Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Now This is Interesting...

At the OIA industry breakfast, Bainbridge Graduate Institute announced the addition of an Outdoor Industry Concentration to its MBA in Sustainable Business program. Now, this would normally look like a small college simply trying to market itself, but take a look at some of the industry folks who are advising on their Sustainable Business program:

* Steve Rendle, President, Americas of The North Face
* Sarah Severn, Director of Horizons, Corporate Responsibility of Nike
* Gary Smith, President/General Manager of Timberland Outdoor Group & SVP Global Supply Chain of Timberland
* Rick Ridgeway, Vice President of Communications and Environmental Initiatives & Mountaineer of Patagonia
* Sheryl O'Loughlin, CEO of Clif Bar
* Diana Simmons, Sustainability Manager of Clif Bar
* Jared Fischer, Director of Escape Adventures
* Brooke Williams, Executive Director of the Murie Center
* Chris Van Dyke, President & CEO of NAU
* Matt Hyde, SVP Marketing and Merchandising of REI
* Kevin Hagen, Program Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility of REI


This Week in The B.O.S.S. Report

The annual SIA show review took up most of our real estate this week - and it was a very good show. In spite of the lack of snow, retailers were relatively up-beat.

here are some excerpts:

Black Diamond made their official debut at SIA after several years of absence. The company feels that it has been evolving into more of a ski company for the last several years...

Head’s business increased nearly 14% in the U.S. market according to the company’s North American management team...

Movement Skis was creating quite a buzz on the show floor due to their premium backcountry and freeride skis... The company uses rather exotic woods in the cores of its skis, which it buys off of a tree farm that specializes in high-end sailing decks...

Salomon is preparing to move its headquarters to Utah sometime in June or July, with much of the current Oregon-based team deciding to remain behind...

Marker created two all-new bindings this year, catering to two similar markets. For the park & pipe skier, the Jester offers a 16 DIN setting and park-specific features like low rotational weight to make spins faster and easier. This same binding platform was incorporated into a backcountry AT set-up for the park & pipe skier who wants to take his or her skills into the big mountains...

On the snowboard side of the show there were more skis than ever. Black Skis was launched this year by Sapient snowboard’s parent company AMS. The brand is a low-price, high performance line of freeride skis and was described as “our response to ski companies making cheap snowboards.” The line starts at $70 wholesale...

Bonfire now claims to be the “solid” number two snowboard apparel brand behind Burton, and even out-sold Burton in pants this year...

Holden is going into its fifth year and was the second most progressive company on the floor when it comes to environmentally conscious design, with the first being Patagonia...

Here's a LINK to the rest

Monday, January 29, 2007

OR Day1-2-3

Super busy show for me this year. Not too much time to update the blog, but here's a few classic photos...

Here's Mr. Neptune himself at Julbo's Party...

Black Diamond's latest contribution to the ice climbing world...

DMM will be launching the world's lightest carabiner this spring. Next to it is an interesting stainless steel belay device.

I figured since everyone else had published a photo of NTN I should too...

Pete Takeda - a very close second place in the big wall cook off (Jim Bridwell won...)

Kim Miller After One Year with Scarpa N.A.

Gabcast! Kim Miller Interview

Kim talks about what Scarpa has been able to accomplish in the year since he took over.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Here and Nau...

Gabcast! Here and Nau...

An interview with Nau co-founder Ian Yolles

Monday, January 22, 2007

This Week in The B.O.S.S. Report

We had some pretty big news happening this week, but that usually happens right before trade show season starts.

o Environmental Concerns drive technology for vendors
and retailers alike.
o SIA Retail Audit: Global Warming is Impacting Retail Sales...
o Five Regional Magazines Form Alliance.
o Lowa Boots Acquires X-Socks U.S. Distribution.
o Peregrine Opens New Western Warehouse.
o Cloudveil Parent SBI Sells Off Fila Business...
o Colorado Sees Record Skier Visits.
o Malden Sale Hits a Potential Roadblock.
o Yue Yuen gets China lift.
o Other Stories include OIWC, Sugoi, Spy, Optic Nerve,
Osprey, Nikwax, Icebreaker, and many more...

The Malden story was by far the biggest news.

But the cover story on "green design" was equally as important to the industry.

...However today, the majority of the advances seem to be taking place in footwear. Simple has created their line of eco-friendly shoes, dubbed the Green Toe initiative; Timberland is putting FDA-style “Green Index” labels on all of their footwear and powering their warehouses with solar energy; Teva is launching their “curbside collection” made out of recycled plastic bottles; and Merrell has licensed the Patagonia name and launched their own “green” footwear line.

In addition, Simple and Deckers are hosting the first ecoETHICS forum at the WSA show on February 3rd, 2007. The forum is designed to bring all footwear companies together to share best practices in green design and marketing....

Back in Las Vegas...

...Again. Last night I went to the SIA fashion show, and just like last year, it impressed me.

I'll try to get pictures and notes up shortly...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

If the shoe fits...

"Crocs is one of the most forward-thinking companies we have ever seen," says Michael Goldberg, Zimmerman's Chief Marketing Officer. "They're not just committed to bringing the world good products. They're also committed to doing a world of good with those products. That combination can be a powerful force on a global level, and we wanted to play on their team."


He's Back...

It looks like Chris Denny is back with his own PR firm, Denny Ink.

Two clients so far, Pistil Designs and Powderhorn.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Let the bidding war begin...

Second Company Bids on Malden Mills

A private equity firm has made a bid for Malden Mills Industries Inc., a textile maker that employs more than 800 workers at its plants in Lawrence, Mass., and in Hudson. Philadelphia-based Chyrsalis Capital Partners on Friday said it was offering $44 million, an offer similar to a tentative deal the textile maker reached with Boston-based Gordon Brothers Group before filing for bankruptcy protection.

GoBlog's Newsletter

This just came into my In-box today - I'm not too sure what they are trying to accomplish with this.

Cloudveil Parent Sells Off FILA

SBI Sells Fila Business to Fila Korea
SportsOneSource Media Posted: 1/16/2007
Fila Korea Ltd. and Sport Brands International Ltd. (SBI) have entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of the global Fila footwear and apparel business to Fila Korea for an undisclosed purchase price.

The sale is structured as a sale of SBI's subsidiary, Fila Luxembourg, which holds the rights to the worldwide use of the brands and trademarks of FILA. SBI will retain Cloudveil Mountain Works, Inc. and Motionwear, Inc. following the sale.

Mr. Yoon-Soo (Gene) Yoon, the Chairman of Fila Korea who, in 2005, completed a successful management buyout of Fila Korea stated "We are very excited to acquire the world-wide Fila business. Fila is widely recognized as one of the premier global sports brands and we believe it has tremendous untapped potential. We look forward to working closely with Fila's talented management team and regard the existing employees as a valuable asset of the business."


Monday, January 15, 2007

What I love About North Carolina...

This post was inspired by Dougald's post over at The Mountain World on what he loves about Colorado.

While Colorado is getting record snowfall, we are seeing record high temperatures. This weekend it was over 70 degrees and our average temperature in in the high 40's. So instead of complaining about no snow, I decided to take advantage of the weather, and make the best of it.

I was lucky enough to get away to Stone Mountain State Park in northern NC and get a little steep friction climbing in. For those of you who have never climbed on Stone Mountain granite, it is about as close to pure friction climbing as you can get. The 500 foot tall dome has some featured routes, but anything over 5.7 is pretty much a blank face and you need to rely on the friction of your sticky rubber entirely.

Stone Mountain is also notoriously run-out.

20 foot run-outs are standard and nearly every route has at least one 40 footer. This weekend I was watching a very "southern" climber and his wife/girlfriend climb a 5.9 just to the left of where my friend and I were getting ready to start our climb. He was about 25 feet out from his bolt and 45 feet off of the ledge where we were all hanging out.

As he pulled into the crux moves, he smeared his left foot up high, and as he shifted his weight and lifted his right foot up for the next non-existent foothold, he started sliding down - on one foot. He dropped five of six feet and then just stopped - for no apparent reason other than some strange glitch in the laws of physics

He looked down at his wife/girlfriend and without any fear or trepidation said, "Well that was strange, wasn't it honey."

I thought he was talking about the fact that he didn't fall and completely ledge-out but apparently he was talking about the fact that he didn't do the crux move. He promptly climbed back up to his high point and tried again, and slid back down five or six feet again.

"Well damn, I just don't understand," he said as he climbed right back up to his high point again. At this point I thought he was pressing his luck, but he chalked up, took a few deep breaths, and fired off the move.

I don't think there are too many other places where you can say you fell twice, from the same spot, 25 feet above your last piece, and still got the on-sight.

This Week in The B.O.S.S. Report

Each year ICR (Integrated Corporate Relations) hosts a massive conference dedicated to consumer goods companies. CEOs, CFOs, and any number of other C(X)Os show up with power point presentations in-tow and talk about their business plans for the coming year. After their presentations, they are bombarded with questions from financial analysts and the media, all searching for the keys to the company's future financial performance.

As a journalist covering this event, it is a massive undertaking, sifting through dozens of presentations and Q&A sessions to find the right information for the right audience. The end result is this week's BOSS Report and Sports Executive Weekly. Next to our trade show issues, you won't find more information about the state of the industry today. Also, you won't find most of this information anywhere else, unless you attended the conference yourself.

This year we covered:
VF Corp (VFC)
Quiksilver (ZQK)
Royal Robbins (PXG)
Crocs (CROX)
K2, Inc. (KTO)
Zumiez (ZUMZ)
Volcom (VLCM)
Oakley (OO)
Wolverine World Wide (WWW)
Deckers (DECK)
Sport Chalet (SPCHA)
Cabela's (CAB)
and many more...



Friday, January 12, 2007

A couple of interesting facts I learned...

...while I was covering the ICR XChange Conference.

VF Corp brings over 800,000 SKUs to market each year.

Quiksilver expects Rossi apparel to grow from $50 million to $100 million in total by 2008, and then to $150 million in 2010.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

B.O.S.S. Add on...

We ran a story on OR's Backcountry Base Camp on the cover of BOSS this week, and Kenji just wrote us with some thoughts:

Only a few things I would have added....BBC is at its core a VIP event, so we are only interested in core winter hardgoods buyers/media attendance increases. We've negotiated half price tix at 5 resorts in the Wasatch, so general show-goers have many options for riding/skiing before and after the show...that's some good news too. Lastly it's worth mentioning the Base Camp Bash, the apres party at the Alpine Rose at Brighton.

Anyway thanks for the press coverage, and hope tp see you in the aisles at OR!

Kenji at OR

Coming to a Mailbox Near You...

The new and improved Outdoor Business will be hitting mailboxes shortly. As usual, I'm interested in any form of constructive feedback from anyone who's seen it.

Looking for an Ad agency?

I'm sure the Nepalese tourism board is. They recently launched a tourism promotion campaign with the tag line "Have You Seen Nepal?"

The only problem is that they made posters with this picture:

You'll notice the shot on the right is Machu Picchu in Peru...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Not Again...

Malden Files for Chapter 11 to Facilitate Sale of Company
SportsOneSource Media Posted: 1/10/2007
Malden Mills Industries, Inc.'s board of directors has unanimously voted to approve the sale of the Company to Gordon Brothers Group of Boston, Massachusetts for $44 million. Malden Mills will continue normal manufacturing operations at both its facilities in Lawrence, Massachusetts and Hudson, New Hampshire.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Recycled Nylon 6?

It looks like the most commonly used synthetic fabric in the world is now recyclable...

Toray Industries Develops Recycled Nylon
SportsOneSource Media Posted: 1/9/2007
Toray Industries has developed a line of recycled fibers and fabrics called Recyclon. In addition to recycled polyester products, Toray is introducing recycled nylon 6 fibers for the first time, and a collection of new textiles based on these fibers.

In this new process, Toray uses the off-spec yarn generated during its virgin nylon production to create post-industrial recycled content yarn.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Coming Soon to a Mailbox Near You...

It looks like the New Telemark Norm could have some advantages for boot makers...

From Scarpa's Press release

For more than 50 years SCARPA has been a innovator in the world of alpine sports, and for Fall 2007 it will be part of the most-talked-about current effort in the telemark world by introducing the Terminator X for the NTN (New Telemark Norm) system. The Terminator X will also be compatible with alpine-touring bindings, bringing to reality the oft-talked-about concept of one boot for both telemark and AT systems.

NTN was designed from the outset to address the existing short-comings and design-limitations that are inherent with the current 75mm norm: awkward walking, sloppy binding interface, and its primitive technology – especially compared to alpine standards.

The SCARPA Terminator X is a tall three-buckle boot that’s equally at home touring in the backcountry or ripping the ski hill. The tall upper creates power for driving big skis, while the lower boot has an internal Torsion Frame optimizing lateral stiffness with tour-friendly flex. The boot retails for $649 and can be demoed at the Outdoor Retailer Backcountry Base Camp.

From a telemark standpoint, the most notable feature of the Terminator X is its lack of the traditional squared-off millimeter sole that is the hallmark of most telemark boots. Instead, the NTN binding clasps the more standard rounded front of the sole as well as a specialized lip underneath the front of the arch of the boot, creating a very rigid interface that transfers more power to ski edge than other bindings.

Not having the 75 mm. toe found on most telemark boots also allows the Terminator X to be designed so it is compatible with alpine-touring bindings. The Terminator X includes tech fittings that make it compatible with the lightweight Dynafit binding, while the bellows necessary for the telemark turn add to the boot’s tourability in an AT setup.

This Week in The B.O.S.S. Report

... I spoke with Alan Yiu, the co-founder of Westcomb. Like most of the company founders, CEO's and presidents I speak with in the outdoor industry, he's a bright, and very driven individual. He's also doing something very different with his brand. Here are some excerpts:

When we started, we really noticed that a lot of the top brands were, I don’t want to say compromising, but they weren’t using the fabric technology that was available to them. So, I guess there’s no way around it, they were compromising their technology. So, we made a point of partnering with the top materials innovators to make sure our fabrics really perform...

...being different and taking risks, we have to do that all of the time, because right now there are a lot of people asking, ‘what are you all about?’ If we can’t answer that then we can’t win them over....

People ask me, “Why would you forgo sales over image?” Well, once your image
is gone, that’s it...

Also this week,

o Backcountry Base Camp shows promise in 2007.
o Urban Climber parent company acquires Climbing magazine.
o Conservation Alliance ad auction sees early success.
o OIA challenges industry to travel green.
o NJ Rock Gym wins amusement lawsuit.
o Garmin has a busy first week in 2007.
o West Marine Q4 comps slip.
o Zumiez December comps increase 11.5%.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Rumor Confirmed...

Urban Climber Parent Acquires Climbing Magazine
SportsOneSource Media Posted: 1/5/2007

Skram Media LLC, a platform company led by Mark Crowther, the publisher of Urban Climber Magazine and UCTV, announced today that it has completed the purchase of Climbing Magazine and from PRIMEDIA, Inc. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Climbing Magazine Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Thesenga will continue to serve in his role from the current location in Carbondale, Colorado.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Just heard that Urban Climber acquired Climbing Magazine...

The Sound of Rolling Doom

In case you don't have children, or aren't ever around them, Heelys happened over Christmas. In the days following the holiday, a trip to the mall or the grocery store saw few children if any actually walking around. No, they were rolling. This sight, of course, brought up the following conversation with my wife:
"How is it that they all manage to roll around like that and never fall?" she asked. To which I replied, "Well, its not like its hard, all you have to do is put down your toes to stop. I would imagine no one ever falls on those things."
In case you're wondering, even as I said those lines, my mind generated glorious visions of a kid eating it while rolling through the mall.
That night, my visions came through. Journeying along to the nearest Blockbuster, we found a movie and were stuck in line behind a mother and her two sons who found the tile section around the main counter to be their own personal Heelys park. I'm pretty sure everyone else in line was having the same though I was, "Wreck...Come on, destroy some stuff..."
Well as the mother moved up to pay for her movie, brother #1 came screaming around the counter expecting to stop near where his mother was in line, not where she was much closer at the register, which lead to his attempting what I can only assume was a rollerblade instinct stop as he promptly fell right on his butt. I stifled my laughter as he looked up, around, and put on the strong face. He arose and quietly rolled towards the exit, ready to leave the site of his fall.
His older brother, though, was not to be outdown. With a shout of "I can go faster," he careened around the edge of the counter and only then realized where mom was at. Trying to stop quickly, he opted for a spin move, which flung his arms into a candy display, knocking it on the ground, and spun him directly into a pillar that supported the rope for the line, which he took in the stomach, doubling over with an "oof!"
That's when I lost it, laughing uncontrollably. Mom lost it, too, berating the child and dragging him on his heels straight out of the video store.
So all this brought up the real question regarding Heelys in my mind, will a child ever again be able to dig his, or her, heels in the ground to stop what they dont want?

Skis go Retro...

"At SFr3,300 ($2,700) a pair, their price tag may raise a few eyebrows, but then again zai skis are no ordinary planks. The classic old-school wood-and-metal exterior exudes understated quality, hours of creative design, painstaking craftsmanship and first-class materials."


Holland, the land of my ancestors...



Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Magazine North of the Border...

Happy New Year!

We're back at it after a week away and hope everyone enjoyed their Holidays...