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Private company
Industry Ecommerce, Outdoor Industry
Founded 1996
Headquarters West Valley City and Park City, Utah
Products Outdoor gear
Owner TSG Consumer Partners (81%)
Number of employees
Website 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.

History[edit] 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 sparse collection of avalanche gear and began selling gear from their garage in Park City, Utah under the domain names and[1] The store's first sale, a Pieps 457 Opti-finder avalanche beacon, happened in February 1997.[2] The company purchased the domain name for $75,000 in 2004.[3] grew at an astonishing rate for its first 15 years. It quickly became one of a very few profitable retailers and competed with REI for the lead in this category. REI never lost the lead. After rapid product growth Backcountry began to court other categories including discount and One Deal At A Time (ODAT) [4] In an attempt to regain focus and target bargain-seekers, the company added niche websites such as and outlets such as the now-defunct and Deeply discounted product was eventually moved to an Outlet section accessible from the homepage.

On May 7, 2007, it was announced that a controlling stake in was sold to Liberty Media Corporation, which also controls QVC and other e-commerce companies.[5] 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[6] 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.

On July 1, 2015, TSG Consumer Partners purchased Liberty's stake in Backcountry.[7]

On December 11, 2015, Backcountry CEO Jill Layfield resigned from her position as CEO after working for the company in various capacities for 11 years.[8]

Backcountry Athlete Sponsorship[edit] launched a non-traditional athlete sponsorship program in 2008, which requires that the athletes promote themselves and the brand they represent through social media.[9][10] athletes are responsible for actively driving traffic to through YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and blogs.

In an interview on,'s Athlete Wrangler, 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."[9]

The program also acted as an affiliate marketing program in which provided athletes with tools to track and measure their online impact and athletes got a percentage return on each sale that is referred through their community presence. That program is no longer running.[9]

Sickbird Award[edit] 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 for snowboarding and skiing. Backcountry is no longer sponsoring that award.


  1. ^ Peters, Kurt. The Age of Innovation, December 2005, Internet Retailer
  2. ^ The Retailers, Outside Magazine, March 2009, page 61
  3. ^ Press Release, 2004
  4. ^ Internet Retailer, 2005
  5. ^ Press Release, May 2007
  6. ^ Press release, Dec 2013
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ a b c team athletes get after it...on the Interweb, April 28, 2008, Climbing Magazine
  10. ^ Adds More Rippers to Line-up, March 31, 2008, Transworld Business

External links[edit]