Category Archives: Client News

Springtime in the Rockies

Springtime in the Rockies.


Snowfall and sticky single track.

Sandstone in Escalante and Moab.

Spring ski touring.


Sunlight after work.

Mother’s day hatch on the horizon.

Spring is also full bore at Backbone. Today, April 2, Backbone adds two new team members, former Patagonia CEO Casey Sheahan and media planner Melissa Atwood.


Casey joins Backbone in a new role as senior advisor, focusing on client strategy and new business as well as our agency growth, efficiency and structure. Casey stepped down as the CEO of Patagonia in February. Under his leadership the company tripled its profits and experienced significant growth. Prior to Patagonia, Casey served as president of Kelty, Inc. In addition to his management roles, Sheahan has extensive experience in marketing, sales and publishing. He worked as the vice president of marketing at Merrell Footwear, category marketing manager at Nike ACG and the editor/publisher at POWDER Magazine.


Melissa is a Mainer who recently relocated to Carbondale with strong experience in traditional media channels: broadcast, cable, newsprint, and magazine, as well as digital media: display, re-marketing, SEM, mobile, social and video. Her past experience includes working with national and regional clients such as DeLorme, SYLVANIA, the University of Maine and more.  Prior work includes time at Time Warner Cable and more recently on the agency planning side at Garrand in Portland.

Spring has sprung and Backbone continues to thrive. We’re stoked to have both Melissa and Casey on board.



Awards Season

SHOT Show, OR, ISPO, SIA….tradeshow season is finally in the rearview mirror and we’re all happy to be back home (especially because it’s dumping snow again). Looking back on the past month, our clients have a lot to be proud of. It’s not quite the Emmy’s or the Grammy’s, but the industry and media accolades that are awarded during the annual tradeshows are terrific recognition for the hard work and dedication that goes into new product development.

Here is a  run down of all the awards our family of clients recently received in the past few weeks:

Black Diamond

black-diamond-jet-forceBD’s new Jetforce Technology was the certainly most talked about product of all, racking up an impressive array of awards including Gear Junkie “Best in Show”, an ISPO Award Gold Winner in Ski Advanced Avalanche Gear, a “Best New Gear” award from the Gear Institute, a Skiing Magazine “Hot New Gear” award and an Outside Gear of the Show nod.

gos-sia14-metallogo_phThe team at BD also laid claim to several other awards including:

ISPO Award in Ski Off Piste/All Mountain—Black Diamond Equipment Carbon Megawatt

ISPO Award in Ski Touring Equipment + Outside Gear of the Show at SIA + Skiing Magazine “Hot New Gear“—Fritschi Diamir Vipec 12

ISPO Award Gold Winner in Accessories—Cohaesive Embedded Components (Apparel)


Big Agnes

Backpacker Editor’s Choice Award—Double Z Sleeping Pad

ISPO Award in Adventure Equipment—Helinox Ground Chair



bestNewGearWinter2014_3d8e299b74542ab556656467451dc882Gear Institute “Best New Gear”— Scarpa F1 Evo

Gear Institute “Best New Gear”—K2 Route Helmet

Gear Junkie “Best in Show”—Scarpa F1 Evo and K2 Route Helmet

ISPO Award—Topo Athletic Sante shoes

ISPO Award—Tubbs VRT snowshoes

ISPO Gold Award—Descente Mizusawa Down Jacket and Platinum ski jacket

ISPO Gold Award—Thusane Malleo Dynastab Boa Ankle Brace



UntitledOutdoor USA awarded Chaco “Best In-Store Display” at OR.



ISPO Award for Action Segment – Accessories

Skiing Magazine’s Hot Gear Award

ISPO Award in Accessories—POC ICEdot Crash Sensor




ISPO Award in Helmets + Outside’s Gear of the Show—POC Skull Orbic Comp H.I. MIPS

ISPO Award in Accessories—POC ICEdot Crash Sensor



Skiing Magazine “Hot Gear” Award—Strafe Cham Jacket and Pant



SKI Magazine “Show Stopper Gear”—Kastle MX70



PhD SmartLoft Hoody Sport – ISPO innovation award.


La Sportiva

Gear Junkie “Best in Show”—Vapor Nano 15791





Ringing in the New Year right

There’s nothing like some great client media coverage to kick off the New Year at Backbone. Here’s a recent sampling.

Hilarious Klean Kanteen call out on Saturday Night Live:

MIPS and POC mentioned in this Outside Online story: The Top 8 Fitness Trends of 2014

Opedix in a terrific New York Times story: A Second Wind From an Injured Knee

POC featured in this FOX feature with Outside’s Sam Moulton:

Helinox (distributed by Big Agnes) featured in Outside’s “Covet” column: Covet: Packable Camping Cot

Redington highlighted in Outdoor Online’s Gear Shed column: What Are the Outside Staff’s Picks for Best Gear of 2013

Horny Toad mentioned in this Fox News article: 10 great gifts for adventure-minded travelers

STIO Seeker Jacket featured in the Boy’s Life “Stuff We Like” gear guide:

Gerber featued in Wired’s Design Life Gadgets & Gear issue:

American Pistachio Growers Dinner with Jeremy Jones

1479517_10152084647760530_214732620_nThe American Pistachio Growers (APG) hosted an intimate dinner with professional big mountain snowboarder and APG athlete ambassador Jeremy Jones last month in Boulder with leaders in snow sports media.

In an effort to tell a deeper story with active lifestyle media on the growing partnership between Jones and the American Pistachio Growers, the Backbone Media team worked with culinary experts at Frasca Food & Wine on Pearl Street to craft a pistachio themed evening full of great food and conversation.

Boulder continues to lead the country as a hub for active interest media. Frasca was the ideal venue to bring this community together with APG nutritionist Becci Twombley and Jeremy Jones for conversations regarding snow sports and nutrition. Courses including a raviolo with celery root, ricotta, black truffle and parmesan reggiano, capesante with scallop, cauliflower, blood orange and pistachio and finally crostata di fragile – a strawberry tarte with pistachio gelato.

University of Southern California nutritionist Becci Twombley spoke about modern sports nutrition – and the importance of pistachios – for winter sports athletes. Jeremy discussed his recent trip to Nepal and filming the third installment of his film trilogy with Teton Gravity Research. Jones stressed the importance of proper nutrition and his “recovery window” when he returns to base camp after extended periods filming in the most remote locations.

Twelve members of the media attended, representing titles such as Snowboard Magazine, the Atlantic, the Associated Press, ESPN, Mountain Magazine, SKI/Skiing, Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, Outside Magazine and the Active Interest Media House. We were psyched to reconnect with old friends and make new acquaintances as well!

Becci Twombley & Jeremy Jones

Becci Twombley & Jeremy Jones

Sue Jotblad from American Pistachio Growers, Kim Beekman from SKI Magazine and Sharon Houghton from Active Interest Media

Sue Jotblad from American Pistachio Growers, Kim Beekman from SKI Magazine and Sharon Houghton from Active Interest Media

Doug Schniztspahn from Elevation Outdoors Magazine & Radha Marcum

Doug Schniztspahn from Elevation Outdoors Magazine & Radha Marcum

Marc Peruzzi from Mountain magazine & Jayme Moye

Marc Peruzzi from Mountain magazine & Jayme Moye


Chris Thompson & Sam Bass from SKI Magazine/ Skiing Magazine and BackboneMedia's Amanda Boyle

Chris Thompson & Sam Bass from SKI Magazine/ Skiing Magazine and BackboneMedia’s Amanda Boyle

By: Amanda Boyle

Big Idea Day | Summer OR Recap

On July 30th, the day before the start of the Outdoor Retailer show, Backbone hosted its first-ever Big Idea Day (BID). The concept behind BID was simple—bring together the most influential media outlets in the active lifestyle space and ask them to present their lens into the future of media, the outdoors and adventure. In a marathon of seven, one-hour sessions, Backbone met with Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal, National Geographic, GearJunkie, Active Interest Media (Climbing, Backpacker, Ski, Skiing, etc), the Competitor Group (Velo, Triathlete, etc) and Mountain Magazine.

Backbone isn’t stopping there, and we already have plans to follow the same format with partners like Wired, ESPN, The Atlantic, Rodale, Demand Media, Google, Sports Illustrated and On the Snow to name a few. Below is a summary of what we learned. 


  • Without question, publishers are eager and open to partner with brands in new and creative ways. Almost every media partner now offers video production capabilities. Many are building slick, customized branded content for big and small brands alike.
  • For example:
  • Brands used to rely on media to deliver audience and scale. Now, through social media, many brands have their own audience that rivals the reach of many media outlets. The unique value proposition media offers today is engaging content with third-party validation.
  • A buzzword for 2013, Native advertising is advertising that is done in a style or format that is indistinguishable from editorial. This means greater collaboration between brands and media.
  • Regardless of whether it’s the brand or the media partner delivering content must be authentic in order to be valued.


  • While short stories, slide shows and lists like Buzzfeed delivers are driving a lot of digital content, there is still a demand for long-format journalism, especially if it incorporates multi-media elements and a beautiful presentation. For example this 5,500 word story on is one of the most popular on the site right now. 

Urban, Fitness, Technology

  • Obstacle racing, Cross-Fit and exercise in general continues to be a major U.S. trend. In many cities, people are using social media to schedule large scale fitness meet ups – or fitness flash mobs.
  • Marketers need to point their ideas beyond the outdoor niche. Consumers are becoming more urban. How can we engage and excite this segment? Whether it’s running, yoga, or SUP—there are many urban adventures to be had. Several media partners offer popular urban outdoor events.
  • Bike commuting is exploding in the U.S. Cargo bikes are everywhere. Ally cat races, gran fondos and gravel grinders are proving to be popular alternatives to traditional road racing.
  • Half marathons continue to be the fastest growing race segment but the explosion of fad runs (color runs, rave runs, neon runs, zombie runs, etc.) is unmistakable.
  • No longer is it a debate of whether technology belongs outdoors. Fitness is changing along side technology with the introduction and increased usage of mobile apps like Strava and Map My Run.

Social — bridging the social conversation to reality 

  • Use and create local events to create a 1 to 1 relationship with consumers. Bring people with common interest together for an afternoon run, happy hour, scavenger hunt — something that fits your brand’s voice.
  • Scalability: Don’t cross your fingers and hope that people attending actually capture the moment with the right hashtag. Instead, make sure you have the right people and partners on the ground to capture the moment and distribute your branded content beyond the event.

Thank you for your interest in our Big Ideas. For more information please check out these posts:


5 Things We Learned at the GoPro Mountain Games

It’s taken a few days to adjust back to reality after a hugely successful and high tempo-ed GoPro Mountain Games in Vail. Looking back, this was easily the biggest and best Mountain Games in the event’s 12-year history.

The crew from Backbone spent four days hosting and supporting media at the event, working with some of our old friends (looking at you Regenold, Metzler, Pattillo, Sturtz, Dwyer, Buchanan, Carberry, Blevins, Krogh, Rogers, Martindell, Ellison, Clark) as well as lots of new ones. One of the highlights of the weekend was hanging out with former NFL player and TV host Dhani Jones, who was in town to shoot for SpikeTV’s Playbook 360. Dhani is an incredibly nice guy and we had a blast showing him around the event. Kara helped Dhani with his fly-fishing.

Timmy O’Neil explained the World Cup Bouldering comp to him

He went nom nom nom on some Honey Stinger Waffles

And we even got him to go rafting (and subsequently go swimming) with our friend Seth from the US National Whitewater Rafting team.

We can’t wait to see the episode he shot at the Mountain Games when it airs in July.

Anyway, here are five things we learned this weekend.

1. GoPro is much more than a camera company.

Adding GoPro as the title sponsor clearly elevated the event to a new level. GoPro is a cultural phenomenon, and the company’s influence was clearly on display in Vail. Everywhere you turned someone was wearing a GoPro. Even the dogs got in on the action.

2. Slacklining is the real deal.

What started as a downtime activity for climbers at Camp 4 in Yosemite, has grown into full blown sport—a fascinating mix of balance, strength and gymnastics, set to a decidedly Euro techno-dance beat. The World Slackline Championships during the GoPro Games were a crowd favorite, drawing thousands to cheer on the skinny-jeans wearing kids bouncing and flipping on a “trickline.”

3. The kids are all right.

A 12-year-old won the women’s kayak freestyle competition. A 14-year-old won the slackline championships, a 20-year-old won the mountain bike XC and a 21-year-old won the slopestyle comp. The future generation of adventure sports athletes is here.

Kids were everywhere this weekend. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the GoPro Mountain Games is the most family-friendly event in the country. From the kids mud run, to a kids mountain bike race, to kayak, SUP and zip-line demos, the Mountain Games caters to kids of all ages. By Sunday afternoon, my kids were so exhausted they could barely stand.

4. Josiah Middaugh is the man.

Seven-years in a row he’s won the Ultimate Mountain Challenge. That’s an amazing feat of consistency. I’m biased because he’s a friend and an incredibly nice guy, but I think Josiah is the strongest all around athlete in the country, bar none.

5. For four days every year, the GoPro Mountain Games is the center of the outdoor universe. The Gear Junkie summed it up nicely. If you haven’t been, you’re missing out.

Hot time in the city

Ahh, spring. Sunny skies, warm temps, birds chirping, flowers blooming. Except of course in Colorado, where it seemingly snowed the entire month of April and well into May.

Thus, a trip to New York City for our semi-annual media showroom, with the promise of warmer weather, good food and a little urban culture, was a welcome opportunity for the Backbone team.

Twice a year, we host a showroom in NYC. It’s a chance to meet with some of the country’s leading media and share the latest and greatest products and stories from our clients.

This spring, we were in a new, larger event space, with 13 brands participating. During the seven hours of our showroom, we saw 70 writers, editors, freelancers, bloggers, producers and publishers representing titles from the New York Times to SELF, Esquire, Conde Nast Traveler, Oprah and many, many more.

In addition to connecting with the New York media scene, we enjoyed beautiful weather, a great meal at the Spice Market and a healthy dose of city culture before we headed back to the mountains (where thankfully, spring seems to finally have sprung).

Check out some pics from the event below.

Backbone’s Mike Shea with Jeanine Pesce from This is Range and Matt Peterson from Big Shot bikes

Molly from Eddie Bauer with Mary Anne Potts from National Geographic Adventure

Corey from Sperry Top-Sider with Susan Matthews from Popular Science

Molly from SmartWool with Dan Tower of and Mavis

The Newton Running Dream Team: Newton co-founder Danny Abshire, Elinor from Backbone and Kara Henry from Newton


Awards Season: Fall 2012

As always, it has been a busy fall for Backbone. We’ve traveled across the country and back for media trips and showrooms, launched a handful of new products, blocked and tackled like an NFL defensive line, and still managed to squeeze in a few lunchtime mountain bike rides.

More importantly, we are proud to see hard work pay off. Our clients are also experiencing a great fall season of coverage. Aside from a cold beer on a Friday afternoon, few things make us happier than seeing good products receiving the praise that they deserve, and it has been a season packed with praise and exciting awards.

First to hit was National Geographic’s Gear of the Year Awards. We were thrilled to see recognition of several clients: Black Diamond’s Carbon Megawatt skis, the Big Agnes McAlpin SL, Klean Kanteen’s new stainless steel canisters, and two Polartec fabrics, NeoShell and Thermal Pro High Loft (incorporated into the Westcomb Shift LT and Patagonia Nano Puff Hybrid jackets).

Soon after, Backpacker’s Fall/Winter Gear Guide hit newsstands, and several of Backbone’s clients took home Editors’ Choice Snow Awards. Both the Carbon Megawatts and Westcomb Shift LT (Polartec NeoShell) earned another award, along with La Sportiva’s Storm Fighter GTX pants, the Cabelas E.C.W.C.S. baselayers (Polartec Power Dry), and Eddie Bauer First Ascent’s BC Microtherm 2.0 and Katabatic tent.

And then there were the ski and snowboard Gear Guides. Black Diamond, Kastle, Boa and La Sportiva all received great reviews. POC and SmartWool were often named among the top accessories. After flipping through the pages of each one, we couldn’t be more stoked for this year’s ski season and for the hard work of our client production teams to make this incredible gear.

Beyond PR, we recently learned that Polartec’s Made Possible College Challenge campaign was chosen as a finalist for the PR Daily Digital PR and Social Media Awards for ‘Best Use of Facebook’. The campaign invited collegiate outdoor programs to submit a video telling Polartec (and the world) what they would do with a $10,000 grant. The videos of four finalist schools were posted to a Polartec Facebook application and opened to a public, winner-take-all vote. The campaign, now in its 3rd year, has been a tremendous success, and has garnered on average of 1.7 million impressions for Polartec each year. The 2012 Made Possible College Challenge is now live on Polartec’s Facebook page and we are thrilled to have Backpacker as a partner for this year’s campaign. Check it out and vote for your favorite!

With any luck, the snow will start falling soon here in the Rockies, and we’re excited to see what the winter season brings.

In the House: Ashley from Orbitz

We have lots of fun folks stopping in and out of the Backbone offices these days- our clients, their athletes, our media partners, friends, family, dogs, and a few randoms who are lost and looking for the yoga studio down the street. Our door is always open!

This week, Ashley O’Neill from Orbitz stopped by to see us and meet with our media team about Orbitz’s new design/layout and capabilities. Since we manage more than a handful of premier destinations these days, this is key info. Thanks for coming to see us in person, Ashley!

New Belgium Brewing Unveils Conceptual Asheville Site Plan

From: Bryan Simpson- New Belgium Brewery.

FORT COLLINS, CO, July 26, 2012 – New Belgium Brewing executives unveiled conceptual drawings for their new brewing facility to a packed house in Asheville yesterday. The drawings included a “liquid center” tasting room, a 200-barrel brewhouse, malt building, packaging hall and cellar space. A warehouse facility will be built offsite. Executives wanted Asheville residents to see the plan first and have an opportunity to offer feedback.

“There will be impact but we will work hard to make it right,” said New Belgium CEO Kim Jordan. “We could have built on a lot of sites but we wanted to be on a livable, walkable site. This site will be a challenge, but we are up for that challenge.”

The new facility will have to be elevated above the 100-year flood zone along the French Broad River. Buildings and material from the old Asheville stockyard will be recycled during deconstruction this fall with heavy demolition being done November thru December and ground-breaking in January.

The brewery is working with the city and state Departments of Transportation to make infrastructure improvements including the widening of roads, smoothing of curves and the addition of traffic signals. An off-site warehouse facility at a yet-to-be-determined location will minimize trucking traffic in the area.

The brewery will have a 700,000-barrel capacity, producing both bottled and kegged beer for distribution along the east coast. The project is slated for completion in 2015.

About New Belgium Brewing Company
New Belgium Brewing Company, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, began operations in a tiny Fort Collins basement in 1991. Today, the third largest craft brewer in the U.S., New Belgium produces nine year-round beers; Fat Tire Amber Ale, Sunshine Wheat, Ranger IPA, Belgo IPA, Shift Pale Lager, Blue Paddle Pilsner, 1554 Black Ale, Abbey and Trippel, as well as a host of seasonal releases. In addition to producing world-class beers, New Belgium takes pride in being a responsible corporate role model with progressive programs such as employee ownership, open book management and a commitment to environmental stewardship. For more information, visit