulli is assuming a new position at K2 Inc. and will lead the development of the company's technical apparel platform, leaving Mark Martin to take over as division president of Marmot. Martin has been with Marmot for nine years and served as the chief operating officer since 1998. "Steve built a team at Marmot that is unparalleled in the outdoor products industry," Wayne Merck, president and COO of K2 Inc., said in a statement. "We are delighted that he will lead the effort to leverage the Marmot platform with K2 Inc.'s Winter Products brands. In addition, Mark's strong knowledge of Marmot and the industry make us extremely confident in his ability to lead this division and achieve significant growth. Mark's leadership and vision, combined with the rest of Marmot's experienced management team, translate into an exciting future for this business."

>> For the fourth year in a row, Chaco footwear is sponsoring the Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour in Paonia, Colo., and a Gear Swap Nov. 6 to benefit the Western Slope Environmental Resource Council (WSERC). The folks at Chaco believe in the mission of WSERC, and see the two events as an ideal way to help advocate for issues important to the Western Slope of Colorado. WSERC focuses on protecting, preserving and enhancing the local natural and human resources while building alliances and a shared community vision. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Gear Swap will offer Chaco closeouts and "funkies" at a discount, alongside outdoor gear samples from regional reps. Locals can also bring their own gear to sell and are urged to donate 10 percent of their proceeds to WSERC. The Gear Swap will be at the Blue Sage Center for the Arts (228 Grand Ave.). Later that day, Chaco will sponsor the Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour, featuring adventure, environmental and cultural films, at the Paradise Theater (215 Grand Ave.) 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. WSERC will receive the revenue generated from ticket sales, which was nearly $4,000 last year.

>> With a slew of other hardworking sponsors, Black Diamond Equipment raised more than $30,000 for the Utah Avalanche Center. The 11th annual UAC fund-raising party has become "the fall community happening," as backcountry users get together in anticipation of winter. More than 750 people attended the outdoor event that featured live music, a silent auction, Uinta Brewing Company beverages and dinner by Rico Mexican Market. Bruce Tremper, director of the UAC said, "Black Diamond is the epitome of a socially responsible outdoor manufacturer. They not only make great equipment for the backcountry, but they support the organizations that help keep their customers alive. Every fall when I see all those people who turn out to support us and the selfless effort of Black Diamond employees, it nearly brings tears to my eyes. When I record the advisory each winter morning, I see all those people on the other end listening. That's what keeps us going and doing the best damn job we can." For more information about the UAC, check out www.avalanche.org, or to make a tax-deductible contribution, contact Colleen Graham at 801-365-5522.

>> In related avalanche center news, Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, has introduced a bill that directly addresses avalanche safety, and will fund $15 million over the next five years to avalanche centers and military weapons for controlling avalanche paths that affect highways. The Federal Land Recreational Visitor Protection Act of 2003 directs the Department of the Interior to undertake a program to reduce risks of avalanches to users in national parks and recreational users on other public lands. In short, the feds will be relying heavily on the resources of the National Avalanche Center. An advisory committee would be established to assist in the development and implementation of the program. As it stands now, federal land agencies, state departments of transportation and public railroads would be represented. There has been a call to add one or more representatives from the recreation community to be included on the advisory committee. The legislation provides authority for the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to make grants to: assist in the prevention, forecasting detection and mitigation of avalanches; maintain transportation and communications; and assist avalanche artillery users. Funding for this program would be apportioned according to a formula that includes the ratio of total avalanche area in a state relative to the total avalanche areas in all states. Priority is given to projects carried out in areas with high frequency or severity of avalanches, or where deaths or damage to public facilities and communities have, or are likely to occur. This bill has passed in the Senate, and is currently in front of a House Committee. With this session of Congress quickly winding down, a call has gone out to our industry to chime in our support of this bill to fund avalanche centers across the nation. You are encouraged to call the chair of the subcommittee, Congressman Greg Walden at 202-225-6730, or go to the web and file an email in support at http://walden.house.gov/contactgreg.

>> The third annual HERA (Health Empowerment, Research and Advocacy) Ovarian Cancer Climb for Life drew more than 200 participants and raised over $100,000, benefiting research for early detection and new treatments of ovarian cancer. "It is amazing how far we have come in just over two years and three events," said Sean Patrick, HERA founder and an ovarian cancer survivor. "Without the support of our industry sponsors, including event angel Black Diamond and media sponsor Climbing magazine, we would not have been able to grow so fast. This year, support from over 40 industry sponsors is allowing us to give away over 90 percent of the money we raise. With their support, we are helping to raise awareness for ovarian cancer and helping to save women's lives." In addition to the Salt Lake City Climb for Life event, HERA also offers several satellite events, which enable women and men around the country to get involved at their local crags or gyms. The HERA Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) not for profit organization, and its mission is to empower women to take control of their health, scientists to seek new directions in ovarian cancer research and communities to provide support. Next year's Climb for Life is scheduled for Sept. 15-18, 2005, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

>> Life-Link Backcountry Travel has been named the North American distributor for ARVA avalanche transceivers. The latest transceiver addition, the ARVA Advanced, will be available in late November and retail for $299.95

>> Mountain Hardwear has offered Big Agnes an exclusive one-year invitation to use its Atlas Pole System, which features a floating pole connector. Created via collaboration between Mountain Hardwear, tent pole engineer Frank Tehan, and Yunan Aluminum, the cold-forged Atlas Floating Connector joins two identical pole sections and eliminates the need for a swaged pole end or a fixed insert, so a broken pole can easily be repaired on the trail. "I saw the Atlas System early on and immediately recognized its potential," said Bill Gamber, president and owner of Big Agnes. Gamber approached Mountain Hardwear after learning that it had been involved in the development of the technology and had exclusive rights to its use. "Of course, we liked the idea of having an exclusive, but Big Agnes is well respected, and we felt the Atlas Pole System by Mountain Hardwear could gain even more credibility with two strong tent companies behind it," said Paul Kramer, executive vice president of design and sourcing at Mountain Hardwear.

>> For an industry that sees every day as "casual Friday," many may be saddened to hear that the causal daily trend is tapering off. In an article in the Boston Globe, a staffing specialist at an employee placement agency in Boston, said fewer men are coming to the placement agency dressed in casual clothes these days. And most are more willing to don a suit for work than they were in the past. Blame it on the economy. With the nation's jobless rate falling to 5.4 percent in August, companies are beginning to hire again and workers are realizing that it takes more than a smashing resume and great skills to successfully compete for the right job, say retail specialists. Industry analysts attribute the change to factors ranging from the demise of casual Fridays at some U.S. companies to a penchant for suits among viewers of such popular TV shows as "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." Also, some companies are instituting more formal dress codes in the workplace. One executive said, "People took casual dress too far, with shorts and flip-flops at work. But in this economy, things are tougher. People need to put on a more formal face, and their apparel plays a part in that." SNEWS® View: Although it may not affect most outdoor companies internally (whew, where else would we wear all those schwag T-shirts from the OR shows?), it's wise to note that your customers may be changing their apparel focus which could, ultimately, have an impact on your bottom line.

>> In response to the wave of natural disasters that have pummeled the state, the Florida National Guard is evaluating more than 100 MSR Miox Water Purifiers supplied by DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense) and the U.S. military for their utility during disaster relief and hurricane recovery efforts in Florida. With Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Ivan making water supplies vulnerable, and with hundred of thousands of people along the eastern seaboard forced to boil their water, demand for bottled water has sapped supply. "Providing clean drinking water is of the utmost concern and we will be evaluating these purifiers for their utility in providing safe drinking water in an easy and cost-effective manner," said Colonel Glenn Sutphin, legislative director, Department of Military Affairs, Florida National Guard. "We will also provide state agencies throughout Florida with these portable water purification devices to get their feedback." The MSR Miox was developed for use by the U.S. military and is currently being used by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The water purifiers allows a soldier or a civilian to purify any fresh water that can be obtained, uses electrolysis to effectively eliminate common water-borne pathogens such as E. Coli, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium, as well as other agents like VX nerve gas, Soman, the blister agent Lewisite, and the biological agents causing Anthrax, plague and small pox.

>> Hooked on the Outdoors was named "Best Magazine" in the southwest by the Dallas Press Club at the 46th Annual Katie Awards, beating the in-flight magazines for American Airlines and Southwest Airlines. The Katie Awards are presented to acknowledge outstanding achievement in various media fields including magazines, newspapers, radio and television. Over a thousand regional entries from Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico are narrowed down until winners are chosen in their respective categories. Judges said, "The magazine is hip and even though we spend much of our time in our office chairs we could even enjoy the climbing, base jumping and other outdoor sports presented in this magazine."

>> Redfeather Snowshoes is working with CenterStone Sales Order Management Solutions on ordering systems for its dealers and sales reps. Qualified dealers will be able to place pre-season and ASAP orders, as well as view available inventories and product images, verify pricing and purchase order tracking information. For more information, contact Redfeather (www.redfeather.com) at 800-525-0081, or CenterStone customer service at support@centerstonetech.com.

>> New sock-maker Darn Tough Vermont has named industry veteran Roland Beliveau as national sales manager and director of marketing. Beliveau's experience includes director of marketing at Turtle Fur, a sales rep for Patagonia, and as a buyer at The Skirack in Vermont. Additionally, Darn Tough Vermont will be represented in New England, New York and Northern New Jersey by Bob Bruce and Hal Elms of the Pinnacle Outdoor Group.

>> Cabela's (NYSE: CAB) is negotiating to build a 175,000-square-foot store at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J., that would employ nearly 500 people. If all goes as planned, construction will begin in August 2006 with an August 2007 grand opening. Part of the Meadowlands Xanadu sports, leisure, family entertainment and shopping complex, the store would be built in Cabela's trademark style mixing a decor of museum-quality animal displays with dioramas, aquariums stocked with native fish and a centerpiece indoor mountain display with animals interacting in their natural habitats.

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