|Type||Private company 81% owned by Liberty Media|
|Industry||E-tail, Outdoor Industry|
|Headquarters||West Valley City and Park City, Utah|
|Key people||CEO Jill Layfield, COO Kevin Samuelson|
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 Sites 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 Bergfruende.de. An established and quickly growing presence in the European outdoor market, Bergfruende was founded in 2006 in Kirchentellinsfurt, Germany where the business first sold clothing and gear for climbing and mountaineering. Bergfruende has since expanded its product selection to include gear for hiking, camping, snowsports, and avalanche safety.
With the launch of Explore on the homepage in 2013, Backcountry expanded its pool of educational content to include articles and videos about travel, outdoor gear and culture, training, how-to's, and more. These articles and videos are provided by backcountry.com athletes, its customer service Gearheads, backcountry.com staff writers, and outside contributors.
Additional backcountry.com Stores
- dogfunk.com.com | Gear, clothing, and accessories for snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing.
- CompetitiveCyclist.com | Complete bikes, components, clothing, and service for road biking and mountain biking.
- GearTrade.com | Used gear, Backcountry returns, and consignment or individual sales.
backcountry.com One Deal at a Time Sites
These sites offer limited time, limited-quantity sales on deeply discounted gear and clothing.
- Steepandcheap.com (outdoor, camping & hiking, & skiing)
- WhiskeyMilitia.com (surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding)
- Chainlove.com (road biking & mountain biking)
Discontinued backcountry.com Websites
- Tramdock.com (Rolled into SteepAndCheap.com, January 2011)
- BonkTown.com (Rolled into ChainLove.com)
- Brociety.com (Rolled into WhiskeyMilitia.com)
- BackcountryOutlet.com (Rolled into DepartmentOfGoods.com)
- HucknRoll.com (Rolled into CompetitiveCyclist.com, October 2012 )
- RealCyclist.com (Rolled into CompetitiveCyclist.com, March 2013 )
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 is actually 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 award to one athlete at each FWT stop.
- 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