Readers’ favorite SNEWS outdoor stories of 2009: Are yours on the list?

As we begin to watch the clock tick down on the final few days of 2009, SNEWS® thought we'd all enjoy a look back at what you, our readers, found to be the most compelling stories of the year - the ones you clicked to read in the highest numbers. Some of the results may surprise you - they did us. Certainly, we expected to see our coverage of BPA in aluminum bottles at or near the top -- SNEWS® is proud to have been the source that broke this news to the entire world. But we never imagined...

As we begin to watch the clock tick down on the final few days of 2009, SNEWS® thought we'd all enjoy a look back at what you, our readers, found to be the most compelling stories of the year - the ones you clicked to read in the highest numbers. Some of the results may surprise you - they did us. Certainly, we expected to see our coverage of BPA in aluminum bottles at or near the top -- SNEWS® is proud to have been the source that broke this news to the entire world. But we never imagined that an editorial, on hotel room poaching at Outdoor Retailer, published only a few weeks ago, would vault into the top 10 – but there it is. And, we ask you, were your favorite reads on our top 10 list? If not, use our "Chat" function at the end of this report to let us know which stories moved, inspired or simply had you talking the most in 2009.

  1. Rob Hart, founder of Crazy Creek, dies in ski accident (Feb. 23, 2009) -- Rob Dixon Hart, 51, owner of Crazy Creek Products in Red Lodge, Mont., died on Feb. 20 after a collision with a tree on Big Silver run at Red Lodge Mountain. Hart died of blunt force trauma to the chest, according to a statement attributed to Lt. Josh McQuillan of the Carbon County Sheriff’s Department that appeared in a Sunday, Feb. 22 story in the Billings (Montana) Gazette….(read more)
  2. Aluminum bottles you are selling may NOT be BPA-free (Aug. 19, 2009) -- True or false: All aluminum bottles are BPA-free. The answer would be false. When concern over BPA in polycarbonate bottles reached a feverish pitch in late 2007 and early 2008 SNEWS® penned an editorial, “SNEWS® View: BPA reaction driven by the power of consumer perception, right or wrong." Just over a year later, we revealed that those selling aluminum bottles as a polycarbonate alternative had done so with linings that also contained BPA. (read more
  3. Mike Wallenfels departs Mountain Hardwear for Timbuk2 (Nov. 6, 2009) -- Mike Wallenfels dropped a bombshell on staff members at the end of Mountain Hardwear's sales meeting on Nov. 5: He was resigning as president of the company, effective immediately. Insiders told SNEWS® that it was obvious only a very few folks knew, as the news was greeted with stunned silence and more than a scattering of tears…. (read more)
  4. SNEWS® View: South Butt drags North Face into PR quagmire (Oct. 9, 2009) -- In early September 2009, Jordan LaVine, a lawyer for The North Face, apparently sent a cease-and-desist letter to Jimmy Winklemann, who at 18 years is both a freshman at the University of Missouri and the owner of the South Butt apparel line…. (read more)
  5. Industry Watch: Keeping an eye on layoffs, bankruptcies and closings… Who’s next? (Feb 2, 2009) -- Among mainstream stores and suppliers, lists grow longer each day it seems of shutterings, bankruptcies, layoffs and rumors of demise. From Mervyns and Home Depot, to Circuit City and Starbucks, we read daily about the financial and human toll the economy is taking on businesses. The same sadly holds true for our industries. We hear reports and rumors daily… (read more)
  6. Retailer of the Year - Best Sustainable Business: Half Moon Outfitters leads the way in green building (March 16, 2009) -- Patagonia, Prana, REI, Timberland. There are a handful of companies in the outdoor industry that have become synonymous with being green. Founded in 1993, Half Moon Outfitters has gained a similar reputation for being a leader in sustainable business practices. A collection of eight specialty stores in South Carolina and Georgia, Half Moon Outfitters received the 2009 SNEWS®/Backpacker Retailer of the Year award for "Best in sustainable business." … (read more)
  7. Michael Crooke and Prana part ways -- Theodosakis resumes control (Oct. 26, 2009) -- Prana and Michael Crooke, hired as CEO in December 2008, have parted ways, effective immediately, SNEWS® was told by Prana founder Beaver Theodosakis. He has stepped in as interim CEO of the company…. (read more)
  8. 2008 Annual SNEWS® Specialty Outdoor Retail Survey: The best and worst (Feb. 16, 2009) -- Welcome to the 2008 SNEWS® Outdoor Retailer Survey summary, where outdoor specialty retailers get to speak their minds and offer industry observations and commentary on what is great, good, not so good and desperately needs improvement in the industry…. (read more)
  9. The SNEWS® View: Hotel-room exhibiting doesn’t count as supporting the trade show (Dec. 09, 2009) -- Really? You want to take me off the trade show floor to walk to the Monaco in the winter in who knows what kind of weather simply because your company was too cheap to exhibit at Winter Market?... (read more)
  10. Patagonia ends marketing and sales relationship with SIGG after BPA news (Sept. 7, 2009) -- Patagonia has informed SNEWS® that it has ended its co-branding and co-marketing relationship with SIGG as a direct result of the news first published by SNEWS on Aug. 19 that SIGG knew its bottles were lined with an epoxy coating that contained BPA prior to August 2008…. (read more)

Readers' most-read outdoor news releases of 2009

For several years now, SNEWS® has given its All Access subscribers the ability to post and edit their own new releases directly in our site. As a result, those news release headlines posted by subscribers go out in the regularly scheduled SNEWS headline alert emails and they are included in our SNEWS Digest that is published each week. So, we also wondered, which were your most highly read outdoor news releases for 2009?

  1. Fischer Skis and Bjorn Daehlie to Raise Funds at the American Birkebeiner for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (Feb. 11, 2009) -- Fischer Skis today announced that Bjorn Daehlie, the Olympic and world cross country ski champion, will help the company fundraise for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society at the 36th American Birkebeiner. Daehlie will autograph his Fischer race skis for a raffle whose proceeds will be donated to the MS Society, the beneficiary of this year’s Birkie Skiers for Cures… (read more
  1. Mammut’s Lobuche Jacket and Gym System Win ISPO Outdoor Awards (Feb. 9, 2009) -- Mammut, the Swiss quality providers of alpine gear and apparel, has been recognized for innovation and quality once again by ISPO, the international outdoor and sporting goods trade show. Mammut took two of only six awards granted, one for the new ultralight, super breathable Lobuche weatherproof jacket... (read more
  1. Statement by Sally Jewell, REI President and CEO about Obama and Salaz (June 17, 2009) -- On behalf of REI’s thousands of employees, we applaud the recent actions of President Obama and Secretary Salazar to encourage Americans to get outside and enjoy the wonders of nature…. (read more
  1. Johnson Outdoors announces new watercraft marketing and sales team (May 4, 2009) -- Johnson Outdoorstoday announced the following changes to its Watercraft marketing and sales teams: Scott Forristall has been appointed Business Director– Watercraft,and will oversee new product development, marketing and international Watercraft businesses, and work closely with sales on plans and promotions…(read more
  1. Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Elects Four (Sept. 1, 2009) -- The Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Committee announced today that it has elected four new members to be inducted into the Hall of Fame next May, one retailer and three manufacturers…. (read more)
  1. REI Announces 2008 Vendor Partner Award Winners (Jan. 23, 2009) -- Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), a national retail cooperative providing quality outdoor gear and clothing, announced its 2008 vendor partner awards today at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show. CamelBak Products, LLC, best known for their hydration backpacks and water bottles, received top honors as REI’s Vendor Partner-of-the-Year…. (read more)
  1. Patagonia terminates relationship With SIGG water bottles (Sept. 8, 2009) -- Patagonia formally announces today a termination of all co-branding and co-marketing efforts with SIGG, Inc. It has come to Patagonia’s attention from recent news reports that a Bisphenol A (BPA) epoxy coating was used in most aluminum SIGG bottles manufactured prior to August 2008, despite earlier assurances from Sigg that the liners of their bottles did not contain BPA…. (read more)
  1. Department of Goods confirms: "Full Price is Dead" (Nov. 11, 2009) -- Starting today, the era of settling for shoddy gear in questionable colors and tent sizes has passed. Today, the Department of Goods, a new online gear megastore, opens its e-doors -- to the lucky few, that is…. (read more
  1. Patagonia Footwear and Chaco Brands Get New Marketing Leadership (Oct. 2, 2009) -- Continuing to demonstrate its commitment to grow all brands within its Outdoor Group, Wolverine World Wide will put additional marketing and product development support in place for both Patagonia Footwear and Chaco. Entering its fourth year at market and with a growing sales force, Patagonia Footwear will strategically restructure its internal team with Jamie Barbor being appointed to director of Patagonia Footwear…. (read more
  1. Another American Climbers Body Found in China -- believed to be Wade Johnson (June 8, 2009) -- A second body has been found on Mount Edgar (6818 meters/22,368 feet), China, and is believed to be Wade Johnson, 24, of Boulder, CO…. (read more)

--Michael Hodgson