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SYNC Performance launches Kickstarter campaign for gear

Vail’s SYNC Performance has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of new freeskiing gear.
Special to the Daily

Business name: SYNC Performance

Location: Vail

Date opened: 2014

Contact information: Geof Ochs, SYNC Performance, 3971 Big Horn Road, 7DD Vail, 81657, or gochs@syncperformance.com

What goods or services do you provide? SYNC Performance is an independent company with a mission to fulfill the needs of performance athletes. Using technical knowledge and expertise from independent ski racers and teams as well as feedback from hard-charging former racers turned big mountain and backcountry skiers, SYNC’s apparel is developed and designed for performance, durability, functionality, and style that appeals to the year ’round lifestyle of mountain athletes.

What’s new or exciting at your place? SYNC Performance launched a performance-fit freeski outerwear that endures the elements, frees the range of mobility and reduces consumer cost and material waste, on Kickstarter.

The 21-day pledge campaign, which ends March 29, will be used to support the production of the Headwall Stretch Outerwear Collection. This line includes a shell jacket, full bib pants, and traditional style pants that work together to form the perfect restriction-free ski kit.

“This line moves with you wherever you ski. It’s durable enough for hundreds of resort days while being light and mobile enough for long days in the backcountry,” Ochs said. “If you know SYNC, you know we have been focused on Ski Racing and haven’t explicitly approached the backcountry or freeskiing category before. But that all changes with The Headwall Stretch Freeski Collection. We believe in this gear and we want you to have it. This product is something we want to produce for years to come, and with your help on Kickstarter, we can.”

This is SYNC Performance’s first product collection designed specifically for use beyond the race course. Using the same bold, innovative approach that has built a reputation for high-quality ski racing apparel, and applied it to the world of freeskiing, these products are the direct result of years of testing and refinement with high performance athletes who have roots in ski racing, coupled with the evolution of SYNC’s unique product creation process over the years.

Using Kickstarter, it also allows a greener approach towards clothing production. Eliminating product waste and reducing the amount of inventory in warehouses is an environmental effort SYNC is passionate about. This approach allows us to produce the right quantities of the right products that consumers want, rather than assuming or making educated guesses on what’s needed. Less manufacturing costs, less materials, less waste.

What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition? SYNC is a brand built by athletes, for athletes, and constantly refined through athlete feedback. With sidecountry and backcountry skiing exploding these days, and freeskiers abandoning resorts to head into new terrain, there is real demand to push the limits of a stagnant apparel category and produce high performance apparel that stands up to these harsh environments.

“The typical outdoor industry apparel launch-cycle bores us,” Ochs said. Raising the bar and turning the outdoor industry on its head is what interests us, so we’re inviting you to join us in the revolution of making gear that you can feel good about wearing and supporting while having a say in it’s creation. By supporting these groundbreaking products made by an independent, small, Colorado based company, you get an early opportunity to look through the window of our process and what we’re creating, show your support for our mission, and help us expand our product catalog without having to guess the right amount of product to order from our manufacturers.”

What philosophy do you follow in dealing with your customers? What can your customers expect from you? Having successfully completed three previous Kickstarter campaigns, SYNC skiers understand the value of becoming early backers to our latest products.

As a reward for early backers, the prices were deeply discounted for those who participate in the Kickstarter. A full kit is offered at $350, or the jacket, bib and pants will be sold separately for $199. After the 21-day campaign, these products will not be available at these prices again.

Tell us a little about your background, education and experience: I grew up skiing at a small local hill called Ascutney Mountain in central Vermont. I started skiing when I was 3 years old and went to race Division 1 at Boston College, graduating in 2013.

After graduation I decided to move out west to pursue an opportunity part-time coaching at Ski and Snowboard Club Vail and working with a couple of other co-founders to start and build SYNC.

Vail business relief grant applications are due by March 31

Vail businesses are invited to apply for relief through the Grant Award Program, which provides direct aid to businesses experiencing hardship due to the public health crisis. Applications are due by March 31.

Developed by representatives of the Vail Economic Advisory Council with assistance from town staff, the $500,000 grant program was authorized Feb. 2 by the Vail Town Council. Grants range from $5,000 to $15,000.

The program so far has granted $266,250 to 24 Vail businesses experiencing hardship due to the public health crisis. A scoring matrix tallies points based on answers to determine the financial health of the business, along with operational impacts to support determination of the funds awarded.

The online application requires both quantitative and qualitative business information as well as a narrative explanation about the financial impacts of the health crisis on the business.

Who is eligible?

  • Business must have current and valid town of Vail business and sales tax licenses.
  • Business must have a physical location and storefront, and conduct business operations, within the town of Vail’s commercially zoned area.
  • A participating business must not be a publicly traded corporation, must not be owned by, controlled by, or a subsidiary of a publicly traded corporation.
  • A participating business must employ 50 or fewer full-time equivalents.
  • A business must be in full compliance with Eagle County and state of Colorado and Executive public health orders, including face covering mandates and capacity restrictions.

Online applications will be accepted through March 31. The town of Vail will provide grants directly to the business. Applications will be reviewed on a weekly basis, with approved payments following approval.

How to apply

The Grant Award Program is available on the town of Vail grants web page.

All applications will be subject to audit by the Vail Finance Department.

For more information regarding the Grant Award Program for Vail businesses, contact Vail Economic Development Director Mia Vlaar, mvlaar@vailgov.com.

Aspen restaurant alliance turns up pressure on challenge to Red-level restrictions

Attorneys for a group of restaurants mounting a legal challenge to overturn Pitkin County’s new health order have introduced new arguments in an attempt to get the issue before a judge by the end of the week.

Written pleadings filed Monday in district court by the Pitkin County Restaurant Alliance seek a court decision requiring the defendants — the county, the board of health and interim public health director Jordan Sabella — to answer the group’s complaint by Thursday so the matter can advance to a judge as early as Friday.

Ninth Judicial District Judge Anne Norrdin signed an order Monday afternoon giving Pitkin County until noon Wednesday to contest the motion.

The push by the nonprofit alliance comes after Norrdin denied its motion for a temporary restraining order that would have stalled the 12:01 a.m. Sunday rollout of the Red phase, which prohibits restaurants from serving diners indoors.

Since then, restaurants also have been restricted to serving outdoor meals and providing takeout, with closing time at 10 p.m. Last call for alcohol is 8 p.m.

This week’s pleadings argue the Red order will negatively affect not only restaurants’ bottom lines, but it also will have wide-ranging consequences on laid-off employees creating social welfare issues ranging from inability to pay rent to increased anxiety and depression.

“Every day that passes is another day that Pitkin County restaurant workers are without work and that restaurants are unable to operate in an economically viable manner,” said a motion to expedite the case because of its urgency. “Most troublesome is the mass unemployment and the public health crisis that will result.”

Aspen attorneys Chris Bryan and Jason Buckley of Garfield & Hecht filed the pleadings. One seeks approval for an expedited hearing regarding its second motion for preliminary injunction to lift the Red order and put the county in the less restrictive Orange phase, which allows indoor dining at a 25% capacity with last call at 9:30 p.m.

“The Order is the product of Defendants’ desire to be seen as doing something — anything — to curb the two-week incidence rate in Pitkin County despite the mass- unemployment public health crisis that the Order will create and compound,” said the motion for preliminary injunction. “It is not the product of a complete investigation and incontrovertible data that proves a correlation — much less the scientifically required causation — between the incidence rate and indoor dining, the sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption between 8:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., or the sale of take-out items after 10:00 p.m.”

In an interview Tuesday, Bryan emphasized the need for what already was expressed in this week’s motions and last week’s lawsuit — the county’s production of clear proof the board of health’s decision was informed by scientific data. The county has not been able to satisfy Bryan’s request for the information, he said.

“We want them (the defendants) to show us what scientific evidence this was based on,” Bryan said.

The Red order is in place for an indefinite period of time, and was adopted by the county after the board of health voted for its approval Jan. 11.

“Delaying the Alliance’s day in court harms untold thousands of people with little (if any) benefit to the public interest; given the mass-unemployment public health crisis that the Order creates, the public interest will be hurt every day the Order is in effect,” said the motion to expedite.

County manager Jon Peacock said Tuesday the defense will be ready to make its case if Norrdin decides to hear it.

“Obviously, we disagree with them,“ Peacock said, ”but we’ll let the judge make that decision.“

For Pitkin County to ease restrictions, it must show a 14-day decline in its incidence rate — the state’s highest — before the county will go back to Orange-level restrictions.

The county also has been regularly cracking The New York Times list of American hot spots that’s updated daily.

On Tuesday morning, Pitkin County was considered the 20th hottest spot in the country due to its rate of 186 cases per 100,000 people, according to the Times’ data. Pitkin County was the sole Colorado county in the top 20 hot spots.

Peacock said he realizes the difficulty the Red phase places on the restaurant industry and its widespread effect on the community’s social welfare. Yet the community must persist, he said.

“I think what we can all do is double-down through this fatigue and slow the spread of the virus so our businesses can get back open, and I really encourage the community to support our local businesses and do what we can — get takeout, get delivery,” he said.

Multiple studies have shown that adults dining at restaurants face increased likelihood of catching the coronavirus. According to a case-control study issued in September by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults confirmed with COVID-19 were twice as likely than a person without the virus to have dined at a restaurant within 14 days of getting sick.

“In addition to dining at a restaurant, case-patients were more likely to report going to a bar/coffee shop, but only when the analysis was restricted to participants without close contact with persons with known COVID-19 before illness onset,“ the study says. ”Reports of exposures in restaurants have been linked to air circulation. Direction, ventilation, and intensity of airflow might affect virus transmission, even if social distancing measures and mask use are implemented according to current guidance. Masks cannot be effectively worn while eating and drinking, whereas shopping and numerous other indoor activities do not preclude mask use.”

Bryan, however, said the same public officials who have closed indoor dining are overlooking what is happening elsewhere in Pitkin County, where over-sized gatherings continue and health orders are routinely being disregarded by business sectors. At the same time, hotels can operate at guest-capacity levels, commercial airlines continue to fly, and the Aspen airport remains open. Add it up, Bryan said, and the board of health’s decision to close indoor dining didn’t square.

“Travel can increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19,” according to the CDC.