WinterSports Hot Sheet: Mountain High, K2, Volkl, Bode & the Pope

Mountain High CEO buys majority shares...K2 licenses Planet Earth...Marker-Volkl announces plans to attend Outdoor Retailer Winter Market...Bode signs on as Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month ambassador...and the Pope says skiing is "special."
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Karl Kapuscinski, president and CEO of Mountain High Resort Associates, has purchased all remaining shares in the tenant-operator firm, making him the majority owner of the company that leases the ski and snowboard resort from CNL Lifestyle Properties, Mountain High Resort reported on Nov. 15.

“Karl is a visionary in the ski industry and we are happy that he will continue to lead Mountain High as owner of Mountain High Resort Associates,” said Byron Carlock, president and CEO of CNL Lifestyle Properties, a real estate investment trust that owns Mountain High Resort and 21 other ski and mountain-lifestyle properties.

Mountain High boasts roughly 500,000 skier visits annually. Last season was the resort’s most profitable on record and spanned 188 days, it reported.

K2 Sports licenses Planet Earth to W.L. Activewear

K2 Sports has entered an agreement to license its Planet Earth Clothing brand to Phil Dixon of Montreal, Quebec. Dixon’s W.L. Activewear company will immediately assume responsibility for Planet Earth’s global operations.

“This is a rare opportunity to take an established brand that is highly credible in the action sports market and deeply tied into the movement toward eco-conscious design and grow it on a global scale,” Dixon said. “It’s an ideal fit for the program that we have in place.”

Dixon’s company has managed Canadian distribution in past years for Patagonia, as well as multiple outdoor and action sports brands.

"Our portfolio of brands and businesses, from Atlas Snowshoes to Zoot triathlon gear, are performing well despite a somewhat challenging environment,” said K2 Sports CEO Robert Marcovitch. “With little knowledge of the highly competitive casual apparel industry, we believe that the transitioning of Planet Earth to W.L. Activewear will allow us to concentrate on our many core competencies in technical equipment.”

Völkl to attend Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, launches new App

Marker-Völkl will attend Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in 2011 to support its Marker Tour F10 and F12 bindings and Völkl skis, Geoff Curtis, the director of marketing for the two brands, confirmed to SNEWS on Nov. 15. Curtis said, “We cannot serve all of the markets that are out there without attending the Outdoor Retailer show,” adding that the move “really reflects the expansion of our product lines.”

In other news, Marker-Völkl announced it has partnered with Navionics to market to consumers and support its branding efforts and retailer network at the regional level through text alerts within the Navionics Ski app that will inform users about products, services and on-hill demo opportunities offered by the company.

“In launching the Navionics ski app, we wanted to partner with a supplier that could help us build visibility and demonstrate the features packed into our app -- what better brands than Marker and Völkl to help us showcase the fun,” said Dana Fenner, director of business development for Navionics.

Bode Miller signs on as ambassador for Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month

Olympic gold medal winner Bode Miller will serve as an ambassador for Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (LSSM), organizers announced Nov. 16. Miller is sponsored by HEAD Ski Company, which is also a sponsor for LSSM. He joins Glen Plake as an ambassador for LSSM.

Miller is the most decorated U.S. skier of all time. He is a five-time Olympic medalist: gold (Combined), silver (SuperG) and bronze (Downhill) in Vancouver 2010; and two silvers (Combined and Giant Slalom) in Salt Lake City in 2002.

“I’m pleased to be working with Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month to encourage children and adults to get involved with skiing and snowboarding,” Miller said. “With childhood obesity at an all-time high, this program makes it easy for anyone to take some lessons and get some exercise out on the snow.”

LSSM is a national initiative in the U.S. to encourage children and adults to get out on the snow during January and take lessons from a professional instructor. More than 300 resorts throughout the country are offering free or affordable programs directed to beginners and those with some experience.

The Pope tells Italian ski instructors that skiing is ‘special’

Speaking to a group of Italian ski instructors at the Vatican -- all in full snow gear -- Pope Benedict told the skiers that sport is a way to “develop healthy competition as well as human and Christian values.”

Pope Benedict XVI noted that while skiing, one truly appreciates God's creation of mountains and allows time to reflect on his beauty. He also expressed the important role that ski instructors play in terms of educating today's youth. Along with teaching a sport, they also are at the forefront of teaching environmental issues associated with the mountains and nature.

He said, “Skiing is practiced in a mountain environment, an environment which in a special way makes us feel small, giving back to us the right dimension of our being creatures.”

I’d love to hear his statements after he gets a few more powder days under his feet.

On Oct. 6, 2010, veteran journalist Peter Kray joined the SNEWS team and is now editor of the new SNEWS WinterSports channel. We trust you are enjoying the full offering of WinterSports news. Be sure to email your friends and let them know the best WinterSports news has arrived -- just in time for the start of the winter season. Got WinterSports news? Send your WinterSports news to Kray at pkray@snewsnet.com. Subscribers can also post WinterSports news releases directly to the SNEWS website. Email us at snewsbox@snewsnet.com to learn about posting your own news releases, or for any other questions or comments. We love to hear from our readers!

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