Outdoor: Did you hear?… Winter Trails attracts new sponsors, plus XML, Columbia, Redfeather, Bending Branches, Cloudveil, Zoot, Julbo, and more...

Karhu and Nature Valley join Winter Trails sponsor list, Redfeather offers Shopatron e-commerce system to retailers, Enge leaves Hind for Zoot Sports, Spyder thwarts counterfeiters, plus much more...

For the week of Oct. 4-10

>> Karhu and Nature Valley granola bars have been added to the sponsor roster of Winter Trails, a program that offers those new to snowsports an opportunity to try snowshoeing and cross-country skiing free at nearly 100 locations throughout North America. The program is organized by SnowSports Industries America in conjunction with the Cross Country Ski Areas Association and the American Hiking Society. Winter Trails is part of SIA's "Winter Feels Good" campaign to promote the health, fitness and social benefits of snow sports. Other program sponsors include: Atlas Snow-Shoe, Alpina, Atomic Skis, Exel, Fischer, Mountain Safety Research, Redfeather SnowShoes, Rossignol, Salomon, Tubbs Snowshoes, Whitewoods and W.L. Gore & Associates. Winter Trails Day is Jan. 7, 2006.

>> Beginning Oct. 17, a snowsports retail sales training program called Desperate Measures will be staging a 10-city eastern seaboard tour of seminars called Desperate Measures University. The objective of the training program is to create retail customers for life, which will run into the middle of November. The course is four hours in length and features workshops that reinforce various selling skills, so that salespeople can begin being more effective in their stores right away. The cost for pre-registered attendees is $40 and includes workbooks and materials. For more information, visit www.itrainingsolutions.com or call 978-921-2097.

>> REI has plans to open a new store in Santa Monica, Calif., in spring 2006 and another in Pineville, a suburb north of Charlotte, N.C., in fall 2006. The 32,000-square-foot Santa Monica store will be on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, and employ about 60 full- and part-time staff. The 26,500-square-foot store in Pineville will be located next to the Carolina Place Mall at 11025 Carolina Place Parkway. It will employ about 55 full- and part-time staff.

>> The Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) has released a new IXRetail XML schema to enable retailers to maintain consistent and accurate store level inventory data and then communicate the information to all systems requiring inventory data. In its 11th incarnation, the new Inventory schema is intended to aid retailers in maintaining and communicating inventory by store location to support e-commerce and in store sales. It can be used to check, reserve or cancel orders for products in inventory systems regardless of whether the transaction takes place in a store, online, by phone or by mail order. The ARTS (www.nrf-arts.org) is an international membership organization dedicated to reducing the costs of technology through three standards: The Standard Relational Data Model, UnifiedPOS and IXRetail. Membership is open to all members of the international technology community- retailers from all industry segments, application developers and hardware companies.

>> Score one for the good guys. Spyder Active Sports was able to thwart 1,000 imitation jackets and pants at the Finnish border, thanks to training and some observant custom officers. Spyder has proactively worked closely with customs agencies throughout the world to educate them on how to recognize imitations so they may be detained at national borders. Additionally, anti-counterfeit labels are affixed to high-end outerwear to uniquely identify product as authentic. In late August, the Finnish National Board of Customs notified the company of a Spyder-branded jacket and pant shipment arriving from Russia that they suspected to be counterfeit. After receiving verification from Spyder that the merchandise was indeed counterfeit, the goods were seized. It is believed the product was headed for distribution points across the European Union, a substantial market for the brand. Spyder filed a criminal complaint in Finland against the Finnish importer of the goods. Once the case is concluded, the counterfeit merchandise will be destroyed.

>>Although they get on each others' nerves, the Wall Street Journal says Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle and his mother Gert Boyle, chair of the company, have created a business rarity: a family-controlled company that succeeds in spite of squabbling. The article noted that family dynasties often appear serene for years, only to collapse when long-hidden tensions explode. Columbia's sales of ski jackets, hiking boots and other outdoor gear have climbed to $1 billion a year, up from $800,000 when mother and son took command in 1970. That has helped the Boyles become one of America's richest families, with a 62 percent stake in Columbia valued at $1.07 billion, the article noted. To read more about the Boyles and other family business dynasties, click here.

>> Redfeather Snowshoes is now offering Shopatron's e-commerce solution to retailers nationwide to facilitate online ordering. With Shopatron, Redfeather is able to process orders placed on its website at www.redfeather.com, and then facilitate order fulfillment by automatically contacting a local retailer in the customer's area who carries the product to then ship it to the customer. Nearly free for retailers to use, Shopatron helps introduce online shoppers to local retail stores that might not otherwise have an online presence, and enables stores to capture sales from purchasers who are using the Web after store hours. Retailers also have access through Shopatron to market research and sales information such as which products are in greatest demand locally and nationally, helping with inventory buying decisions and moving product faster. Redfeather has made Shopatron available to all of its retail partners who sign up for the service by visiting Shopatron at www.shopatron.com.

>> Bending Branches' rep force in the Southeast region is expanding, with Chris Siegfried and Tom Foote joining Cliff Earle. Based in Birmingham, Ala., Earle will handle Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi and West Virginia. He's available at 205-969-0973. Foote, based in Duncan, S.C., will handle Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. His number is 864-201-3672. Siegfried, based in Dunnellon, Fla., will handle Florida. His number is 352-489-3302.

>> Footbed-maker Shock Doctor is doing some fancy footwork and reorganizing its staff slightly. Evan Wert is taking over as vice president of sales and marketing from Jay Turkbas who has been promoted to vice president of product development for all divisions. Wert will have overall responsibility for domestic and international sales, including the development of sales strategies and programs as well as dealer relations. Wert has 22 years of experience in the business, and was most recently with Superfeet Worldwide as the director of sales and marketing. Kirsten Carpenter will assume the new position of national inside sales manager. Carpenter comes from a four-year stint in the sales department at Superfeet Worldwide, where she headed up research and development and handled key accounts. Both positions will be run from a new satellite office based in Bellingham, Wash. Wert is available at 360-927-4477.

>> Cloudveil has hired two sales rep agencies: Pemba Services of Madison, Wis., for the Central region, and San Miguel Mountain and River Products of Steamboat Springs, Colo., for the Rocky Mountain region. Pemba is comprised of Brad Werntz, Scott Backes, Brian Hall, Risa Drew, Amber Wiedenhoeft and Reid Synenberg. For 15 years, they have represented some of the top brands in the industry, currently, Petzl, Vasque, Gregory, Leki, Atlas, Adventure Medical Kits, Sea To Summit, Nikwax, and Jetboil. San Miguel Mountain, opened in 1995 by Scott Harkins, has over 20 years of field rep and retail experience. Previously focused primarily on the fly fishing industry, the agency has expanded into the outdoor market by establishing a new partnership with Thorn Luth. Luth, currently a Rocky Mountain sales representative for Black Diamond Equipment, has previously worked for Redfeather Snowshoes, Merrell Footwear and Kelty. The agency currently represents Scientific Anglers, R.L. Winston Rod Co. and Waterworks-Lamson. They are supported on the road by Greg Pearson in Utah, and Luisa Harkins, who is responsible for customer relations in Steamboat.

>> Mountain Khakis has added Ron Mosher to their national sales rep team, handling sales and retail responsibilities in the Northwest. Mosher will cover Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Montana and Idaho, and replace former Northwest-based rep Tony Brent, who recently accepted a position as General Manager of Grivel North America in Salt Lake City. Mosher is the founder of RAM Enterprises and represents Ex Officio in the Northwest.

>> Brian Enge has left Hind and Saucony to head up Zoot Sports, a triathlon sports apparel and competitive racing wet suit company, as CEO. Enge was the senior vice president of Saucony and the general manager of the Hind performance clothing division since 2002. Prior to Saucony, Enge was president of Schoffel's North American subsidiary, and had also worked at both Nike and Cyrk earlier in his career.

>> Julbo has hired Egan & Associates as its Northwest sales agency. Composed of David Egan, Jackton Downard, Valerie Normand, Jonathan Hearn, Tracy Egan and Tom Lawrence, Egan & Associates covers the states of Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Alaska. The team also represents Arborwear, Atlas Snow-Shoe Co., Chaco, Gregory Mountain Products, Ibex and Teko.

>> Winterstick has hired two new sales reps to cover the Northeast and Southern California regions. Laury Aitolla will service Southern California and Arizona, where he currently represents Helly-Hansen, Hestra, Icer, Joystick, Leedom, Line skis and the Teton Gravity Research tour. Whitney Phillips will service the Northeastern states, including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, in addition to his role in promoting Mad River Rocket. Aitolla is available at 310-402-3690 or laittola@hotmail.com. Phillips is at 802-496-9882 or whitney@winterstick.com.



Bending Branches acquires Aqua-Bound

Making official what SNEWS® had heard rumored weeks ago, Bending Branches, based in Osceola, Wis., completed the acquisition of Aqua-Bound Technology based in Surrey, B.C., Canada. The deal closed on December 17, and the terms were not announced. Joe Matuska, founder of ...read more