Students turn profit on shredding

While most people keep cars in their garage, three UVM seniors have converted their garage into a ski-making machine. In the midst of spray-painted walls and piles of sawdust, Harrison Goldberg, Ryan Folin and Connor Gaeta have started a ski business that is about to take off. HG Skis, named after Goldberg, became a reality when the three met through a common major in mechanical engineering and a shared love of skiing. “I could ski before I could walk,” Folin said. Goldberg and Folin had both constructed skis separately for their senior projects in high school. Once in Burlington, their high school projects developed into a company.  “I moved all my equipment up here and started renting space at the Vermont Woodworking School,” Goldberg said.  While the time spent working on each ski is well worth the effort, it is no easy feat to juggle the creation of a new company and being a full-time student.  “It takes around 30-40 man hours per ski,” Goldberg said.  Skis are made through a process called “sandwich construction,” in which layers of multiple materials are stacked together. Once they have been stacked and arranged properly, they are then set into a mold and pressed overnight. This technical side of ski-making comes naturally to a group of mechanical engineering majors, but artistic ability also plays a lead role in the process.  “The artistic aspect of the ski is as important as the ski itself,” Goldberg said. “We want our skis to be loud and attention-grabbing.” Detail and style are vital components to the company, and HG Skis plans on translating their interest for design into an apparel line in the future. They currently produce T-shirts and stickers only, but HG Skis wants to take their business to the next level.  “I intend to have a full outerwear line,” Goldberg said.  HG Skis plans on producing and selling 20 new pairs of skis this winter. “This season will be our first year of actual sales,” Goldberg said. Although this is only the beginning of sales for the company, it is already attracting the interest of ski-loving students on campus. “Serious skiers are really picky about their gear, but I would definitely ride these,” first year Sam Peck said.  The company aims to include their personal style, as well as the interest of their buyers in the skis they make.  “We are focused on what we are interested in and what the people around us want to ski on,” Goldberg said.