Industry Buzz: Mountainsmith, Alex Boian, Game of Chairlifts, REI's revamped registry, footwear predictions, and more

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  • On Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee met to talk about outdoor recreation access, infrastructure, and permitting. This is the first step in what could be lawmakers' journey toward creating recreation policy. Outdoor Industry Association's (OIA) Patricia Rojas-Ungar said: "Rural communities across the nation depend on the recreation tourism that our public lands draw to their areas, and we need a strong and continued investment in the infrastructure of these lands to continue to attract people to these special places. We stand ready to help Congress and federal land management agencies in their effort to remove barriers to accessing our outdoors by streamlining the various permitting systems and removing red tape. We also encourage our elected officials to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and prioritize maintenance backlogs at our national parks and forest service lands."
  • Ride your bike, get a tax breakThe Bicycle Commuter Act of 2019 could allow cyclists to deduct more than $50 per month and write off bike-share memberships, if it passes.
  • The NPD Group's Matt Powell wrote in an email that he believes 50 percent of all footwear could be purchased online in the U.S. (29 percent was in 2018). "While e-commerce giants pose big competition, brands and retailers are successfully building their own niche, online platforms and there remains plenty of room to grow in this space," Powell wrote. He continued, "There will always be a need for physical stores in the sports industry; however, with far too many stores selling the same stuff, we can expect this restructuring to continue. In the near term, e-commerce will capture a growing share of the total."
  • REI revamped its gift registry experience by teaming up with, which offers new tools for users to manage wish lists and create registries for all types of milestones.
  • Western Carolina University has a new on-campus outdoor store after the previous one closed down. Bryson City Outdoors was founded by a 2011 alumnus.
Mountainsmith tripster

Every Tripster is made from different upcycled materials, so each piece is unique in its own way—no two packs feature the same patterns, colors or textures.

  • New gear: Mountainsmith just launched the Tripster, a waist pack made from 80 percent upcycled materials. It's a collaboration between Mountainsmith, Green Guru, and REI. One catch: It's only available in REI stores and on the retailer's website—not in any other stores. 
  • LEKI has signed a two-year agreement with elite trail runner Xavier Thevenard to represent the brand and use LEKI trail running poles exclusively for training and during competition.
  • After 15 years with OIA, Alex Boian is leaving to join Vail Resorts as the senior director of community relations. In an email, he reflected on his time at the assoication. Boian started at OIA in 2004 as the government affairs coordinator. "My experience at OIA has been a phenomenal journey and I leave today fulfilled, but knowing there is much more work to do," he wrote.