Based in Calgary, Alberta, Paradise Skis is a maker of freeride and touring skis and snowboards. It is among the companies that will partner with Dylan Seale, Dyson ’25, in his new online marketplace for niche ski and snowboard equipment.

Student launches online marketplace for ski and snowboard gear

Dylan Seale ’25, is an avid freestyle skier, the kind of slopestyle Olympic event that enraptures audiences with its gravity-defying aerial flips, jumps and sliding down rails. As with many sporting subspecialties, it has its own equipment, athletic gear and other swag.

Seale sought out small independent brands like Arsenic Anywhere, labels that were almost entirely absent in the big sporting goods chains. He reached out to industry experts and discovered that the process of getting products into retail shops is both costly and labor-intensive. What if, he thought, he could help these small ski, snowboard and outdoor brands find retailers that would stock them, a matchmaking process that in turn would help snow sports enthusiasts find their dream apparel and equipment?

Outdoor Wholesaler will connect outdoor brands with a network of outdoor retail shops.

In June, he will launch the Outdoor Wholesaler, an online marketplace that connects outdoor brands with a network of outdoor retail shops. His goal is to help emerging outdoor brands get discovered, facilitate seamless transactions and build a vast network of retail shops nationwide. 

“I’m trying to create a community, so a ski shop might host a film festival, say, and if it’s looking to get sponsors for the event, brands can reach out and offer products,” Seale said. If successful, his platform will help create a new ecosystem for independent entrepreneurs in the outdoor industry. 

Seale, who received the Human Spirit Entrepreneurship Fellow Award for Summer 2024 of $5,000 for this project, and who is a member of Cornell’s chapter of Epsilon Nu Tau, an entrepreneurship fraternity, began working this spring with Nancy Almann ’83, a Blackstone LaunchPad mentor, for pitch preparation and startup advice. 

Blackstone LaunchPad is the signature charitable arm of Blackstone Financial, an alternative investment company based in New York City. It provides mentorship and venture creation support for students, alumni, faculty and staff at any stage of their entrepreneurial journey.

“Working with Dylan has been fun and exciting.  He has a great pitch, which helps him sell a vision for his company.  He demonstrates that he adds value to the outdoor industry, rather than just offering a fancy sales website with interesting technical features,” Almann said. “Cornell has a huge entrepreneurial ecosystem. Blackstone LaunchPad is here to support all Cornell entrepreneurs. I can’t tell you how many juniors and seniors have told me ‘I wish I knew about you when I first started.’” 

She says she works with entrepreneurial students from when they have only the kernel of an idea all the way up to product launch, often serving as coach along the way. She helped Seale prepare for a New York state business competition this year, for which he was a finalist.  

Zach Marshall ’25, a chemical engineering major and president of the Cornell Ski and Board Club, is working with Seale this summer on the launch, primarily in sales, reaching out to small ski companies and telling them about the project. 

“We’re still in the pretty early stages of helping small ski brands gain exposure and navigate getting their brands into stores,” Marshall said of his shared passion with Seale. “Dylan introduced the business idea to me when we were on the ski lift at Greek Peak.” 

Seale describes his business as a 24-hour online tradeshow where retailers will discover fresh outdoor brands. And for brands, it’s nonstop and low-effort exposure to brick-and-mortar and even virtual store buyers.  

Paradise Skis, in Alberta, Canada, is among the brands that will partner with the Outdoor Wholesaler at launch. 

“As a new ski brand, it’s really hard for us to reach new markets,” said Ethan Shaheen, who works for Paradise Skis in marketing and sales. “As a Canadian brand, getting into the U.S. is a challenge in itself. This will give us the option of getting out in front of retailers in one go.” 

Paradise specializes in freeride-oriented unisex skis and snowboards – women’s equipment, he said, has historically been subjected to a “pink it, shrink it and raise the price” strategy. He said right now independent companies are leaning into innovation powered by new materials and technologies.  

“There are so many indie brands like us – if they could have just one website where they could see everything, that would be great, it would help everyone,” Shaheen said.

Media Contact

Rebecca Valli