'UVM Start'ups: If the glove fits, get skiing
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 21:10
Three students hope to change the sport of Nordic skiing by hand.
The group, consisting of senior Kyle Weidman, professional skier Skyler Davis and senior Dave Bernstein, is involved in an entrepreneurship project that they said will revolutionize Nordic skiing in North America by innovating and re-engineering the current glove market.
Called StacItUp, the venture is already a trademarked name and a registered Limited License Company, Weidman said.
After less than two years of working on the project, the company has a goal, a business plan and as many as nine professional athletes ready to try their product.
Money is the greatest current obstacle in creating a prototype glove, an investment that Weidman said could cost as much as $6,000 to build.
It is a problem that the trio hopes will be alleviated with the help of UVM Start.
The founders of StacItUp are creating a video to put on the alumni crowdsourcing website as a way to try and gain monetary support from UVM graduates.
The StacItUp team wants to raise enough money to build a prototype that can be tested by Nordic skiing athletes as early as this winter, Weidman said.
Worn for hours at a time at the highest possible level of competition, their glove must be both functional and practical, he said.
“If you could be outside because your fingers don’t hurt because they’re so cold, you can train longer and you can be better,” Weidman said.
As an established professional skier sponsored by Fischer skis, Smith Optics and Powerbar, Davis has noticed the poor quality of gloves for years, Weidman said.
Once Davis connected with Bernstein and Weidman, they decided that there was a realistic possibility to make a glove that could meet their expectations.
Weidman and Bernstein said they hope one day to see Davis represent StacItUp on the biggest stage the world has to offer.
“We want Skyler Davis on the podium of the Olympics saying, ‘this glove made me better,’” Weidman said.
While Davis and Weidman currently own the company, they share the passion of the workload and the anticipated glory of the success evenly with Bernstein.
“I don’t want to be higher up than [Bernstein],” Weidman said. “We’re all teammates making an awesome company together.”
Weidman describes his role in the company as being an idea formulator and crisis manager, while Bernstein handles the engineering aspect of the project.
Bernstein combines his knowledge of mechanical engineering with his experience as a skier, and is currently researching materials for the StacItUp glove and analyzing the problems with the current gloves on the market.
“At the beginning stages, you want to take it slowly, look at all your options and figure out ‘how can we improve everything we want to improve?’” Bernstein said.
The project is a lot of work, but Weidman said he is very devoted to StacItUp.
“I’m more passionate about this than I have been about anything in my life,” Weidman said. “Sometimes I’m hanging my head and I’m sick of it and I just want to throw it in the garbage, but I always come back to it.”