|Type||Private company 81% owned by Liberty Media|
|Industry||Ecommerce, Outdoor Industry|
|Headquarters||West Valley City and Park City, Utah|
|Key people||CEO Jill Layfield|
Backcountry.com is an online specialty retailer that sells clothing and outdoor recreation gear for hiking, camping, road biking, mountain biking, rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, skiing, avalanche safety, snowboarding, fly fishing, kayaking, rafting, road and trail running, and more.
Backcountry.com was founded in 1996 with a $2,000 out-of-pocket investment by lifetime friends Jim Holland and John Bresee. The two started the online business with a stack of avalanche beacons and began selling gear from their garage in Heber City, Utah under the domain names BCstore.com and BackcountryStore.com. The store's first sale, an avalanche beacon, happened five weeks later. The company purchased the domain name backcountry.com for $75,000 in 2004.
Backcountry.com soon expanded its product line and became less focused, a move it later regretted. In an attempt to regain focus and target bargain-seekers, the company added niche websites such as SteepandCheap.com and outlets such as the now-defunct BackcountryOutlet.com (see Other Backcountry Stores below). Deeply discounted product was eventually moved to an Outlet section accessible from the Backcountry.com homepage.
On May 7, 2007, it was announced that a controlling stake in Backcountry.com was sold to Liberty Media Corporation, which also controls QVC and other e-commerce companies. This transferred effective ownership of the company to billionaire John C. Malone.
On Dec 5, 2013, Backcountry announced its acquisition of German online outdoor retailer Bergfreunde.de. An established and quickly growing presence in the European outdoor market, Bergfreunde was founded in 2006 in Kirchentellinsfurt, Germany where the business first sold clothing and gear for climbing and mountaineering. Bergfreunde has since expanded its product selection to include gear for hiking, camping, snowsports, and avalanche safety.
Backcountry Athlete Sponsorship
Backcountry.com launched a non-traditional athlete sponsorship program in 2008, which requires that the athletes promote themselves and the brand they represent through social media. Backcountry.com-sponsored athletes are responsible for actively driving traffic to Backcountry.com through YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and blogs.
In an interview on Climbing.com, backcountry.com's pro team manager, Jon Atencio, said: "Athletes will have new motivation to participate in community, write product reviews, and make their presence known however they can — and we plan to do everything we can to leverage their community action."
The program also acts as an affiliate marketing program in which Backcountry.com provides athletes with tools to track and measure their online impact and athletes get a percentage return on each sale that is referred through their community presence.
Backcountry.com uses the Sickbird belt buckle to recognize standout athletes at the Mountain Sports International/Subaru big Mountain Freeskiing World Tour. The Sickbird is awarded to one athlete at each Freeskiing World Tour destination.
- Peters, Kurt. The Age of Innovation, December 2005, Internet Retailer
- The Retailers, Outside Magazine, March 2009, page 61
- Press Release, 2004
- Internet Retailer, 2005
- Press Release, May 2007
- Press release, Dec 2013
- Backcountry.com team athletes get after it...on the Interweb, April 28, 2008, Climbing Magazine
- Backcountry.com Adds More Rippers to Line-up, March 31, 2008, Transworld Business