Glenwood Springs product designer unveils new ski accessories
Local entrepreneur Eric Sampson wants skiers to protect their skis and their eyes with two of his newest products: eco-friendly ski wax and team issue goggles.
A competitive skier from childhood, Sampson dove into the ski accessory business about eight years ago when he founded Event Gear, an online storefront with roots in Glenwood Springs.
Known around the area for his brick-and-mortar bike shop, Sampson Sports, 819 Grand Ave., Sampson has specialized in outdoor recreation for decades. But his latest products move him one step closer to protecting the environment and the people who share his passion.
Designed by a team of researchers, Speed Glide Competition Wax blends lubricants and hydrophobic elements within a synthetic wax matrix to provide skiers with friction coefficients as low or lower than high fluorocarbon and hydrocarbon-based waxes.
“When you melt these waxes to your skis, they don’t give off the typical harmful fumes you find in other petroleum-based waxes,” Sampson explained, holding a solid black block of wax in the palm of his hand.
The biodegradable wax comes in four types — warm, cold, medium and universal — to meet a wide range of skiers needs, and prices range from about $30 to about $90, depending on the formula.
“There’s no paraffin in the wax, and though the recipe is proprietary, I can say it’s made with all natural ingredients,” Sampson said.
Born in Denver, Sampson grew up in Winter Park, where he discovered a love for competitive ski racing. In 2015, he and his wife moved from Denver to Glenwood Springs for the area’s year-round access to mountain recreation.
“We wanted to get back to the mountains, and though I love skiing, we wanted to be someplace that existed outside the ski bubble that surrounds some resort towns,” Sampson said.
After opening Sampson Sports, which provides bikers with everything from brake calipers to bike racks, Sampson was approached at a bike race about providing event organizers with grab bags of gear for riders and vendors. A niche was discovered, and Event Gear was born, he said.
A product designer, whose ideas often start on napkins or whatever else is lying nearby, Sampson’s second offering this season is a set of skiing goggles he designed himself.
Dubbed Team Issue goggles, the optics boast an impressive array of features including a magnetic lens interchange, anti-fog coating, fleece contact points layered on top of two sections of compression foam and notches in the frame making the goggles compatible with wearing prescription glasses beneath.
“My philosophy is always wanting to provide the absolute best quality gear for myself and my customers,” Sampson said. “I believe these goggles are a culmination of the best features and materials on the market.”
Priced at about $180, the goggles’ quality and features compete with models from large brands, such as Oakley, that retail at double or triple the price, he said.
Manufactured overseas, Sampson said pandemic-related shipping challenges have put a few kinks in his supply chain, delaying the goggles release in domestic markets until recently. But, he said the product line is ready to go and could be found at local retailers soon. For now, both the Speed Glide wax and Team Issue goggles can be purchased at Event Gear’s website, Event-Gear.com.
“Some people think I might be too old to still be doing this,” Sampson said of his entrepreneurial endeavors. “But I enjoy this. I can produce really good products that meet a need.”
Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at email@example.com.
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