Snowkiting mag launched by Grand Junction man
GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado ” Dave Grossman likes to travel in snow with a kite.
While skiers shiver in chairlifts being cabled up the mountain, Grossman glides up the hill on skis pulled by a kite.
“The kite is the source of power. You’re not relying on gravity,” Grossman said. “You can go downhill, up hill, across the hill. It’s all just as much fun.”
Wind is needed of course ” anywhere from six to eight miles per hour, to 35-40 mph. Advanced snowkiters use the kite like a wing to fly over areas for one to two minutes.
Grossman, 37, was already a skier and snowboarder when he discovered snowkiting. And he’d been flying stunt kites for 20 years.
“I saw this opportunity that intrigued me ” a new sport that dovetailed with what I was already doing,” Grossman said. “I had an understanding of how kites fly in the air.”
Snowkiting can be as mellow as going for a snowshoe, to doing radical advanced skiing or boarding jumps.
And you don’t have to have a mountain to do it. You can snowskate in a pasture, or an iced-over lake ” wherever there’s space and wind.
“So the potential market for snowkiting is massive,” Grossman said.
And Grossman plans to grow that market.
Grossman launched a digital magazine called Drift Snowkite Magazine a year ago with fellow snowkiter James Brown of Denver.
“We founded the magazine to help get the word out about snowkiting,” Grossman said, calling it a clean, wind-powered, environmentally sensitive exciting sport.
Snowkiting is a relatively new sport, gaining thousands of fans around 1999, when participants started using gear specific to waterkiting where people are propelled by a kite water-skiing.
“Snowkiting evolved from waterkiting,” Grossman said. “People wanted to do it year round. People like James Brown took water kites and started playing in the snow.” It was happening in Europe, he said.
Drift magazine contains a snowkiting dictionary, articles about snowkiting events, interviews with athletes, and photos of people snowkiting in places around the world. Grossman has published two issues thus far, and aims to make it a quarterly online magazine.
Drift is read in 87 different countries, Grossman said. Grossman’s hope is to find and provide a network amongst snowkiters from around the world. He and Brown’s company Stratus Media Solutions’s has also created a companion web site.
Grossman and Brown also intend to promote the sport through special events like the one held in Dillon two weeks ago, where snowkiters competed in contests and races.
Currently the free subscription magazine produces a small revenue stream through advertising.
“My goal right now is to grow the sport,” Grossman said. “We’re building readers and viewers. When we have lots of them, we’ll have power in the marketplace.”
Grossman began dabbling in business as a college student in 1990, when he co-founded a nonprofit environmental retail store in Colorado Springs called The Daily Planet Option. The shop sold recycled paper, organic cotton clothing and nontoxic cleaners, with revenues going toward the purchase of environmental teaching kits for schools.
In 1999, Grossman and his brother started Athletic Motion, an online site where they posted instructional videos of how to do various tricks by top athletes. They created 350 different instructional videos, drawing 10,000 new visitors a month, Grossman said.
“I’m kind of a serial entrepreneur,” Grossman said.
In 2007, Grossman teamed up with Brown after the two met at a snowkiting summit in Utah hosted by owners of a snowkite business called Winds Up. Brown was editor of a snowkite magazine, and was interested in starting his own magazine. He asked Grossman to come on board.
“I tend to jump in head-first,” Grossman said.
Even with a background in business, Grossman is brushing up on his accounting and business planning skills by taking the Leading Edge class at The Business Incubator Center ” a nonprofit organization that provides entrepreneurial assistance to new and expanding businesses in Mesa County. He’s about half-way through the 12-week course.
In Leading Edge, participants learn to write a business plan, do market research, and business forecasting, Grossman said.
“I’m revising our business plan for Stratus (Media Solutions) and incorporating new ideas gained in the last month,” Grossman said.
“Chris (Incubator executive director Chris Reddin) is such an amazing asset for the community. She’s a great sounding board,” Grossman said.
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