FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Taylor Kuykendall and Junaid Daher for SNL:Across the board, the investment market value of the coal holdings of major institutional investors was rocked by poor performance in the fourth quarter of 2015. The 25 top institutional holders of coal held positions worth about $2.30 billion as of the end of the fourth quarter 2015, down from $2.84 billion in the prior quarter and down from $7.42 billion a year-ago.Of the top 25 investors in coal that held positions in the fourth quarter of 2014, only two have seen the value of their positions grow. Citadel LLC has seen the market value of its coal positions increase 43.8% to $27.0 million spread across eight investment positions and UBS Group AG has seen its coal holdings grow 3.2% to $99.9 million across its 12 coal industry investment positions.Several of the top investors saw their coal positions shrink by more than 80%. On average, the top 25 investors in the coal sector have seen the value of those positions shrink 60.6%.At the end of the fourth quarter of 2014, the top investors held 127 positions in coal. By the end of 2015, those companies shed 26 of those positions.Since the third quarter, the value of SNL Energy’s coal index has decreased 32.8% while the S&P 500 index has climbed 3.1% in the same period.Full article ($): Equity investors shed coal exposure in 2015 while a few boost holdings Institutional Investors Continue to Notch Heavy Losses on Coal Holdings
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg New Energy Finance:The continuing plunge in costs for solar and wind energy, and for lithium-ion batteries, means that market opportunities will keep opening up for clean power, storage and electric vehicles. In 2017, we saw new records set for the tariffs in renewable energy auctions around the world, at levels – for instance $18.60 per MWh for onshore wind in Mexico – that would have been unthinkable only two or three years ago.In batteries, we estimate that lithium-ion pack prices fell by no less than 24% last year, opening up the prospect, with further cost improvements, of EVs undercutting conventional, internal combustion engine cars on both lifetime and upfront cost by the mid-to-late 2020s.Detailed analysis by our teams suggests that these cost reduction trends are set to remain in place in the years ahead, thanks to economies of scale and technological improvements – although no trend is a straight line, given the importance of the supply-demand balance and commodity prices.The upswing in the world economy in recent months could also be helpful for the transition in energy and transport, since it has bolstered oil and coal (and, to a lesser extent, gas) prices, so tipping the competitive comparison a little further toward wind, solar and EVs. Investor confidence in our sectors has certainly been quietly improving, with the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index, or NEX, which tracks the performance of around 100 clean energy and transport stocks around the world, climbing 28% between the end of 2016 and January 11 this year.However, and this is where the Dark Side comes in, there is room for concern about some of the risks in the wider world at the start of 2018, and about how waves created outside could wash into the energy transition. One particular risk is the uneasy co-existence of the most buoyant financial markets for more than a decade with the potential for a political or geopolitical shock – perhaps a collision between President Donald Trump and Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election; or a miscalculation on the Korean peninsula; or a military clash between Iran and Saudi Arabia.There is a more conventional market risk. A healthier world economy has raised the likelihood of tightening monetary policies in not just the U.S. but also Europe and Japan. Long-term interest rates have recently been rising – the U.S. 10-year up from 2% in September to more than 2.5% now – and a bigger move in the same direction could start to affect the cost of capital, and therefore the relative competitiveness, of high-capex, low-opex technologies such as wind and solar.The Trump administration will continue to pull every policy lever it can find to revitalize U.S. coal-fired power generation – but will not slow coal’s inexorable and inevitable decline. We are not sticking our noses out too far on this one, actually. Already, 2018 is scheduled to be the second biggest year in U.S. history for coal plant retirements, with 13GW of projects slated to shutter. A particularly cold first week of 2018 could boost the overall coal megawatt-hours a bit, but the total amount of coal capacity online will continue to decline. In addition, on January 8, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected a request from Energy Secretary Rick Perry to have U.S. power markets reward coal and nuclear plants for the supposed “resilience” they provide to the grid. FERC, which historically prides itself on independence, rejected Perry’s request with a bipartisan 5-0 vote.The critical supports for U.S. wind and solar remain their tax credits, which survived last year’s tax-cut legislation relatively intact. While there are outstanding questions on how U.S. projects will now get financed in the wake of the tax changes, the pipeline looks relatively healthy for 2018. However, if Trump chooses to impose trade tariffs or other penalties on foreign-manufactured PV cells, it could boost local prices for PV modules and render a meaningful portion of the U.S. solar project pipeline economically unviable. Ironically, Trump would likely justify such a move by professing his support for solar as two companies with U.S.-based manufacturing are pushing for the tariffs.The energy transition will continue apace in Asia’s two largest power systems, India and China, though the two countries face very different opportunities and challenges. India had a mixed 2017. While a decent 12GW of renewable energy were built, new investment in clean energy fell by 20%, as a result of a number of canceled auctions and power contract renegotiations. On the other hand, India also had a poor year on fossil fuel additions in 2017, with a significant number of projects slipping on their commissioning deadlines. The lag between financing and construction means that Asia’s third-largest economy is likely to see only about 10GW of renewable capacity built in 2018, while as much as 13GW of fossil fuel plants are commissioned, many of them the uncompleted projects from last year.However, 2018 will be the last year in which fossil fuels outpaces renewables in India. From 2019 onwards, greater policy certainty for renewables and a shrinking coal pipeline will mean more renewables built than fossil fuels each year. This will be a major milestone for a country that most see as a key battleground for the fight to stabilize global greenhouse emissions growth.China’s solar fever will continue to rage in 2018 (see Prediction 2, above). In 2018, China will also reach a turning point where it will build more “distribution-grid-connected” solar projects than the larger “transmission-grid-connected” projects and it will also double the volume of behind-the-meter solar projects built.More: The Force Is With Clean Energy: 10 Predictions for 2018 Analysts: More Global Momentum Toward Renewables
Charts of the Day: A reversal of historical fortune for coal-fired electricity FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Associated Press:Coal’s share of the world’s electricity mix was about 38 percent in 1997, and in 2017 it was about … 38 percent. Fossil fuels overall have actually increased their share, from 63 percent to 65 percent. Not exactly what folks in Paris or (even further back) Kyoto had in mind.When it comes to the global energy market, though, absolute numbers do tend to shift very slowly – its sheer scale makes a supertanker look like a Ferrari. Which means it’s also important to look at what is happening on the margin. And here, there are clear signs of a shift.In any market, growth is as important as absolute scale. Any CEO telling investors their company is so big already that growth doesn’t matter would soon be in for an awkward meeting with the board. Growth is a signpost to the future – albeit not infallible – and a magnet for investment (see this for further explanation, looking at the subject of electric vehicles.)Beneath the headline numbers about the mix of global power generation, here is the mix of global power-generation growth:The most noticeable aspect is how the bars shift from being dominated by the blue and black of coal and natural gas in the years leading up to the financial crisis, to a much more changeable mix, including the rapid growth of that pink element for wind and solar power.To make that a bit clearer, the chart below shows the average annual change for the different power sources over some longer and shorter time frames. I’ve grouped coal and oil together, as well as hydropower, nuclear power and other non-wind or solar renewables, to make things a bit clearer.This isn’t just about coal; look back at that chart and note how natural gas’ share of growth in power generation has been squeezed over the past few years. Competition among fuels and technologies has intensified dramatically and is accelerating as costs for renewable sources, in particular, have fallen.Incumbency identifies history’s winners. Growth, even at a nascent stage, identifies what comes next – and attracts investment accordingly.More: Coal’s 20-Year Reign Masks a Brewing Revolution
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ReNews.biz:Italian energy giants Enel and Eni are to work together to develop two green hydrogen projects.The partners plan to produce the hydrogen through electrolysers powered by renewable energy near two Eni refineries in Italy. They said that green hydrogen appears to be the best decarbonisation option at the refineries.Each pilot project will feature electrolysers of around 10MW which are expected to start generating green hydrogen by 2022-2023.Enel Group chief executive Francesco Starace said: “We are interested in exploring with Eni the promising green hydrogen sector. The overall system we have in mind will be working as a closed loop whereby the electrolyser fed by renewable energy and the refinery will be at the same location, therefore avoiding the construction of complex transport infrastructure to move hydrogen around.“We are looking forward to seeing green hydrogen supplying Eni’s refinery and biorefinery processes, and are working to have the first operating system in place before the end of our current three-year plan.”Enel is also developing green hydrogen projects in Spain, Chile and the US. It said that should the expected economic improvements of green hydrogen industry be confirmed, the company plans to grow capacity to over 2GW by 2030.More: Enel, Eni partner on green hydrogen pilots in Italy Enel, Eni form green hydrogen partnership in Italy
Extra Credit: Where is the best post-work shred-fest to be found?A: Appalachian Ski Mountain.This small, local-heavy resort in North Carolina’s High Country runs their lifts from 5pm until midnight every Friday and Saturday in January and February. Appalachian has one of the most progressive terrain park scenes in the South, and draws a strong university crowd from nearby Appalachian State. Which Southern resort has the most gladed tree skiing? Or the steepest black diamond? Contrary to popular belief, Southern Appalachia actually does have high quality ski terrain. Bumps, trees, jaw-dropping steeps, sick man-made features…all the expert terrain people feel compelled to head West for can be found right here at home. You just have to know where to look. So, where are the moguls? The happening apres-ski scene? The tree runs? Here’s a short quiz to see if you know where the toughest terrain in the South resides.1. True or False: There are no lift-served tree runs in the southeast.False. You can find tree skiing in abundance at West Virginia’s Timberline Resort. The family-run mountain has always had legitimate fall line tree skiing, with a couple of designated gladed runs labeled on the map and plenty of locals-only stashes with tight, steep lines. But last summer, a dozen local patrollers and skiers took Timberline’s “sticks” to the next level by spending several weekends cleaning tree islands between popular blue runs, tripling Timberline’s gladed portfolio.“We had several chainsaws working at once, putting in 120 volunteer hours this summer,” says J.R. Nolan, an expert tree skier who runs Timberline’s mountain bike program during the summer.The result is a portfolio of professionally designed gladed runs, easily the most extensive tree skiing at any resort in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. And these aren’t spruce-choked tree runs with super tight lines; these are wide-open glades with multiple options, most of which are sandwiched between intermediate runs, so the pitches aren’t too steep.“I spent 15 years at Breckenridge and have skied all over, and these trees are as good as anything else I’ve found,” Nolan says.While most resorts in our region do their best to minimize access to trees due to liability fears, Timberline has embraced its natural terrain.“The difference is we’re privately owned, so we don’t have bean counters and lawyers to answer to,” Nolan says. “The resort is run by skiers, not a corporation.”For a long, consistent run in the trees, check out the newly gladed tree island between Almost Heaven and Thunder. For the steepest woods at the resort, go to Cherry Glades, one of the resort’s original glades that’s been reworked into 800 vertical feet of expert terrain.Local’s Tip: It’s going to sound obvious, but you have to ski the whites between the trees. So often, people obsess about the trees in their way. It’s called target fixation, and it typically ends badly. Try to ignore the trees and visualize the white line down the mountain. There’s more open space than you realize.For more information about Timberline Resort, check out http://basecamp.blueridgeoutdoors.com/?p=25552. Fill in the Blank: The steepest terrain in the southeast is found at _________ and _________.A: Sugar Mountain Resort and Snowshoe Mountain Resort North Carolina’s Sugar Mountain tops out at 5,300 feet and has a total vertical drop of 1,200 vertical feet, one of the longest cumulative drops of any resort in the Southeast. But vertical drop alone doesn’t belie a slope’s steepness. For that, you have to look at the slope’s actual grade or pitch. That’s where Sugar shines, with three black diamond runs beginning a mile high in elevation with pitches greater than 40 percent. Both Boulderdash and Whoopdedoo have the steepest stretches of skiable terrain on the mountain with pitches that max out at 48 percent, and Tom Terrific comes in a close second with a 45 percent stretch.To put this in perspective, at most Western resorts, slopes are given black diamond status when they begin to tip 40 percent in grade, which puts all three of Sugar’s expert-only slopes squarely in legitimate black diamond territory. The slopes are so steep, Sugar has to hook their snow cats up to winches in order to groom the most vertical pitches.“Boulderdash and Whoopdedoo are both straight fall line slopes,” says Kim Jochl, a former member of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team who now runs the marketing program at Sugar. “They don’t curve around the mountain, they go straight down it.”Snowshoe Mountain, in West Virginia, has a few different slopes that measure in the low 40s, but their toughest run, Lower Shay’s Revenge, has been measured at a 53 percent pitch, making it the single steepest run in our region. For a bit of comparison, consider Tuckerman Ravine, a ski mecca in the White Mountains of New Hampshire that’s famous for its sustained steep pitches of 55 degrees.3. True or False: Southern ski resorts groom their slopes so often, moguls are never allowed to form.False.At least, that’s false for Winterplace Resort in West Virginia. Winterplace doesn’t get the attention of some of the bigger resorts in the Mountain State, but one thing the smaller resort can hold over its contemporaries is Turkey Chute, perhaps the sweetest mogul run below the Mason Dixon. While most Southern ski slopes pride themselves on consistently grooming all their runs, creating a more family friendly environment, Winterplace prefers not to touch the expert-only Turkey Chute with a groomer unless absolutely necessary.“We let it bump up early in the season and we won’t groom it unless it’s really nasty,” says Tom Peterson, director of Winterplace’s ski school. Not only does Winterplace let Turkey Chute evolve into a mogul run every winter, the resort purposely crafts the moguls, one line at a time.“We get the best guys from ski school and ski patrol out there early to set a pattern of good bumps,” Peterson says. “Moguls can be fun, or they can suck. It all depends on who sets them. If you get a bunch of people in there just hitting the breaks, there won’t be any rhythm to the run.”But if the bumps are set with purpose, a pattern emerges and a good skier or boarder can tap into the flow that only bumps can offer. The result of all that hard work on the part of the patrollers is 400 vertical feet of bumpy goodness with killer flow, dropping off the north face of Winterplace between two islands of trees. Even with the tree cover, you’re still within sight line of the lift, so your skills are on display for all the gapers on high.Local’s Tip: Understanding how to pick a line and stick with it is key, but it takes lots of mileage to ski bumps well. Maintaining contact with the snow is paramount. Once you start to get air between your skis and the snow, you’ve lost control and it won’t end well. Winterplace offers bump lessons on request if you want to learn how to style Turkey Chute.For more information about Winterplace Ski Resort, check out http://basecamp.blueridgeoutdoors.com/?p=25594. Essay: Seven Springs Resort has the most progressive terrain park in the region. Explain why.A: Because Seven Springs has not one park, not two parks, but six distinct terrain parks with more than 50 different freestyle features. The parks include kid-friendly fun hits to The Spot, a full-featured expert-only park famous for its triple-line jump, urban rail, and super pipe. Quantity aside, what sets Seven Springs’ freestyle terrain apart from the competition is the level of professionalism involved in creating and maintaining the features.“Seven Springs is willing to devote a lot of resources to their park,” says Bruce Persinger, a videographer who films at Seven Springs often. “They’ve got guys on staff building in the off season, and half a dozen groomers working full time during the winter to keep every single feature in top notch shape. The management team wants every feature, even the ride-on rail in the kiddie park, to look like it’s straight out of a magazine photo shoot.”The attention to detail has paid off. For two years in a row, they’ve been voted by national snowboard magazines as the best terrain park on the East Coast, besting bigger name resorts in the Northeast. The park crew is so talented and highly regarded, they were invited to build a unique feature at Snowboard Magazine’s Superpark at Oregon’s Mount Bachelor Resort, an honor bestowed on only a handful of park builders.Seven Springs’ signature feature would have to be their Super Pipe, a 550-foot-long half pipe with 18-foot walls, similar to the dimensions found at the half-pipes at the center of X Games competitions.5. Where’s the most promising apres-ski scene in the South?A: Devils Backbone Brewery, Wintergreen Resort, Va. Legitimate ski bars in the South can be tough to find. There are plenty of bars near our slopes, but none of them make you feel like you’re in an ‘80s ski movie. Enter the Devils Backbone Brewpub, which sits at the base of Wintergreen Resort, not 20 minutes from your last run, and was built to feel like a ski chalet stuck in the Rocky Mountains with big timbers and beams, three grand fireplaces, and animal mounts on the walls.“I got into brewing because of skiing,” says owner Steve Crandall, going on to detail a European ski trip during the ‘80s that changed his life. “I’m in the Italian Alps, skiing these beautiful mountains, and what makes the biggest impression? The beer. I took my first sip of the crisp hefeweizen they serve over there, and I had an epiphany. For the next 20 years, when my family and I skied out West, I hunted for the best breweries.”Crandall’s Colorado-inspired brewpub has become the go-to destination for post-Wintergreen ski days, serving upscale pub grub and clean, Germanic style beers to a standing room only crowd sporting ski jackets and windburn. The location and style of the brewpub help attract a crowd, but the award-winning brew is the real draw here. Devils Backbone won the World Beer Cup in 2010, besting 1,000 international breweries in the brewpub category. They’ve won more medals in their two years than any other Mid-Atlantic brewery. Devils Backbone beer is so well respected, they’re expanding with a production brewery that will enable them to produce 10,000 barrels and distribute throughout Virginia next year.But don’t show up after a ski session looking for any trendy seasonal brews. “That flavored stuff is really popular, but that’s not what we do,” Crandall says. “We’re a traditional brewery. None of that pumpkin stuff.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, read about Lawrence Dye who has biked over 165,000 miles on the Virginia Creeper Trail…and he’s 80 years old. malcolm smith prepares to paddle the ledges of the french broad river in asheville, n.c.A five-year-old kayaker biggest fear isn’t class III rapids; it’s the boogeyman in the bathroom.Malcolm Smith has been raised with an intimate understanding of the laws of physics. At five years old, Malcolm is both a Trials Motocross National Champion and a prodigy in his whitewater kayak. He is just as comfortable sailing over 10-foot gaps on his bike as he is planing down the class III rapids of Nantahala Falls.Malcolm represents a new era in youth sports. With open-minded parents and distance-learning options, it’s possible to structure education and life around the sports that kids are drawn to. Malcolm is extremely young to know what he wants to do with his life, but his parents have given him every opportunity to chase his talents without compromise. Rather than tee ball and youth soccer, Malcolm is being steeped in the lessons of nature.Malcolm’s parents support his paddling passion because of the beautiful places that it allows him to explore, the life outlook that time spent outdoors gives him, and the close-knit fabric of the paddling community.I’ve heard a lot about Malcolm over the past few months, so I invited him and his father, Steve, to join me for a paddle at my home training ground: Ledges Park of the French Broad in Asheville, N.C.How long have you been kayaking? MALCOLM: Since I was four.What is your favorite river? MALCOLM: Umm, Rose Creek! (A section of the Tennessee near the Smith’s house.) My creek at my house has a big rapid! It drops down, and then turns and drops some more.Who do you look up to? MALCOLM: My friend, Rider. He rides bikes with me and kayaks with me.STEVE: Do you like watching videos of anyone?MALCOLM: Pat (Keller)! On one video, he goes down a waterfall backwards!Do you like going fast? MALCOLM: Yes.Are you ever scared when you’re on your bike or in your kayak? MALCOLM: No.STEVE: Malcolm, don’t lie.MALCOLM: I’m scared of the boogey man.Where is the boogey man? MALCOLM: In my bathroom at night.How are you brave enough to go in there? MALCOLM: I take Annabelle (dog) with me. I have three dogs: Oscar, Annabelle, and Maggie, but she bites. (Malcolm runs off yelling something about a plane that flies over. He loves planes, and several pilot friends have taken him up for unforgettable flights.)What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done? MALCOLM: I’ve run the Nantahala Waterfall three times!Really? What was your first time like? MALCOLM: Umm, it was really cold, raining. I followed my dad, and we ran the top okay, but then I swam!STEVE: (chuckling) He got a little bit thrashed.Malcolm, how did you go back and do it again?MALCOLM: I kayaked near the bridge until I wasn’t scared, and then I went back to the waterfall.What happened that time? MALCOLM: I followed my dad again, and I FLEW through it! There were people watching, and they cheered.What does your mom think of all of this? MALCOLM: She likes to go and take videos.STEVE: The motocross racing scares her, but she loves going with Malcolm to the river.
Enduro, downhill, cross country, dual slalom, free ride, all mountain, and probably a few more I forgot to mention. Seems like today people don’t just mountain bike anymore, but regardless of your riding style of choice you have to be comfortable. While spandex is great for road riding, I like something a little more casual and flowy for the trail. People will say looks don’t matter at all, but it’s hard to not feel really cool in a pair of baggy’s and a relaxed jersey. All of a sudden your riding style goes from fitness to fun, not to mention you are more comfortable.I have been flogging the Pearl Izumi Veer jersey and short as of late and so far so good. This is Pearl’s top of the line mountain bike apparel and it shows. When testing this kit I did short rides, very relaxed rides, huge fatty multi hour rides, as well as a cross country race. I wanted to see how they stacked up across varying situations and honestly it is top notch. The Veer shorts come with a bib chamois liner. The chamois is super comfortable and the fabric used is lightweight so it doesn’t become too hot under the shell. I prefer a bib as I find it stays in place better than shorts. The outer layer shorts then clip to the bib using a simple snap system, which helps them from riding up or falling down. The shorts are a lightweight but durable fabric centered on ventilation. This really came in handy when slogging up those prolonged climbs. The shorts come with one front pocket, mesh on the thighs and sides, and elastic Velcro straps on each side for adjusting the fit.The jersey is a full zip relaxed garment that is as comfortable as your favorite tee shirt. There is no elastic at the hem or sleeves which is nice, and it has one back pocket. The fabric is incredibly breathable and when sweating or wet doesn’t stick to you or bind/bunch up anywhere. A nice touch is the jersey matches the shorts, so um, yea you look super pro with this kit.So final thoughts, Pearl Izumi had their head in the right spot when designing this kit. The fabric is light and breathable, but durable enough when you touch the ground (tested that this past weekend). The shorts are a good length and don’t go down to your calf, the jersey is incredibly comfortable and the full zip is a really nice touch for those 90+ degree days. I have yet to overheat, or wish I just had spandex on while wearing the kit. The styling is pretty cool too as at the 1st Annual Heard’s Mountain Classic this weekend I got compliments a plenty. People really dug the mesh on the front, and the pockets on both short and jersey.The short will run about $140 or $170 with bib liner and the jersey comes in at $100, these prices are normal for a company’s top of the line offerings. I am 6’1” and 162 pounds and went with size medium on both, and am quite happy with the fit. This summer ditch the spandex, get the Veer kit, and get out on the trail!($170 short and bib, $100 jersey); pearlizumi.com
Enter our River Right Experience Giveaway to win whitewater trips from across the Blue Ridge!Don’t just read about the great places to get on the water in the region…Experience them for yourself. Enter to win one of FIVE prize packs, including:1. Your choice of a two person, two day overnight CANOE CAMPING TRIP on the first 20 miles of the French Broad River, OR a four person, four hour CANOE / KAYAK TRIP on the first 10 miles of the French Broad River with Headwaters Outfitters.2. TRIP FOR TWO on America’s Best Whitewater, with Adventures on the Gorge. You may choose between the Upper or Lower New River whitewater rafting trip in June, July or August of 2013 (Saturdays excluded). Trip includes guide, gear, riverside deli lunch and entry to our Canyon Falls Swimming Hole at the end of the day.3. A GUIDED RIVER TRIP FOR TWO from Three Rivers Outfitters in Eden, NC, plus an Eden prize bag including t-shirts, dry bags for valuables on the water, soft-sided water bottles and other assorted gifts.4. TRIP FOR TWO for a guided rafting trip with Cheat River Outfitters through the Cheat Narrows (leaving from Albright, W.Va.) from Morgantown. The summer Narrows is a half day trip of 7 miles on gorgeous Class II-III whitewater with crystal clear water, beautiful scenery and plenty of opportunities to get wet.5. The WATERSHED CHATTOOGA DUFFEL MSRP $99 from Southern Raft Supply.THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! THANKS TO ALL WHO ENTERED AND PLEASE CHECK OUT ALL OUR OTHER GREAT GIVEAWAYS.Rules and Regulations: Package must be redeemed within 1 year of winning date. Entries must be received by mail or through the www.blueridgeoutdoors.com contest sign-up page by 12:00 noon EST on July 15th, 2013. One entry per person. One winner per household. Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older. Void wherever prohibited by law. Families and employees of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors are not eligible. No liability is assumed for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate, non-delivered or misdirected mail, or misdirected e-mail, garbled, mistranscribed, faulty or incomplete telephone transmissions, for technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connection, or failed, incomplete or delayed computer transmission or any human error which may occur in the receipt of processing of the entries in this Sweepstakes. By entering the sweepstakes, entrants agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, Headwaters Outfitters, Adventures on the Gorge, Three Rivers Outfitters, Cheat River Outfitters, MOREgantown, and Southern Raft Supply reserve the right to contact entrants multiple times with special information and offers. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes. Winners agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors, their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from acceptance of or use of prizes. No substitutions or redemption of cash, or transfer of prize permitted. Any taxes associated with winning any of the prizes detailed below will be paid by the winner. Winners agree to allow sponsors to use their name and pictures for purposes of promotion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All Federal, State and local laws and regulations apply. Selection of winner will be chosen at random at the Blue Ridge Outdoors office on or before July 30th, 6:00 PM EST 2013. Winners will be contacted by the information they provided in the contest sign-up field and have 7 days to claim their prize before another winner will be picked. Odds of winning will be determined by the total number of eligible entries received.
Sponsorship is as sought-after as it is misunderstood, but there’s no doubt about the fact that it is extremely prevalent in the alternative sports world today. Massive companies like Red Bull and GoPro, alongside smaller industry manufacturers, are putting significant portions of their marketing resources into sponsorship. They align themselves with top athletes to benefit their own bottom lines alongside the athletes’ careers, and a great deal of money and product exchanges hands every year through these relationships. For athletes who truly understand the game, it really is as close to “living the dream” as you can get.The trouble with the whole system is that many athletes don’t know what to do beyond just being an exceptional athlete to set themselves apart. In these economic times, it is not acceptable to simply perform well in your sport and call it a day.After 11 years of working as a sponsored athlete in the paddlesports industry, and one year working as Pro Team Manager for Dagger Kayaks, I have learned a bit about the ins and outs of corporate sponsorship. Here are my top 10 recommendations for securing (and retaining) your ideal sponsors:DO protect your personal brand.When a company endorses you as a sponsored athlete, they are linking their brand with you and all of your actions. Your personal brand is the image that is generated by everything that you do and everything that comes out of your mouth. Due to the Internet, our world is shrinking and information about all of us is much more readily available. You need to know what online and social media searches for your name will turn up and make sure that they showcase you well.DON’T burn bridges. These industries are very small places, and negative dealings tend to reverberate far beyond any single relationship. You never know when an opportunity has been closed off due to a bad reference. Do good work and maintain good relationships.DO realize that it is about far more than just being a great athlete.Of course you need raw skill and talent, but what separates the truly successful athletes from those who soon fade into another profession is what goes on behind the scenes. Resourcefulness and the ability to create value for sponsors whenever possible is the most important thing.DO think about and create your niche.What is your individual hook? What are you better at than anyone else? Team and marketing managers do not want a whole team of athletes who are chasing the same thing. When I look at Team Dagger, I see Freestyle World Champions, non-profit owners, 6-year-old prodigies, expedition paddlers, incredible videographers, and grassroots ambassadors in their local communities. Each individual comes at it with their own style and brings something different to the table. It can be helpful to consider the main needs of the companies that you are working with: big picture marketing, sales account support within each region, R&D feedback, photo and video generation for the website, and other collateral. Sometimes it can be helpful to leverage those to guide your pitch.DON’T use improper management introduction techniques.Cold-messaging a marketing or management employee on Facebook or other social media is an invasion of privacy… that is set up for their personal use. Short of getting an introduction from a mutual contact (the ideal scenario), take the time to at least find a company email. And (this goes without saying), don’t have typos or grammatical errors in your correspondence!DO work in advance. Most team budgets are finalized and committed by shortly after the first of the year. That means if you want to work with a company beyond getting a pro-deal, you need to get on it! November and December are good months to check in, and the professionalism exhibited by planning ahead will go a very long way.DO keep your Team Manager updated. The more that you can stay top-of-mind and in focus for the company, the better. Regular email updates with competition results, exposure, and trip plans will position you as a professional—someone who is worthy of sponsorship dollars.DO work hard.Many people think that being a sponsored athlete is a gravy train. I will tell you that the most successful athletes that I know absolutely work their asses off. They are always shooting media, emailing, facilitating, checking in, helping with product R&D and launch, and planning their own exploits. These things are done alongside the physical demands of training and maintaining fitness as an elite athlete. It’s not easy at all, and requires great time management and self-motivation skills, but it is worth it.DO hang the carrot.One thing that I have found very useful in my own dealings with different sponsors is something that I refer to as “hanging the carrot.” This means always keeping them up-to-date on upcoming projects, and what you need from them to position their brand in the best way possible. If you are thinking like this, you are doing an excellent job as an athlete. The final step to this is to follow through and deliver on all promises and commitments made.DO have fun.Taking these steps requires you to look at your sport as work. While it can be very smart to cover all the sponsorship angles, it’s equally important not to lose sight of the original passion that got you into it in the first place. If that ever goes away, the whole house of cards falls. Go outside and play—that’s why you got into this in the first place.Chris Gragtmans is sponsored by Dagger Kayaks, Chaco Footwear, Speedboard USA, Immersion Research, Shred Ready Helmets, Astral Buoyancy and Adventure Technology Paddles.
On Saturday May 16 & 17 the first annual Southern Raft Supply Battle of the Broad will commence. SUP is one of the hottest and fastest growing watersports in the world, and the Battle of the Broad will bring that excitement and energy to Asheville’s iconic French Broad River.Check out the event website to learn more.