Engineering | Entrepreneurship + Innovation

Interested in skiing or snowboarding year round in sunny Phoenix? Ski Phoenix LLC hope to make this a reality. Ski Phoenix was founded by junior Engineering (Robotics) student Cody Van Cleve (pictured left, receiving personalized ski training from Neils Mooij, owner and founder of Ski Centrum Sassenheim) and senior Manufacturing Engineering student Parker Feldmann. Regardless of the weather conditions, Ski Phoenix will provide a controlled environment for ski and snowboard training.

Rob van Schie (lead engineer and designer of the infinite slope at Alpine Engineering) and Charlotte Crawford (President and Founder of Indoor Ski USA) talk with Parker about the mechanical functions of the slope.

The idea for Ski Phoenix germinated on the drive home from a ski trip to Arizona Snowbowl. Cody and Parker began brainstorming and researching concepts and learned about an “infinite slope”, similar to a treadmill, where users can enjoy ski and snowboard training and practice.

To learn more about the business, Cody and Parker recently took a trip to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where they were invited by the president and founder of Indoor Ski USA to meet with company representatives, network with successful indoor snow sports facilities, document business ideas and physically test equipment.

Cody and Parker had the chance to sit down for an extensive talk with Rob van Schie, the mastermind and engineer that single-handedly developed the infinite slope. He provided them with a full technical description of how the slopes were constructed and how they operate, which was invaluable information, according to Cody.

Cody stated “The list of valuable takeaways from this trip is incredibly numerous. From the technicalities of the slopes to the logistics of running a center, we got the full run-down. What we were surprised to learn was that each center put more emphasis on the trainers and trainer experience, rather than just the experience/feeling of skiing. Forming a good bond with these trainers is paramount to return visits to the center for continued learning and improvement and for continued business.”

Cody and Parker received funding to attend the competition through the Fulton Engineering Startup Center’s Experiential Learning Grant.