The ultimate classroom
Nordica brings real-world experience to ski-business students in Colorado
The Rocky Mountains split the state. Snow falls in some areas from September through May. The ski industry represents a multi-billion dollar business, with 24 resorts dotting the state and bringing in valuable tourism dollars.
No wonder the Ski and Snowboard Business Program at the Steamboat Springs campus of Colorado Mountain College pioneered a partnership with Nordica USA to create a unique learning experience and an innovative product line.
“We’ve taught theory in the past. This takes us to the next level,” said Michael Martin, the director CMC’s program, which is the only program like it in the United States.
The program has been in existence for 30 years, educating students who go on to work for ski and snowboard manufacturers, winter sports retailers or work in marketing winter sports. The partnership with Nordica began in 2010 and allowed students to take part in the design, testing and marketing of several skis and boots in the Sidecountry line of Nordica’s backcountry equipment.
The equipment students helped design, test and introduce are referred to as the Hell and Back models, in honor of the skiers who routinely ski the backcountry and have a few harrowing stories to tell of their experiences going to hell and back. Two of the new Hell and Back skis were chosen in the 2012 Top 9 Tester’s Choice skis by Skiing Magazine.
“This is a huge step for students,” Martin said. “We make sure each course has a resume-building component.”
In the fall of 2010, students were heavily involved in the design of the boots and skis. Once the snow began to fall, they tested prototypes and as winter gave way to spring, students helped with the product launch at trade shows. They also began work on a retail campaign and created a website for the new product, http://hellandback.tv, which combines product information with social media.
At the Nordica USA website, there is a link to the Colorado Mountain College website, as well as the Hell and Back site, which will be continually monitored and updated by CMC students in the Ski and Snowboard Business program.
STUDENTS ENROLLED IN the Ski and Snowboard Business School at the Steamboat Springs campus of Colorado Mountain College went on a ski trip in 2010 with protypes of skis they helped design and market in conjunction with Nordica USA. (Photos courtesy of Colorado Mountain College)
STUDENTS AT COLORADO MOUNTAIN COLLEGE designed a website to introduce and create a buzz about the Hell and Back skis and boots.