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Opening a Ski company? What colleges?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Alright, so i had posted before asking what colleges would be good for skiing. I was thinking about studying law, but im not sure if thats the right path.

Today i was think about how much i like to build my own things and work on projects. I love to wax my own skis, take apart and fix things, and just yesterday i tried to make my own custom earbuds with epoxy

I also love to ski, and just as much as i love to ski, i love ski gear. I think the design of skis and the little difference things make is fascinating. I also think the technical part of gear is amazing and how something can be wind and water proof and breathable and look good. So why not put these two together?

So now I'm thinking about how much i would love to own a ski shop or company. I could make my own skis, make poles, and make a lot of awesome technical clothes, what i have found is that most really really expensive and technical jackets cater to a different crowd of skiers and i would love to make a 28k water proof, 25,000g breathability jacket for freestyle skiers too.

I was just thinking how someone like Tanner Hall, a great skier but im sure isnt the smartest guy, can turn a name into a huge ski company amongst freestyle skiers. So i would like to create my version of Armada, with tons of focus on more than just skis.

So what would i have to study? what would be a good school? Do you guys think its worth it or a good idea? any other comments?

Thanks
post #2 of 28
to make a small fortune in the ski industry, start with a large fortune.

best of luck.
post #3 of 28
Colorado mountain college. has a ski idustery program that teaches you exactly this
post #4 of 28

CMC

CMC is a 2 yr school with ski managment and other courses. I think you would want to have "real" businees classes too. otherwise like the ski biz is what Wibby said.
post #5 of 28
You might want to narrow down your ambitions a little bit- if you want to do ski or jacket r&d, then a material science degree would be a good place to start. Boot and binding design would be easier with a mechanical or biomedical engineering degree. If you want to own a ski shop, a business degree would be the right way to go. On the other hand, if you just want to build skis out of your garage ala PMgear, a business degree would probably work out better than a materials degree.
post #6 of 28
I had a similar reaction to Takecontrol618:

- If you want to learn about "making stuff" in a general sense, study engineering. So ... just sign up for CalTech or MIT. Or, more realistically, apply to several of the many schools with very good engineering programs that otherwise fit. I'm sure you can easily track down as much information as you want that'll help evaluate the different schools.

- If you want to learn about "running companies" generally -- financing, marketing, management, etc. -- you want to study business. This is a slightly more complicated path, as you could study business as an undergraduate, or go to a liberal arts school and go on to business school.

Either of these two (or three) paths has the additional advantage that, should you later decide that dedicating yourself to one fairly small industry at age 18 was perhaps premature, you won't have done that.

This may be, ahem, academic, but if you want to study law, it might be helpful to note that, in the US anyway, you need to graduate from college first.
post #7 of 28
University of Montana in Missoula has a good law program. Montana Snowbowl is 30 minutes away and Lookout Pass, Lost Trail & Discovery are all within 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Whitefish, where Tanner Hall learned to ski, is 3 hours away.
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubsman35 View Post
So i would like to create my version of Armada, with tons of focus on more than just skis.
Must have read the latest Freeskier magazine...
post #9 of 28
post #10 of 28
To wet your whistle on making skis....see:

http://www.SkiBuilders.com

As Wibby said... "To make a small fortune in the ski industry, start with a large fortune."

I would think you concentrate on one thing (hardgoods, softgoods or business) and do it really, really well..then find others to join you to do their things with a passion like you do your thing....then...well...everybody's...like...doing their own thing...sort of...

Most sucessful startups concentrate on one niche and do it better than the competition (it can even mean marketing a similar or perhaps even less-technically excellent product better than the competition)....and see if that can pay the bills. Then move on to other adventures in the business...
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wibby View Post
to make a small fortune in the ski industry, start with a large fortune.

best of luck.
I thought that was the Bicycle business. But what do I know I own a bike shop (and have a law degree).
post #12 of 28
Sounds like the OP needs Business Administration and Engineering.

Maybe a minor in Fashion??.....I'm just saying, cover all the bases.
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubsman35 View Post
So what would i have to study?
Business.
post #14 of 28

c note

it sounds like you want to go to school for business.

tanner hall is just a name , an image, its all about marketability.

you should find a great busniess school my friend . you will learn alot . if you wanted to start a company like that , you really wouldnt want to roll your own dice. dont mess up your credit in college !!!!!!

when you finish school with a b.a. in business and a great credit score you can get funding for your business at a great rate and with out too much effort.

you as one person can really do little. the idea is to understand how a business should be soundly run, from administration to labor to logistics .

if you go that route, even if you change your mind about what avenue of business you would like to persue, you will be able to persue your new passion.

i grew up in nyc and went to college in california . it was my first time away from the atlantic . i had been to europe but never west of pennsylvania lol!!!.

going out west changed me . it was awesome and inspiring . i now live in portland maine , a place i feel is a compromise.

access to east coast capital and institutions , but with access to nature , and great skiing .

where are you from now?

whatever , my picks for you

west , UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT BOULDER
east, DARTMOUTH COLLEGE

now if you cant afford those top teir schools

west, university of the pacific , lake tahoe
east , castleton college in vermont
post #15 of 28
A few small notes:

- While my own post above threw out both the engineering and the business options -- and while the person whose decision is meaningful is the original poster's -- I'd lean much more toward engineering than business. His post makes it fairly clear that his interest and talent is in making things. Study what's interesting to you and what you're generally good at.

- Some of the recommendations are a little odd. University of Montana is has a third-tier (between 105th & 142nd) law school, per US News' rankings. Of course, he's not going to be in a position to go there until he gets and undergraduate degree anyway. Dartmouth is an excellent school, sends many students to top MBA programs, and has a very good graduate business school itself ... but if you were to try to get a BA in business from there, you'd find yourself highly frustrated. And University of the Pacific is, so far as I can tell, in Stockton, which is not exactly "Lake Tahoe."

- There are scores of schools that are within reasonable distance of decent skiing, including pretty nearly every college in upper New England and Western Mass., all those in Seattle, Portland, Utah, Colorado and, I suppose, a huge slew of institutione in Boston, for that matter.
post #16 of 28

best you can tell

They have a lake tahoe campus.
post #17 of 28
Plus two on U of Montana! Great town, great people, and proximity to many great ski areas. We are within hour and a half of Lost Trail (my favorite), Lookout, Snowbowl, and Discovery, all which boasts a good 200+ inches of powder a year. And like what was said before, wonderful business program at the U and I can attest to that!
post #18 of 28
Montana State in Bozeman has a solid engineering program, is relatively easy to get into and is relatively affordable, even for out-of-state. Close to Bridger and Big Sky. Some of the dorms have waxing rooms. The cover page of the college "viewbook" features a skier ripping, so you see the local priorities....
post #19 of 28
I'm going to play devil's advocate here- bear with me-

What makes you think a college education is the answer?? Many many successful companies of every shape and size have been started with little formal education. I think having a passion for whatever you are doing in life will FAR exceed the formal education. (Book smart -vs- real life experience)

End devils advocate-
post #20 of 28
There's a college near Nelson, BC that has a ski industry major, I think it's called University of the Selkirks or something. If you are academic, Portland, OR. is a great place to live and study. My alma mater, Lewis and Clark College is there, as is the more bookish Reed College.

Oh, yeah, and there's skiing nearby.
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJB View Post
I'm going to play devil's advocate here- bear with me-

What makes you think a college education is the answer?? Many many successful companies of every shape and size have been started with little formal education. I think having a passion for whatever you are doing in life will FAR exceed the formal education. (Book smart -vs- real life experience)

End devils advocate-
I'm a big fan of people going to college, but this is quite true of many people who start successful technical companies.
Bill Gates left school to start Microsoft. The two most important technical people in the highly successful company I work for didn't complete their BS degrees...they had been living and breathing circuits since they were kids, and they were both geniuses, so college was really not going to teach them that much. Dean Kamen left WPI before earning a degree, and I would suspect this was for similar reasons.
The people who are truly passionate about their fields and have the brainpower and drive to back it up are probably better off starting their careers young than spending more time in school. But, you've gotta also realize that these are also truly exceptional people, not just in smarts but also in focus and determination.
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Watchunglava View Post
They have a lake tahoe campus.
Whoever does their website seems to be blissfully unaware of that fact.

Their law school is in Sacramento, which is closer than Stockton, I think, though not exactly what I'd call local to Tahoe ... an in any event, this is, again, of purely academic interest, since the OP isn't going to law school at the moment, or any time soon if ever.
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtus_Probi View Post
Bill Gates left school to start Microsoft.
Okay, fair point that, if you are a student at Harvard, interested in starting a company in a field of business that's essentially non-existent, and you have two very prominent parents (including a mother with highly-placed contacts at a company that can give you a contract that will make your company all by itself) ... you don't need to graduate.

Of course, it is well known that Bill Gates surrounded himself with other executives and engineeers who also did not graduate from college.
post #24 of 28
If you think you actually want to get into making skis contact Pat Keane at PMGear skis and offer to "intern" there this summer. You will get an introductory education of building skis and whirl wind bonus life education not matched at any Ivy Leaque school.

I bet at the end you will have a new outlook on if you do or don't want to be in the ski industry.
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by shirk_007 View Post
If you think you actually want to get into making skis contact Pat Keane at PMGear skis and offer to "intern" there this summer. You will get an introductory education of building skis and whirl wind bonus life education not matched at any Ivy Leaque school.

I bet at the end you will have a new outlook on if you do or don't want to be in the ski industry.
Shirk and I think the same.

I say contact pat as well, they're always looking for interns. He'll be able to teach you all his experience as a start up ski company.

Another thing to think about:
Starting up a company like this means a long tough road. It means financial hardship. I don't think that you NEED a degree. I know you don't NEED the student loans that come with it.

Not being tied down by bills gives you the freedom to do what you want.
If you want to build skis. Go Build skis. Take a year, move to Reno. Ski a ton, learn how to make things.

The best part is this: If you don't like it, go to school. I promise you that you will not have lost anything, but you'll gain experience and you'll be that much more mature when you enter a degree program.

If you do decide on College. Think about what you want to do. Contact people in that field and ask them where the best education is. What fields to study etc etc. Don't ask random lawyers and businessmen and dentists and dropouts on the internet.
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubsman35 View Post
Alright, so i had posted before asking what colleges would be good for skiing. I was thinking about studying law, but im not sure if thats the right path.

Today i was think about how much i like to build my own things and work on projects. I love to wax my own skis, take apart and fix things, and just yesterday i tried to make my own custom earbuds with epoxy

I also love to ski, and just as much as i love to ski, i love ski gear. I think the design of skis and the little difference things make is fascinating. I also think the technical part of gear is amazing and how something can be wind and water proof and breathable and look good. So why not put these two together?

So now I'm thinking about how much i would love to own a ski shop or company. I could make my own skis, make poles, and make a lot of awesome technical clothes, what i have found is that most really really expensive and technical jackets cater to a different crowd of skiers and i would love to make a 28k water proof, 25,000g breathability jacket for freestyle skiers too.

I was just thinking how someone like Tanner Hall, a great skier but im sure isnt the smartest guy, can turn a name into a huge ski company amongst freestyle skiers. So i would like to create my version of Armada, with tons of focus on more than just skis.

So what would i have to study? what would be a good school? Do you guys think its worth it or a good idea? any other comments?

Thanks
I'm pretty much thinking along the same lines as everyone else. Take your ADD meds and focus on where you want to go.
If you want to design kick ass skiwear, take a design course at FIT or some other fashion college, buy some high tech materials and send them to China with your designs and start selling them.
If you want to build kick ass ski equipment, probably an engineering degree will come in handy.
If you want to just get into the a ski resort business, there are 2 ski specific colleges, 1 in Colorado, 1 in Tahoe, where you can learn everything from ski area management to how to drive a groomer. Or you can just get an MBA at any college and drift towards the ski industry.
If you want to open a ski shop, raise the capital, rent a building, stock it with ski equipment, and start selling.
post #27 of 28
There's a lot of good info on ski building on the internet. It's not that complicated for a good craftsman who loves epoxy. I'd start with skibuilders.com. It seems like you can get great info and help from vendors who want to sell you materials. The technical aspect of production is probably the easy part for you. I'd look into some business courses to make sure you understand how to market your product and actually operate at a profit. An internship might be just what you need to get focused. Also you don't need a degree to be an enterponour. You could take the courses you need and save a few bucks. A college is also a good place to look around for some partners.
post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post
Okay, fair point that, if you are a student at Harvard, interested in starting a company in a field of business that's essentially non-existent, and you have two very prominent parents (including a mother with highly-placed contacts at a company that can give you a contract that will make your company all by itself) ... you don't need to graduate.

Of course, it is well known that Bill Gates surrounded himself with other executives and engineeers who also did not graduate from college.
One of the highly successful technical people I have in mind, who was instrumental in building a great company from scratch, took some classes at a small school in the Midwest before bagging that and starting his career...the guy is just a genius and a human dynamo who tears down and intensively studies whatever problem he has at hand until he understands every tiniest detail involved and has 10 great solutions for it. He loves his work and lives for it. He wasn't getting help from Mommy and Daddy or Harvard contacts!!
Listen, I'm a college grad, and recommend a college education to anybody. You can't be a doctor or lawyer in the US without your schooling, obviously...but, there are plenty of entrepreneurs past and present who have done great without a degree. There are rare individuals who just have it, and the degree is not a necessity for them.
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