Black Diamond Equipment Ltd. opened a Demo Center in La Grave, France; hired key staff in its marketing department and recognized Colleen Graham Nipkow, BD’s marketing manager, for winning the 2006 Wasatch Outdoor Volunteer Award.

Black Diamond’s new Demo Center, opening this winter 2006-2007, is located in La Grave’s storied Edelweiss Hotel. One of the steepest ski areas in the world, and the cradle of freeriding, ski mountaineering and alpinism, La Grave is a prime locale for testing BD equipment. European retailers and consumers are invited to demo both ski and alpine climbing equipment.

Laurel Hunter, Black Diamond’s new graphic designer, will focus on web and print design. A former college art teacher and freelance designer, Hunter’s work has appeared in Artweek, the Oakland Tribune and in numerous exhibitions. When she’s not designing, Hunter enjoys racing her road bike, riding her backcountry snowboard and climbing.

Black Diamond’s new Athlete and Event Coordinator, Charlie Lynch, comes to Salt Lake City from the North Face, where he supported the sales team, coordinated events and participated in product testing. At BD, Lynch will focus on supporting and expanding the athlete team and promoting the Black Diamond brand through grass roots sponsorship and core outdoor events. Lynch is a passionate freeskier and triathlete.

Colleen Graham Nipkow, BD’s marketing manager, has been recognized by REI and regional non-profit organizations for her work with the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center (FUAC). “Colleen was an ideal choice for our Wasatch Outdoor Volunteer Award,” comments Eric Spreng, REI community outreach coordinator. “As president of FUAC, she has contributed countless hours directing the fundraising efforts required to keep the Utah Avalanche Center operating at a high standard, and she has done so selflessly, without ego or expectation of recognition & reward. Not only does Colleen epitomize the spirit of volunteerism, I sincerely believe that her personal contribution has helped save lives in the backcountry.”