ICYMI: What's Happening Around the Industry

Welcome to our weekly roundup of noteworthy outdoorsy headlines. We’ve combed the social networks and scoured the news outlets to curate some of the most relevant and most intriguing stories out there. Read. Enjoy. Share.

February 15, 2017

February 9—13, 2017

That Escalated Quickly 

The great debate over Outdoor Retailer and Utah’s public lands policy continues. OIAs stance? “Step up to the table, don’t walk away.” If our industry doesn’t stick together, says Executive Director Amy Roberts, the influence we’ve spent years cultivating will dissolve. We’re all in this, together, for public lands and for our businesses.  

 Late last week, members of the OIA board of directors released this statement explaining why the industry should come together at summer market in Salt Lake City 

A few more boycott announcements came from Peak Design and Metolius, while brands such as REI, The North Face, Ibex, Cascade Designs, Vasque and Black Diamond are committing to show up in Salt Lake City this summer to “unite and fight.Black Diamond’s Founder Peter Metcalf penned this letter to the Utah delegation and got 30 companies to sign on.  

And it isn’t just brands and retailers who have joined the conversation. Conservation Alliance has a thought or two on the matter, as well 

In response, Utah’s Governor Herbert penned this op-ed, claiming “Utah loves its public lands, and I will partner more closely with the outdoor industry.” To which OIA and member companies said: Great, let’s sit down with level heads and talk about it. Yesterday, OIA released this statement from Amy Roberts outlining what “partner more closely with the outdoor industry,” should look like. In a conversation scheduled for tomorrow, OIA and industry leaders will ask the governor to embrace and actively support the outdoor recreation economy’s role in the state and find ways to grow an economy that is generating more than $12 billion in consumer spending, supporting 122,000 jobs in the state, paying $3.6 billion in salaries and wages and contributing more than $856 million in state and local tax revenue.   

In the meantime, Outdoor Retailer has created a page on its website where members and attendees can voice their ideas for an industry rally during the summer show and get more information as it becomes available. 

Additional Reading: 

 And In Case There’s Any Doubt 

Our industry stands together in our support our nation’s public lands. Last month, we issued this open letter to the incoming administration. At the time (mid January), we had more than 100 signatures from outdoor industry CEOs. Now, just a month later we have 215 outdoor businesses standing up for the backbone of our industry, America’s public lands. See them all here.

Virginia Politicians Ditch the Politics  

And now for something completely different: Lawmakers in Virginia are ditching indoor meetings and participating in an outdoor caucus. Because how better to learn and understand the value of the outdoor recreation economy than by taking your legislators out for a hike?     

 Active Interest Media Loses Interest 

Alpine skiing’s original dirtbag diary is no longer. Active Interest Media has decided toonce and for all—consolidate its two vertical downhill titles, SKI and the 70-year-old Skiing. Another way of saying it is that they’re halting publication of Skiing. Current publisher Andy Clurman told The Denver Post, “We’re going for a bigger tent approach,” likening the consolidation to a traditional ski resort, where various skier types can all find their happy place. “There’s a terrain park on one side. Expert steeps up high. Gently rolling groomers down low. It’s a one-stop playground for every type of skier.” That’s a statement at which more than a few of Skiing‘s longtime readers and former staffers are probably rolling their eyes, given that Skiing was the anti-resort magazine. Establishment ski resorts—the kind with heated sidewalks, manufactured base villages and Michelin-starred restaurantswere decidedly unhappy places to the Skiing crowd. They much preferred gritty, no-frills hills like Alta, Silverton or Alpine Meadows. Or, better still, virgin backcountry. Not surprisingly, former Skiing editor-in-chief and current editorial director for Mountain Magazine, Marc Peruzzi, wrote a fitting eulogy to the magazine and its unique brand of storytelling.  

Outdoor Tourism + The Big Sky State = Happy Economics 

Last year, Montana greeted 12.3 million visitors–big deal for a state with a population that barely scratches the one million mark. And they’re not coming for city slicking; they’re flocking to the outdoors. Norma Nickerson, Director of University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research said it best, “The outdoors is our business. If it weren’t for our mountains, lakes and streamsand access to those placesour way of life and the economy here would be different. Our economy wouldn’t be the same and there would be less people spending money here.” Yeah, what she said.   

Nature, It’s Good for You 

As outdoorists, we already knew this to be true: We are wired to be outside. Beyond the predictable feel-goods, time spent in nature can influence big ticket items like helping veterans cope with PTSD, building community between neighbors and maybe even reducing crime rates. The great outdoors has also been proven to help students bring home report cards with better grades 

Neptune’s New Groove 

Following an announcement late last year that it had filed bankruptcy, the parent company of one of Boulder’s outdoor institution’s—Neptune Mountaineering—announced it had found a buyer for the retail shop/mountaineering museum. And it’s a local family, to boot.   

The Year of Clean Water? 
LifeStraw’s Follow the Liters program reached a milestone in Kenya, providing safe drinking water for more than 618,000 school children. And according to the water filtration brand, this is just the beginning in a year of high impact.  

The Blessing of a Family Disconnect 
In an effort to encourage consumers to tune out and reconnect, O.A.R.S. launched a #100HoursUnplugged social media campaign. The project challenges families to turn off their smartphones and tune into nature together. Count us in–err, count us out. You know what we mean.  

Clean Your Goggles 
Climate change is real, and sometimes, the outdoor industry contributes to the problem. Protect Our Winters and Shred announced a partnership to fight climate change and inspire the snow sports industry to “reduce waste and reassess their manufacturing processes.” That means bringing new life to waste byproducts from the manufacturing process and innovating products to lessen environmental impact, so you can shred the gnar without destroying the planet. Shred’s newest goggle—a sustainable rigis a shining example. Shred will donate 2 percent of the goggle’s sales to POW to support education and advocacy. 

Want more from the industry? Check out last week’s ICYMI and tweet us with your finds for the top outdoor stories for next week’s edition.