Skiing’s PPE Cottage Industry
Burlington freeskiing legend Jason Levinthal has been a pioneer in many things: he built the first brand around twin-tip skis, Line Skis. He launched Full Tilt boots. After he sold those brands, he founded the direct-to-consumer J Skis. And recently, he did his part to help out in the Covid-19 crisis by creating the website, makerexchange.org, to help connect various fabricators who are working on masks, face shields and other protective gear to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
Levinthal teamed up with Vin Faraci, who builds his WhiteRoom artisan skis from wood behind his house in Morrisville, Vt. Faraci, when not skiing or making skis, works as a physical therapist at Copley Hospital in Morrisville quickly realized the need for an exchange that would match make the various parts people needed to produce PPE.
These are just two examples of how across Vermont and across the snowsports industries companies are helping in the Covid-19 efforts, joining big brands such as Burton, which donated 500,000 face shields and Berkshire East’s Jon Schaefer and Stowe-based Inntopia’s Gregg Blanchard who collaborated on Goggles for Docs.
Dodge Boots, the Essex-based custom carbon boot manufacturer led by Dave Dodge, jumped into the effort by making ventilators. “The beauty of our proprietary technology for making ski boots is we can design and manufacture just about any thermoformed part the size of a ski boot extremely quickly and cost-effectively,” noted Dodge in a release.
The small company has joined a team led by Beta Technologies in developing and deploying an automatic bag ventilation machine. See video below for a demo:
“In just a week, we went from engineering drawings to manufacturing and delivering ventilator housings for FDA Emergency Use Authorization. Once the ventilator is approved we are ready to make hundreds more to help save lives,” writes Bill Doble, Dodge’s partner in the business.
And everyday skiers and riders are hopping on board to do what they can. Members of the Northeast Skiology Facebook group banded together to create a cottage industry of sorts to create Northeast Face Shields. After raising more than $17,000, New York skiers Matthew Bramble and Adam Kaufman began working with more than 125 volunteers to build and deliver face shields. “We used the money to buy as many binding covers as we could,” says Bramble, noting the plastic binding covers are used as the shields and various volunteers create the headsets using 3D printers. “We knew skiers and riders wanted to help so we set up a site where people can volunteer to make parts, drive and deliver them or contribute in other ways,” says Bramble. So far, Bramble says, 5,000 face shields have been delivered.
As he says, “Every bit counts.”