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North Face targets skiers, snowboarders with iPhone app

Outdoor apparel giant The North Face has launched Snow Report 2.0, a free branded iPhone weather application for skiers and snowboarders that aggregates resort-specific Twitter updates and weather and snow condition feeds.

The North Face Snow Report 2.0 features weather updates and detailed daily forecasts for the most popular domestic and international resorts. Using a newly updated format, The North Face Snow Report 2.0 aggregates topical information and Twitter news feeds into one application, letting users access instant peer-to-peer feedback about snow conditions and tweet their own updates directly from the application.

?The North Face has a proud tradition of leading the outdoor industry in innovation and has an especially strong heritage within snow-sports," said Aaron Carpenter, vice president of marketing at The North Face, San Leandro, CA. ?We have a global team of athletes that includes many of the world?s top skiers and snowboarders and many of our core consumers are also avid snow-sports enthusiasts.  

?We introduced the original Snow Report late last year to give our athletes and core consumers who ski and snowboard all the information they need when hitting the mountains in an easy-to-use and innovative free platform,? he said. ?Not only does the application give users access to mobile updates wherever their expeditions take them, but it also encourages consumers to get outdoors and be active.?

The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor Inc., offers products to climbers, mountaineers, snow-sport athletes, endurance athletes and explorers.

The company's products are sold in specialty mountaineering, backpacking, running and snow-sport retailers, premium-sporting-goods retailers and major outdoor specialty retail chains.

Calling all snow-sports enthusiasts
As with the original North Face Snow Report application that launched in the winter of 2008, consumers are able to select, save and arrange favorite winter resorts for mobile access to current and recent snowfall reports, wind direction and wind speed information.

The target demographic of the North Face application is all skiers and snowboarders with an iPhone or iPod touch.

In addition to the new Twitter function, the latest version features push notification, which alerts users about snowfall at their favorite resorts by displaying an icon above the application logo.

Other new features include access to 24-, 48- and 72-hour total snowfalls, more high-resolution trail maps and avalanche advisories.

The application also lets users access driving directions to their favorite resorts through Google Maps with the Locate function and find their way around upon arrival with the Trail Maps function.

Consumers will be able to access additional information through links to the Weather Underground, as well as resort-specific Web sites and links to avalanche forecasts for their favorite zones.

Available in the iTunes App Store, the Snow Report 2.0 also features a North Face store locator, news feed and athlete image galleries.

The North Face said that a smartphone-enabled mobile Web site is currently in development and is planned to launch around Thanksgiving. This HTML-based page will be accessible to nearly anyone with a Web-enabled device.

The North Face is using a multi-pronged marketing strategy to get the word out about the Snow Report 2.0 application for the iPhone.

?We are sharing the app with our current customers as a tool to enable and inspire them to get outdoors by highlighting it on our Web site and within our holiday gift catalogue,? Mr. Carpenter said. ?The Snow Report 2.0 is also mentioned in some of Apple?s current print ad campaigns and retail signage.

?We have also included an App Store logo and Snow Report call-out in all Snowsports print advertising for Fall '09, as well as a rich-media online banner that geolocates customers to provide resort snow information for resorts near them and clicks-through to the iTunes page,? he said.