Skiing startups converge in Frisco

From left: Gregg Blanchard, Patrick van den Broek, Jason Van Peeren, Dwight Eppinger were on the panel at Saturday's Startup Ski Summit. Photos by George Demopoulos.

From left: Gregg Blanchard, Patrick van den Broek, Jason Van Peeren, Dwight Eppinger were on the panel at last weekend’s Startup Ski Summit. Photos by George Demopoulos.

Sixty outdoor industry entrepreneurs convened at Elevate CoSpace in Frisco last week for the first Startup Ski Summit.

Keynote speaker Joel Gratz – a meteorologist and founder of weather forecasting website Opensnow.com – delivered a speech featuring a seminar on the weather patterns behind the 2014-2015 ski season’s conditions, a crash-course on climate change and a lesson on the history of his company.

From left: Event organizers Amy Kemp, Rebecca Bowden and Gabrielle Tinner.

From left: Event organizers Amy Kemp, Rebecca Bowden and Gabrielle Tinner.

“The best advice that I can give you is to think about what you want out of your business,” Gratz said. “A lot of people say, ‘I want to make lots of money,’ and that’s fine.”

Moderated by ski resort software designer Ryan Solutions’ Director of Communications Gregg Blanchard, the first panel addressed how entrepreneurs could take advantage of the increasing effects of technology and mobile applications on the ski industry. Panelists included Copper Mountain’s Director of Marketing Dwight Eppinger, Patrick van den Broek of Denver-based custom ski builder Grace Skis, and software company MJD Interactive’s Vice President Jason van Peeren.

The second panel talked about the options available to startups seeking funding. Moderator Jeff Schell of law firm Rocky Mountain Patent directed the panel’s discussion. Peter Adams of the Rockies Venture Club, Gabby Tinner of Quandary Crowdfunding, and Anita Cameron of the Northwest Loan Fund made up the panelists.

“We were looking for smart, inspired, experienced people,” said Elevate co-founder and event organizer Amy Kemp of the panelists. “We also wanted them to be able to communicate and connect to people in a forum.”

She said that he hopes to repeat the event next year.

Kemp and her business partners Julia Landon and Wendy Basey founded Elevate last year. The facility has 3,600 square feet of space that is shared between 30 members, both full- and part-time.

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wendy
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I missed the whole event but as a co-owner I am
so thankful to all that attended. I have heard nothing
but good reviews. A absolute for next year!!