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With ski season in full swing, one Colorado start-up is revamping the traditional ski boot. Unlike those old-school boots, Apex Ski Boots founder Denny Hanson says, you'll find his comfortable.
Watch Hanson pitch his start-up to a panel with Dennis Crowley, a former ski and snowboard instructor and Foursquare founder, Sam Moulton, executive editor of Outside Magazine, and Alicia Syrett, a lifelong skier and New York Angels board member.
Will this panel on CNBC's "Power Pitch" call the boots Black Diamond worthy? Click the video to find out.
A ski industry veteran and skier of 60 years, Hanson is no bunny to the slopes. He co-founded Hanson Ski Boots with his brother Chris. The two introduced a rear entry ski boot in the 1970s. The goal then was to make getting in and out of ski boots easier.
With Apex Ski Boots, a start-up founded in 2008, the Hansons are going for comfort.
"The biggest complaint from skiers of all ages and abilities is that their boots are uncomfortable," Denny Hanson told CNBC.
The boots, designed in Boulder, Colorado, and manufactured in China, combine an inner boot you can walk in with an open chassis for skiing. Hanson said the system is easy to put on and take off, and can be used for snowboarding, hiking, snowmobiling and walking to and from the ski hill.
When customers want to ski, they slide the inner boot into the rigid outer shell of the boot.
"The Apex boot shatters the myth that ski boots must hurt in order to perform well," Hanson told CNBC.
During the segment, Crowley asked why he hadn't seen anyone on the slopes with Hanson's Apex Ski Boot.
"We really started our approach to the market in the Rocky Mountains. If you were to go to Beaver Creek or Vail, Aspen, and Steamboat, you'd find a lot of Apex boots on the slope," Hanson said. He added that 10,000 skiers wear Apex Ski Boots worldwide.
But Apex Ski Boots glides down a crowded slope, competing with major brands like Head, Salomon, Nordica, Tecnica, Fischer, Atomic, Rossignol and Lange.
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Yet, Hanson's boots line the shelves of more than 150 stores across the U.S, including major sports retail outlets like REI, Sports Odyssey and Ski Haus. The start-up ships internationally to most Alpine skiing countries from Canada to New Zealand. Apex prices its boots from $595 to $1,295, offering seven different models in different colors and styles. Hanson projects the company will be profitable by ski season of 2016.
Hanson would not disclose monthly revenues, stressing that the ski industry is seasonal. He confirmed the start-up continues annually, with revenues up 25 percent year over year.
Since its launch, Apex Ski Boots has raised $4.9 million in funds, with investments from family, friends and angel investors. It is currently crowdfunding on angel investment platform, Circle Up, which focuses on consumer based products.
According to Hanson, Apex has raised $205,000 on Circle Up so far, with several additional verbal commitments that he said will be confirmed before closing on Feb. 27.
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