Beginning on July 22, the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, will play host to hundreds of international companies specializing in outdoor camping and climbing equipment. U.S. retailers and press attending OutDoor will be treated to the international preview of 2007 outdoor product, and yes, SNEWS® will be there in force with three editors.
Those seeking an inside track on some hot new items either not (yet) available in North America or coming soon know that OutDoor is where the items will be found -- Orikaso is a perfect example of a new company that was "discovered" at OutDoor, and is now doing well in the United States, distributed by Axis.
Conservation and the environment take center stage this year
Inspired by the success of the Conservation Alliance, the European Outdoor Group, the European organization that represents the interest of the European outdoor industry and also is the owner of the OutDoor show, is announcing the launch of the EOG Association for Conservation.
"The outdoor environment is fragile and threatened by numerous issues, such as pollution, deforestation and overuse," Mark Held, EOG's executive director, told SNEWS®. "Yet this environment is central to our industry, so central that we believe it's time for us to act collectively."
The EOG Association for Conservation will be independent from the main EOG, and like the Conservation Alliance, is designed to leverage the collective strength of the outdoor industry to raise money to donate to grassroots conservation groups.
Membership of the new EOG Association for Conservation will be open to any company exhibiting at OutDoor, or able to demonstrate its involvement in the outdoor industry. The association launch taking place on the first day of OutDoor includes speeches by Hervé Chabert, general manager of Patagonia Europe; Rolf Schmid, president of the EOG and CEO of the Mammut Sports Group; and Kirk Richardson, board member of the U.S. Conservation Alliance and president of Keen.
Internationally renowned ecologist and conservationist Michael Fay is also flying in direct from his latest expedition in Tchad, taking a few days off to help launch the EOG's major initiative.
The EOG Association for Conservation will raise money from subscriptions, donations and via the EOG's interest in the OutDoor show.
New OutDoor Award to promote innovation and design
Messe Friedrichshafen will be presenting the first OutDoor Industry Award. Created and organized by iF International Forum Design, the aim of the competition is to promote good design in the outdoor industry. Meeting in Hanover, the judges selected 34 products from 153 entries submitted by companies in 21 countries. Six Silver Awards and one Gold Award were presented to the top-ranking products.
The submitted products were entered into one of the following categories: clothing, footwear, backpacks/luggage, mountain climbing equipment, camping equipment, sleeping bags, water sports and accessories.
Members of the jury included Andreas Bartmann (Globetrotter accessories), Christoph Böninger (designafairs GmbH), Mark Held (European Outdoor Group), Ines Papert (rock/ice climbing specialist), Chris Townsend (tgo Newsquest Magazines) and Frank Wacker (outdoor magazine). The products were evaluated according to the following criteria: level of innovation, design quality, finish, material selection, environmental compatibility, functionality, serviceability, safety, trend-setting aspects and brand value/branding.
The Gold and Silver Award winners will be announced at a ceremony taking place at OutDoor on Sunday, July 23, at 9:30 a.m., and SNEWS® will be there to cover it.
OutDoor Woman is a prominent theme this year
Reinhold Messner is sure of one thing: the most daring routes in the mountains will soon be set by women. According to this self-titled challenger of frontiers, there is no longer a difference between men and women in climbing.
"The days of female disadvantage on the mountain are over," Messner said in a recent interview.
Building on that observation, "OutDoor Woman" will be a prominent theme at OutDoor 2006 and will feature a special exhibit and an expert forum.
"We're not on any gender crusade since we believe women have always played a key role on the outdoor scene," Mark Held, executive director of the EOG, told SNEWS®. "However, we also believe the industry has neglected its female customers."
For this reason, the Friedrichshafen trade fair organizer, EOG and exhibitors at this year's OutDoor show want, among others things, to highlight the current and future potential of the women's market to a forum of manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
Held believes there is still a backlog of demand in the outdoor industry for women's products. "As in other industry sectors, the focus of production is either on men's collections or on unisex ranges."
Summary of key meetings and events at this year's OutDoor show:
• Special Show "The OutDoor Woman," West Foyer, upper floor
• Lecture/Forum "The OutDoor Woman," Conference Center, West Foyer, Room Österreich, Monday, July 24, 4 p.m.
• OutDoor Industry Award, West Foyer, Sunday, July 23
• Fashion show, daily at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., Hall A4
• OutDoor Tent City, Hall A6 + B4
• Climbing wall with climbing competitions, Hall B2
• OutDoor Speed Cup, Monday, July 24
• Difficulty Climbing, sponsored by Vaude, Tuesday, July 25
• Bouldering wall plus action, Hall A5
• High Jump Contest, Sunday, July 23
• 13th OutDoor Party sponsored by Polartec, Open-air Grounds, Tuesday, July 25