OD Products: The Ski Patrol Test

A 4:00 am call from a new rookie patroller wakes me up…“Morning Monty! Full control punch in at 5:45.” My sleep was already light as I was anticipating the call, so going back to bed is out of the question. After some breakfast, I look at the weather to see what it was up to overnight. I then head off to my part time job at Sundance Ski resort to help mitigate avalanche danger, before heading off to my full time job as a Sales Rep at Liberty Mountain. 
I have been working at Liberty Mountain for 7 months now and have been a Ski Patroller at Sundance for about 5 years.  It’s been great working for companies in the same industry that have the flexibility and understanding to allow me to work both jobs.

Having these two jobs also gives me a unique opportunity to use what I sell. In other words I can put the gear to the test in the morning and then be a walking testimonial that same afternoon! This season in particular I have been using the Denali line of gloves and the Power Wool Beanie from Outdoor Designs.

For day to day work, my go to glove is the Denali Worker. This glove is the work horse of the lineup. It is easy to put on and take off quickly, which is something I end up doing a lot when dealing with medical calls and the paper work that inevitably comes with them. It is a full leather, no frills, get the job done glove that will stand up to the rigorous tasks of patrolling (ie. pulling rope lines and hauling bamboo around the mountain)

The Denali glove is a great cold weather glove and is the one I normally pull out when doing avalanche control work. The leather is supple enough to allow me to perform tasks that require some finer manipulation while still keeping my gloves on. There has been more than one instance while prepping a bomb for deployment in frigid wind that I have been grateful for the gloves' dexterity! The one handed gauntlet closure on the wrists is also very handy and I found I can wear it over or under my hard shells as needed. 

Lastly the Power Wool Beanie is great when I need an extra kick of heat under my helmet, or for something a little lighter on the hike up. Anyone who has hiked or worked in ski clothing knows you do not keep your googles on while you hike. If you do they will be fogged up for the rest of the day and you won’t see a thing! Having the Power wool Beanie is like having a soft shell to hike up in. Once you get to the top, you can cool down for a second and then throw on your helmet and goggles right over it!

So far Outdoor Designs products have not failed to impress me and I look forward to continue testing them. Whether it is hoofing it up a hike in a foot of fresh snow or pulling an unfortunate skier off the mountain in a toboggan, OD products are getting the job done!    

Eric Montandon works on Ski Patrol at Sundance Mountain Resort and is a Sales Rep at Liberty Mountain.

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VAUDE Wins A.T. Kearney Family Award

As part of the A.T. Kearney consulting firm’s 361° Grad Initiative, VAUDE has been honored with the Family Award. This award is based on the results of employee surveys regarding family-friendliness which A.T. Kearney conducted nationwide. VAUDE and Kindernothilfe (a German aid organization for children) received the best scores from their employees and thus the A.T. Kearney Family Award.  
"More and more employees, including fathers, are frustrated with finding a balance between family and career," said Martin Sonnenschein, member of the Global Board of Directors at A.T. Kearney and initiator of its Family Award: "Many companies do not manage to align their processes, structures and culture to the needs of their employees. VAUDE and Kindernothilfe, in contrast, are a positive example of how to meet the challenges of achieving this balance," said Sonnenschein, who presented the 361° Grad award.

VAUDE and Kindernothilfe scored evenly in the category "Most family-friendly corporate culture.”  A culture of credible leadership, team spirit, and taking career anxieties seriously were ranked as exceptionally high at both organizations. VAUDE employees were also very satisfied with the good match between the services offered and their own needs.
Family friendliness at VAUDE
As an employer, VAUDE supports its employees in balancing work with family/private life. For example, VAUDE offers an on-site kindergarten, flexible working hours, part-time jobs, home office and job-sharing opportunities. All this contributes to the fact that women, despite having families and part-time positions, are able to develop professionally and follow a career; nearly 40 percent of executives at VAUDE are female. "We work hard to help our employees balance work and family as optimally as possible. This contributes to the fact that we have very dedicated employees who can flourish and develop their skills. In our experience, this is a crucial prerequisite for the success of a company," said Miriam Schilling, Head of Human Resources and Organization at VAUDE. 

Study shows need for action
A.T. Kearney’s study “Mehr Aufbegehren. Mehr Vereinbarkeit!“  (More rebelliousness. More unity!) shows that when it comes to family-friendliness, companies need to take action. Almost every second employee sees family responsibilities as having a negative impact on their career. Sonnenschein warns: "This conflict must be an alarm signal for the company. It is not just a cultural problem, but can also have a profound impact on the growth of an organization – companies don’t become successful organizations despite finding a balance, but rather because of it.” The A.T. Kearney Family Award, therefore, serves as a call for balance. In cooperation with the marketing and social research institute Infas, it was awarded this year for the second time and honors companies and organizations that are particularly successful when it comes to family-friendliness from the employees' perspective.
About A.T. Kearney
A.T. Kearney is one of the world's leading global management consulting firms for top management, advising international corporations as well as leading medium-sized companies and public institutions. It focuses on growth and innovation, technology and sustainability as well as optimizing business performance through the management of complexities in global production and supply chains. A.T. Kearney employs over 3,500 employees in more than 40 countries worldwide.

VAUDE Sustainability Report: http://csr-report.vaude.com/


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Employee Spotlight: Kristina Fischer

"I grew up on the Seacoast of New Hampshire where I got to enjoy the beautiful, but cold, Atlantic Ocean as well as the White Mountains. My love for the outdoors started when I was very young. You would always find me outside whether it was climbing trees, catching frogs, riding bikes, or just being outside for the fun of it. I always looked forward to our family camping trips up in the White Mountains; right off the Kancamangus Highway to be exact. Those by far are some of my favorite childhood memories. I went to college in Burlington, Vermont where I picked up my love for climbing (and became a true hippy J). Even though I love New England the west was always calling. Right after graduating I moved out to Salt Lake where I have fallen in love with the endless amount of outdoor fun."

Name: Kristina Fischer
Number of years working for Liberty Mountain: Almost 1!
Job title: Buyer
Short description of what you do at Liberty Mountain: I select and buy items for several categories
What do you like most about your job? Getting to see all the new gear and items and the people!

Active in the following sports/activities/hobbies: Climbing, Skiing, Mountain Biking, Ice climbing, Hiking, Camping, Knitting, Gardening
Favorite activity: Hmm, that depends on the season…I would have to say skiing now.
Favorite outdoor areas: Too many! Some are White Mountains, The Sawtooths, San Juan Islands, Indian Creek
Piece of outdoor gear you most wish you had: Does a bike rack count?

Most interesting place ever lived: Madrid, Spain
Least interesting place ever lived: They are all interesting in their own way J
Top-five favorite movies: Gladiator, Home Alone 2, Harry Potter Series, The Pianist, Toy Story
Top-five favorite books: Blink, Harry Potter (all of them), The Blue Notebook, Kite Runner, Into the Wild

Top-five favorite bands: Ray LaMontange, Trampled by Turtles, Dave Matthews Band, Shakey Graves, The Tallest Man on Earth
Inspirational Hero: Corny, but my Dad.

Dream vacation: Right now it would be New Zealand.
Cake or pie: Pie
Dogs or Cats: I grew up with cats but have a dog now, so I like both, but am more inclined to dogs.


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Valandre Shocking Blue Tested by Alpinist Magazine

Photo: Alpinist.com

Over the past few months, Drew Thayer, a reviewer for Alpinist magazine has had the opportunity to put the Valandre Shocking Blue Neo sleeping bag to the test in some extreme conditions. The Shocking Blue is engineered with one of the most advanced draft collar systems on the market and is designed to eliminate drafts, even when used as a high alpine bivy. The entire bag is designed to fit an expedition weight suit and thus provides plenty of room for finding a comfortable sleep position. 

In his review, Thayer calls the bag "a heavy hitter in its weight class" and adds that "it really does seal in warmth and keep every breath of wind out."

Read the full review here

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Gear Review: Cypher Vesta Sport

The Cypher Vesta Sport quickdraw was recently reviewed by Gif over at Rock Climber Life. Comparing it to the previous version of the Vesta Sport, he says "The dogbone is totally different and a huge improvement.  It’s super stiff and perfect for hard sport climbing."

Check out the full lineup of Cypher products here.


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Employee Spotlight: Leslie Borzea

I was born and raised here in Salt Lake, Cottonwood Heights, to be exact. I am the youngest of five kids (two brothers and two sisters). I met and married my soulmate, Ryan, five years ago. I have five kids, ranging in age from seven to nineteen years old. Yes, I changed diapers for 15 straight years…gah! My love for the outdoors began when I was a young lady, fishing nearly every weekend with my Dad, mostly at Flaming Gorge. Those were by far the best memories of my childhood. I earned my basic and advanced EMT certification a few years ago and got to experience a couple of ride-alongs with the fire department and, ya know, safe a few lives.  I absolutely love every aspect of the outdoors and the feeling of peace and purpose whenever I am there. I’ve loved working here at LM and getting to know like-minded people!

Name: Leslie Borzea

Number of years working for Liberty Mountain: Just over one year

Job title: Buyer’s Assistant

Short description of what you do at Liberty Mountain: I basically keep all of the buyers in line…just kidding! I confirm orders, backorders and such.

Active in the following sports/activities/hobbies: Hiking (specifically peak bagging), backpacking, camping, mountain biking, skiing, hunting, fishing, photographing, kid-raising and cooking with a pinch of crafting.

Favorite activity: Laughing!

Favorite outdoor areas: Take me to the mountains…any of them!

Most interesting place ever lived: Utah! I. Will. NEVER. Leave.

Least interesting place ever lived: The only other place I’ve ever “lived” is Bellingham, WA, which was cool…but definitely not even close to the cool we have here in Utah.

Top-five favorite movies: Burn After Reading, Alive, A Bronx Tale, Tarzan & Inside Out

Top-five favorite books: The Four Agreements, The Power of Now, The Lorax, I’ll read the other two as soon as my kids are all in college and I have time to read again. 

Top- five six favorite bands: Kacey Musgraves, Blind Pilot, Ray Lamontagne, Alabama Shakes, Don Williams & Mumford and Sons

Inspirational Hero:  Dr. Seuss and Bob Marley

Inspirational quote: “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive, that is youer than you!” –Dr. Seuss  “Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.” – Bob Marley

Dream vacation: Switzerland

Cake or pie: Cake, pie…I’ll take a few of each!

Dogs or Cats: Being that I have one of each, I’d be such a jerk if I picked one over the other.


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Vaude's Transparent Global Supply Chain

Global responsibility – down to the last detail
Globalization also has a dark side. It often goes hand in hand with environmental pollution and unfair working conditions. The outdoor outfitter VAUDE – with production involving the global supply chain – is convinced that companies both can and should make a positive contribution toward meeting these challenges. With this in mind, the company not only implements sustainable goals at its headquarters in southern Germany, but also at the production facilities that manufacture products on behalf of VAUDE throughout the world. As a pioneer in the field, VAUDE is taking this process one step further and has also started working with its suppliers to achieve high environmental and social standards. The company wants to ensure that VAUDE products are manufactured ecologically and fairly – throughout the entire global supply chain.
One year ago, VAUDE launched the project "Environmental Stewardship in the Supply Chain", to raise its suppliers’ awareness of environmental and social issues and to provide them with the know-how they need to implement change. Over the next two years, VAUDE will offer training sessions for the suppliers of its product materials in Asia.  Knowledge and experience will be shared enabling local stakeholders to make progress toward their own sustainable development – a pioneering approach with great potential as a model for future projects.   
An outdoor jacket consists of approximately 50 components, such as linings, membranes, laminates, zippers, drawcords, buttons, thread and labels. These items are manufactured by many different and delivered to production facilities which then use them to assemble jackets for VAUDE.
Supporting and challenging
VAUDE maintains direct business relationships with its production facilities and has long worked to ensure that they are operating in accordance with strict social and environmental standards. One example – VAUDE so consistently pursued Leader Status in the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), that 99 percent of its production volume is now made in facilities that have been audited under the strict criteria of the FWF. Approximately 80 percent of the VAUDE Apparel Collection features environmentally friendly production that meets the Green Shape criteria – made from sustainable materials as well as resource-conserving and fair production. In addition, the majority of its material suppliers are already certified in accordance with the bluesign® System, which is like an "Ecological Purity Law" – permitting only approved materials. Now VAUDE is going one step further and is committed to implementing comprehensive environmental and social standards among the suppliers of its materials and components. The aim is to ensure clean production processes and safe workplaces for these suppliers as well, and to avoid environmental pollution of local areas.
As a pioneer, VAUDE is providing concrete assistance to its suppliers, thereby creating not only more transparency, but also promoting sustainable development. The company is voluntarily committed to offering consumers a scrupulously clean and fair product.  

Helping people help themselves
VAUDE, together with external experts for environmental, chemical and job safety management, is addressing this self-imposed task at the local level. With training courses and workshops, VAUDE is working together with the major suppliers of its production operations to develop viable solutions. In addition, the facilities are receiving concrete assistance in implementing measures for environmental protection and occupational safety as well as social standards and the efficient use of resources in their operations. At the same time, suppliers are also recognizing that such measures can often reduce operating costs, which is a further incentive for management.
Role model as a result of consistency  
Thanks to the voluntary participation of suppliers, 80% by volume of the primary and lining materials that VAUDE processes have already been included in the project. The goal is to roll out the project over the next few years for all material suppliers. But the matter doesn’t end here; as a founding member of the "Alliance for Sustainable Textile" VAUDE is using this project to act as a role model for best practices, which could provide momentum for the entire textile industry. VAUDE is a founding member of this alliance, which brings together industry associations, civil society, government and many manufacturers of the textile industry. The project "Environmental Stewardship in the Supply Chain" is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) within the "develoPPP.de" program.

VAUDE’s ecological and social commitment in the Sustainability Report: http://csr-report.vaude.com/
More on the pilot project:


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