Congratulations to Scarpa and Black Diamond for pulling off a minor miracle. SNEWSÂ® sources informed us that, on Nov. 11, the Italian boot manufacturer completed replacing all of the cuffs on the recalled T2X telemark boot. We are told that most of the stores in the United States have received (or will soon receive) replacement inventory, and all recalled boots should be replaced by Thanksgiving.
Problems with the production models first came to light at the beginning of October (see SNEWSÂ® story by clicking here), and an official recall was issued on Oct. 5 -- right when the snow was starting to fly. The timing couldn't have been worse for a major new telemark boot that had already garnered significant consumer interest.
But the troops rallied and got it done. Roch Horton, category manager at Black Diamond, told SNEWSÂ®, â€œKudos to the Italians for quickly tooling up a separate factory line, deconstructing, de-buckling, remolding, re-buckling and reconstructing without putting as much as a scratch or a finger print on the lower boot. The new cuffs are bomber. They could crank out 350 plus pairs on a good day. Just for kicks, I tried to take one apart and rebuild it here at the BD shop in similar fashion -- took me almost two hours!â€
While the actual numbers of recalled boots involved are proprietary, some simple math from numbers in our reporter's notebooks, numbers retailers have provided, and market size numbers from other sources indicates around 10,000 pairs of boots were likely returned to the factory, refurbished and reshipped in not much over a month. People behind the scenes inform us that the ever-modest Horton spearheaded the project that involved numerous warehouse and logistics crews on both sides of the Atlantic, not to mention a lot of cargo flying Lufthansa.
According to Chris Clark, the national sales manager for the new Scarpa distributor that takes over in 2006 (see SNEWSÂ® report by clicking here), "While I am involved, it's almost exclusively from the sideline. Watching BD and Scarpa busting ass has been fun -- if the relationship between the two were not where it is, Scarpa NorAm woulda been hosed!â€
SNEWSÂ® View: Quite simply, this is an astounding accomplishment! A lot of elbow grease and midnight oil has turned a near disaster into a minor (albeit costly) blip. Both Scarpa and BD come out looking much better to retailers than either would have otherwise. Most importantly, with a third of the ski resorts in North America already open, and the rest soon to follow, retailers now have the product they'd hoped for to sell to consumers, and consumers will have the product they'd hoped for and, as a result, won't miss many all-important ski days.