Big response for first Colorado snowsports entrepreneur award

Twenty-four homegrown Colorado snowsports businesses have sent in video applications in the hopes of receiving the first-ever Colorado Snowsports Entrepreneur Award. SNEWS talks to one of the award's creators about the big response.

Custom ski and snowboard makers, furniture designers, and up and coming apparel brands have all thrown their business ideas into the ring for a chance to win the first-ever Something Independent Snowsport Entrepreneur Award. 

Sponsored by Something Independent, in partnership with Sprocket Communications, ColoradoBiz Magazine, and Icelantic Skis, the award was established to recognize the interactive role between commerce and recreation in the mountain state.

“Lifestyle and business are no more connected anywhere in the U.S. than they are in Colorado,” Chuck Sullivan, co-founder of Something Independent told SNEWS. “The chance to participate in the industry and culture of snowsports represents a lot of the allure that brings people to Colorado, and once they are here a lot of those people end up starting businesses for themselves.” 

Sullivan said that Something Independent, which is an initiative to promote the industry and culture of snowsports in Colorado, launched the competition as a way to recognize emerging brands that could become fixtures in the state. Applicants were required to submit a 60-90 second video for entry. The winning entrepreneur will receive a cash award of $1,500, a marketing and communications package from Sprocket Communications and media recognition from ColoradoBiz Magazine.

The judging panel for the award -- which will be announced on Oct. 4, 2011 at Battery 621 in Denver, the home of Spyder Active Sports' Denver showroom and the headquarters of Icelantic -- includes Icelantic ski global brand manager Annelise Loevlie; Alexander Price, economic development policy advisor for Governor John Hickenlooper; and state Sen. Jean White, among others.

In terms of the original call for entries, Sullivan said the response has been fantastic. “I would have been pleased if we had received ten, with this being the first year and us just getting the word out,” Sullivan said. “But we received 24 applications, and they came from all across the state -- from Aspen to Boulder to Pagosa Springs. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the diversity and size of the businesses, and excited by the response.” 

Funding for the 2011 SI Snowsport Entrepreneur Award was generated through the Art of Winter, an outdoor exhibit of ski and snowboard art produced by Something Independent and hosted by Denver’s Larimer Square that showcased boutique ski and snowboard brands incorporating art and design into their products in January 2011, which was on display during the SnowSports Industries America Snow Show. The announcement of the award will coincide with a weeklong celebration of “The Launch of Winter,” at Battery 621. Look to SNEWS for more information as the winner is announced.

--Peter Kray

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