top of page

Getting The Party Started

For this Outdoor History, we're headed back to the End of Summer, 2002.

Nelly, Eminem, and Avril Lavigne were taking up precious space on our 2nd Gen iPod MP3 players, with touch-sensitive wheel and 10 or 20 GB storage options.

Kelty's 50th Anniversary Pack was released, marking the midpoint of their transition from a unique specialty pioneer to a big box aisle filler.

Corran Addison was riding Riot over the "this will last forever" booming freestyle kayaking scene, as shorter boats progressed the sport from the cartwheel era to one of aerials, loops, and blunts.

And as part of Balenciaga's SS02 collection, it was the Cargo Pants' world, and we were just living in it.

Meanwhile, in the pages of SNEWS…

A story titled, Adventures in Dating- REI style

This is a write-up on the new partnership (Mash-up? Coupling?) between REI and the 'online dating service' It's pretty standard press-release fare, but of course, that doesn't spare it from SNEWS-y gems like describing the partnership as the 'matchmakers-to-be;' the trips as 'Upcoming love-fests;' and bringing it home in style, 'With prices ranging from $1,195 to $1,595 for seven- to 10-day trips (excluding airfare), REI and are hoping to give new meaning to the phrase outdoor lover.' Ahhh, that's the stuff. And for anyone wondering, that's about $2,075 - $2,770 in today's dollars.

A story titled, Teva makes a run to Austria with U.S. Mountain Running Team.

Ok, this one might be a little more interesting to me because I was working with the brand at the time as their Agency of Record. But with Running SO HOT RIGHT NOW, I thought I'd throw it in.

In 2002 Teva was entering their first year of a traditional sport marketing sponsorship with the untraditional (at least in the States) U.S. Mountain Running Team. Excuse me, Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team. The team had just competed in the 18th annual World Mountain Running Trophy (now called the World Mountain Running Championships) in Innsbruck, Austria. Frankly, it's a pretty nuts and bolts report about the deal, US finishers, etc…

2002 was actually a pivotal time for Teva. They were getting clobbered as category competition was heating up. Chaco was hitting its stride atop the specialty channel; ACG was filling the more mainstream, athletic appetites; and fate was about to rear its fugly head as Crocs hit the market, and Keen was only a year away from expanding the category known as Socks Beware Shoes. As well, Deckers would finally complete its years-long, slow-motion acquisition of the Teva brand from its founder Mark Thatcher.

The brand was looking for ways to credibly expand within adjacent footwear segments that made sense to their footwear innovation foundation and active sport customers. They did, after all, invent the Sport Sandal category. The push into running would result in some meaningful product development, however it would fall out of contention a few years later, due to changes in leadership and strategy. The usual stuff.

Looking back, it does seem as if their heart might not have been in it. Instead of congratulating the team or speaking hopefully toward the future, the spokesman succinctly sums up the sponsorship’s intent by saying the quiet part out loud. "Teva was getting into the category (of trail running), and it wanted to convey to the trail running community that it was serious about being part of the category. Sponsoring the team was one way to do it.” Honest? Yes. Inspirational? Not so much.

Go Team!


The Life And Times Of Outdoor History, by Rock Fight Contributor David Karstad is made possible by the fine folks at the Utah State University Outdoor Recreation Archive.


bottom of page