Sochi, Russia – Come February, top-tier ice climbers will get a chance to show their stuff at the Sochi Olympics, where ice climbing will be premiered as a demonstration sport. Bringing the sport into a public arena means a few adaptations have to be made, however. Instead of real ice, climbers will be working their way up and around fake canyons made of a tough, foam-like material. As a demonstration sport, no medals will be awarded, but the sport's governing body, the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation, said on its website that it hopes ice climbing will soon become popular enough with spectators to become a full-fledged Olympic event.
Munich, Germany – As more and more sporting goods companies are getting involved in a variety of charity, social welfare and sustainability efforts, the ISPO Inspire space at the organization's 2014 conference in Munich will be expanded by 42 percent. The space features brands who have pioneered successful social responsibility initiatives, and is hosted by a pair of websites, Brands for Good and Greenroom Voice, that are dedicated to helping brands communicate their new initiatives with consumers.
Seattle, Wash. – Mountain Safety Research sponsored the 2013-2014 North American Film Tour, which visits more than 50 locations this year. This is the 10th year that MSR is a sponsor of the tour. It also sponsored the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, which ran from Oct. 26 to Nov. 3. The festival brings 300 outdoor films together, and the tour takes them on the road.
The tour screenings' proceeds go to local groups in the destination cities, including community outdoor programs, causes, nonprofits, search and rescue operations, adaptive sports programs, and conservation/trail maintenance groups.
San Diego, Calif. – Chaos Headwear is sponsoring the key fundraiser for San Diego charity Outdoor Outreach, which mentors at-risk and under-served youth via outdoor experiences. The brand has also individually sponsored one of Outdoor Outreach's senior instructors, snowboarder Jesse Delgado.
The fundraiser, Reach the Peak, is happening on Nov. 9. It raises cash for the organization by asking outdoor enthusiasts to lace up their trail running shoes and participate in either a 5K or a 10K race to the top of San Diego's Black Mountain.
Boise, Idaho – This year, 5Point Film will hit the northwest when it takes its film festival on the road for a series of one-night events. The mini-festivals will showcase a mix of highlights from 5Point's main festival earlier this spring, along with entries from local filmmakers in each destination. Plus, a recreation fair at each location will give visitors a chance to meet with their local outdoor businesses, guiding services and nonprofit associations.
At the weeklong event, more than 300 of the top paddling athletes from around the world competed for the title of World Champion on the 2013 wave. This is the first time since 1996 that championship freestyle kayaking has come to the United States. Spectators were invited to join demonstrations and public contests, to enjoy live music and art or take part in guided rafting trips, zip line tours and other activities.
Wa’a Kaikahi, Hawaii - On Labor Day Weekend, Team OluKai and more than 2,500 other paddlers took part in the Annual Queen Lili’uoakalani Race on the Big Island of Hawaii. The 3-day race is the world’s largest long-distance outrigger canoe race, which includes OC1, OC2, stand up paddle, single and double hull canoe races.
The opening day events included an 18- mile race of Wa’a Kaikahi, or single hull canoes - from Kailua to Honaunau, for both male and female competitors. The race was followed by an award ceremony, torchlight parade and dance. The second day of competition included OC1, OC2, SUP, single and double-hull races, a luau and awards ceremony. The final day of competition wrapped up with a 17.5 mile paddle from Kailua-Kona to Kona Village – called the Ali'i Challenge. That race was divided into two triangle courses.
The upcoming European Outdoor Summit, organized by the European Outdoor Group, has brought Larry Pluimer, of Amazon, to give the keynote speech at the event, which runs from Oct. 16-18 in Stockholm, Sweden. Pluimer joined Amazon.com in 2008 to set up and develop the online retailer’s outdoor and sports category. He is expected to give his own perspective on Amazon and will discuss the development of the digital economy and its effect on outdoor brands and retailers.