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Edito 1981-2011: a 30-year history of charting its own course. 30 years… a lot has happened to this little company that was founded in 1981 in Thônes, in the cradle of the French Alps. What a long way we’ve come! Who would have thought that the snowshoe, that prehistoric device, would become the second largest winter sport after skiing? No one, except… 2 people who were considered to be oddballs in the 80s: Jean-Claude BIBOLLET and Philippe GALLAY. On a trip to North America, Jean-Claude BIBOLLET discovered a wooden snowshoe. Back home in the warm, and surrounded by good, fresh snow, he had the idea of adapting the snowshoe and making it out of plastic. And that’s how TSL (Thônes Sport Loisirs) and the JCB snowshoe were born. Unfortunately, the TSL story came close to ending there, as the company was faced with severe financial difficulties. Philippe GALLAY, a ski instructor in La Clusaz, nothow much his first snowshoe clients enjoyed their sport. He was convinced by the product and decided to buy TSL in 1986 for next to nothing.
TSL since 2005
He set up his workshop in his parents’ family home and, on snowy evenings, enlisted the help of a few friends to make snowshoes that were sold in a few local shops. Thanks to the new company director’s strong personality and his ability to anticipate snowshoers’ needs, the TSL snowshoes travelled outside France, initially to Japan and then to other European countries. TSL thus created and developed the recreational snowshoe market, offering ingenious, high-quality products. Always full of ideas for helping people have fun outdoors, TSL created other markets. For example, in 2005, the company introduced French sports-lovers to a new activity from Scandinavia – Nordic walking - and became the French market leader. In the same vein, TSL launched a new type of snow-sport on the international market in 2011: the Yooner. So TSL has covered a lot of ground on its way to its 30th birthday. The company has always worked towards consistent, irreproachable product quality, close, friendly relations with its customers, authenticity born from its atypical culture and human values, all of which have gone towards making it the leading brand in the snowshoe market and a creative force in the development of new outdoor sports. For 30 years, the Savoy company and its customers have been sharing their love of the mountains, the open air, the product, the excitement and the dream. And the Savoy company still has plenty of surprises in store! TSL OUTDOOR… Go your own way…
Injection 74 family home (1986-1995) Today
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TSL’s key dates: 30 busy years! 2011
New product, new market: the YOONER. The Yooner is a new form of winter sport on ski slopes.
TSL OUTDOOR makes its mark once again by offering the first snowshoe manufactured in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.
Opening of the TSL SNOWSHOES subsidiary in the USA, offering aluminium snowshoes produced in Vermont for the American market.
2005 TSL OUTDOOR launches its first range of Nordic walking poles, which include major innovations. In the same year, the company moves into larger premises in Annecy-le-Vieux.
The first diversification products: shoes and telescopic poles.
On Christmas Eve, Philippe GALLAY designs the 225 RANDO, the first comfortable, technically-sophisticated snowshoe.
TSL recruits its first employee and buys its main subcontractor, INJECTION 74, in order to control the entire production process.
TSL is bought out by Philippe GALLAY, the current director. The company is transferred to the family garage in La Clusaz (Haute-Savoie, France).
1981 TSL (Thônes Sports Loisirs) is founded by Jean-Claude BIBOLLET, who designs the JCB, a plastic snowshoe.
225 Rando, the world’s top-selling snowshoe
Its unique hourglass shape means that, for the first time, users can walk naturally in snowshoes. The 225 Rando also has an articulated binding to maintain the foot firmly. 3 years after it was created in 1995, the 225 Rando had a 40% market share. Its success was immediate. 16 years later, 710,000 pairs had been sold. It was redesigned in 2007 and is now known as the 226 Rando.
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A few figures - Sales in 2010: 12 million euros, 40% to export - An average of 200,000 pairs of snowshoes sold per year - Established in 35 countries - 4000 shops worldwide - 30% world market share - 55 % European market share - 60 patents lodged worldwide On 5 February 2001, TSL was awarded the first prize for innovation in Munich (ISPO AWARD) for its “Step-In” concept.
2,000,000: that’s the figure reached in 2010 for the number of TSL snowshoes sold worldwide since 1981 1000 pairs a year were produced in 1986. 3000 pairs a day in 2011.
What about the future? Develop summer sales Maintain our position as world leader for snowshoes and promote new, innovative products Develop the export market and introduce snowshoes in other countries
Maintain our values: French (European and Asian markets) and American (US market) manufacture, innovation, human enterprise, and development of new activities
The end of the 90s
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French manufacture From its early days, TSL OUTDOOR has always been close to the environment. The company was born in the Alps and has always sought to maintain its production facilities there. Customers benefit from the proximity and reactivity that comes from our total control of production (from plastic injection to final assembly). The company is therefore sure to manufacture quality products, play a role in the local economy and minimise its impact on the environment. Its aluminium snowshoes are made in the United States for the American market.
A friendly, family culture Employees enjoy friendly relations as TSL has remained on a human scale (approximately 50 employees year-round and a hundred during the main production season). Conviviality, passion and respect for human values are the watchwords at TSL OUTDOOR. Every member of the company shares this same state of mind and the same convictions. Everyone acts openly, with a keen sense of responsibility.
A desire to offer the public new activities As a forerunner in the development of the snowshoe market since 1981, of Nordic walking in France since 2005 and, recently, with the Yooner, TSL OUTDOOR invests heavily in promoting its activities (a promotional stock of 4000 pairs of snowshoes, 200 pairs of Nordic walking poles and 170 Yooners). The overall policy is also focused on the export market to encourage the emergence of these 3 activities on 3 continents (Europe, Asia, Americas).
30 The snowshoes
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3 activities, 3 new products. These models are fitted with the famous Up & Down heel flotation (TSL patent), which reduces the effects of uphill and downhill slopes (where the back of the binding goes under the deck to keep the feet flat and prevent them from pushing towards the toe of the shoe). The Access binding allows you to put the shoes on quickly, securely and comfortably and it memorizes the size of the shoe (toe + size). Finally, with 8 crampons, the front teeth and side grips, the overall traction is outstanding. The 418 & 438 Access are so comfortable, you’ll forget you’re wearing them on the walk!
Memory lock system
Normal position Going uphill
Up & Down System Maximum grip
3 positions for maximum walking comfort
GYMNA STICK This very sturdy pole is made of 100% carbon for irreproachable vibration absorption, a push & pull pad and an removable strap strap. The cork foam grip offers maximum comfort. Recommended for Nordic walking enthusiasts
YOONER gliding effortlessly down the slopes, discovering thrilling sensations, all without learning…Your dream can come true with the arrival on the slopes of the Yooner. Seated 20cm above the ground, like a snow kart, this new machine is a true invitation to ski. Its fun aspect and user-friendliness allow you to take control after just one descent and then you are o_ onto the ski slope or bobsleigh run. The Yooner is light, easy to handle and is equipped with a shock absorber for more comfort and a ski which will allow you to “carve” like you would if you were skiing. Hop on board! Gliding sensations guaranteed!
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Press contact Jean-Marie LATHUILLE – firstname.lastname@example.org 9 rue du pré Faucon PAE Les Glaisins 74940 Annecy-le-Vieux Tel : +33 (0)4 50 10 16 01 Fax : +33 (0)4 50 01 28 97 tsloutdoor.com