The History of NordicTrack – The Famed Fitness Giant
NordicTrack began in 1975 under the name PSI NordicTrack Inc. by Edward Pauls in Chaska, Minnesota. Pauls designed ski boots for Rosemount, Inc. based in Minnesota. Pauls had studied mechanical engineering, and when the Rosemark Firm closed in 1969 he began to focus wholly on his own inventions. He designed and patented “outrigger” skis for handicapped skiers. During a wet and nasty training session the idea for the NordicTrack ski machine was designed, according to Forbes Magazine. Pauls was an avid cross country skier, and he believed that he could duplicate the motion indoors so that others may train every month of the year. He then teamed up with national collegiate cross-country skiing champion and daughter Terri so that she may train with a device all year around and gain an edge against her competition. His design paired wooden skis with a patented fly wheel and one way clutch mechanism. After serious interest in his new product, he then invested his own money and began manufacturing the NordicTrack cross-country skier.
In 1986, after careful management from Ed Pauls and a national fitness craze, the family run business had an annual revenue of $15 Million a year. At this time Pails was either going to grow larger, or sell. When Charles M. Leighton, of the CML Group, Inc. offered him $24 Million for the NordicTrack Company, Pauls sold. According to the agreement, Pauls would receive 7 million shares of CML stock, and a five year employment contract that would name Edward Pauls and his wife Chairman and Senior Vice President.
When the company was bought by CML, NordicTrack was still only producing the skier, and Leighton wanted to diversify. In the early 1990’s NordicTrack introduced the NordicPower and the Executive Power Chair.
In the Early 1990’s NordicTrack was booming with the introduction of retail stores and Factory Direct showrooms that offered all of the NordicTrack lines with considerable discounts. In 1993 stock began to drop, and the company began to experience a decline in sales. The Company then responded to the drop with a change in upper management personnel.
The second half of 1995, CML’s stock fell 60%. The introduction of other fitness equipment had replaced the popularity. After several new products were introduced such as the Ellipse and Abworks sales still did not swing upward. In 1997 NordicTrack made an agreement with Sears to sell their Brand at all of the 850 retail locations. At this time, Sears was the largest retailer of fitness equipment in the United States.
Despite the major changes, sales in 1997 were continuing to decline. In 1999 ICON Health and Fitness acquired NordicTrack and developed a premium line of home fitness equipment. NordicTrack is now owned by the same company that owns some of the most well recognized names in the fitness industry, such as Weslo, Healthrider, Reebok, Epic and Proform.
NordicTrack continues to be a leader in fitness technology, and continues to introduce new products.
In 2006, NordicTrack introduced the Elite 3200 TV treadmill that includes the iFIT workout programmable cards that allow the user to realize their fitness goals in a more enjoyable manor. Also introduced in 06’ the Audiostrider elliptical that provides motivational music and coaching from a certified personal trainer.
In 2007, NordicTrack introduced Reflex Deck Treadmill. The Reflex deck is an arc shaped deck that reduces impact on the joints by 36%. Also introduced in 2007, the new PT3 strength system that offers audio and visual support for strength training in the users home for those that enjoy Free Motion Cablecross machines in their clubs.
NordicTrack is a one of the best in the fitness industry. ICON and NordicTrack continue to introduce new technology to the fitness industry that is affordable to anyone interested in continuing health.