Backcountry.com names 21 badass athletes to its unconventional pro teamPark City, UTAH (Mar. 28, 2008) – Once in a while, revolutionary inventions come along that change the way things are done and stir things up for good. Take the light bulb, the microwave oven, VELCRO and the Internet, for example. And who can deny the importance of pasteurized processed E-Z cheese spread or all-in-one convertible hiking pants? (Are they pants? Yes! Are they shorts? Yes!) In the same mix-it-up spirit, Backcountry.com is launching its new athlete sponsorship program, which, in all humility, is at least as cutting-edge as convertible hiking pants.So what’s the big idea? The Backcountry.com athletes’ job is to shred, outlast and dominate in their respective sports and then spread Backcountry love on the Interweb. Instead of the traditional approach of logo-ing up athletes, sending them out, and praying for a return, Backcountry has charged its pros with actively driving traffic to the e-tail site via social media. Team athletes are ambassadors for Backcountry.com through product reviews, personal profile pages, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, blogs, vlogs, and core websites. They get the word out to their friends and fans, and in turn drive core customers back to Backcountry. Their incentive is a percentage kickback on each sale referred through their network of influence. The harder they work, the more money they make. It’s a whole lot like affiliate marketing on a person-to-person scale.“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,” Backcountry.com Team Manager Jon Atencio said. And the Backcountry.com team roster is loaded with heavies:Jeremy Jones – big-mountain snowboard ruler Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, Ingrid Backstrom, Erik Roner, Cody Barnhill, Jamey Parks, Rachael Burks, Julian Carr – freeskiing movie stars Nick Devore, Will Cardamone, Noah Howell – big-mountain tele rippers Karl Meltzer – mountain endurance running master Chris Davenport – stud-licious ski mountaineer Andrew McLean – wrote the book on gnarly first descents Kasha Rigby – kooky ski adventurer Don Bowie – high-altitude peak bagger Julia Niles – alpine climber, first descender and cancer survivor Drew Tabke, Jess McMillan, Tyson Bolduc – big hitting, line-laying, freeskiing circuit champsFor the athletes, Backcountry’s team program is also an opportunity to master the art of self-promotion. Backcountry.com provides them with quantitative tools to track and measure their impact online, so they compile hard data to show other sponsors how much pull they really have.“It’s win-win," said Atencio. "Backcountry.com gets cred for lining up the raddest athletes out there—the best spokespeople for the gear we sell—and they get to earn cash on the sales they drive through the site. It’s a whole new way to look at sponsorship, and a whole new way to work with athletes.”So granted, in the list of revolutionary inventions, Backcountry.com’s athlete program is not anywhere near as good as the light bulb, but it’s definitely better than Cheez Whiz. For more beta, and to check out all 21 Backcountry.com athlete profile pages, go to: http://www.backcountry.com/store/dc/565/Backcountry-Team.html.About Backcountry.comBackcountry.com is an online retailer of performance outdoor adventure gear and apparel. The e-commerce site carries more than 400 brands in various categories, including backpacking, camping, hiking, climbing, trail running, paddling, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and adventure travel. Backcountry.com also operates BackcountryOutlet.com, SteepandCheap.com, Dogfunk.com, Tramdock.com, and WhiskeyMilitia.com.