For Jayson Boren, the idea for Powder Soles struck him as a freshman at Utah State University in the Outdoor Product Design and Development program a little over three years ago.
Boren said he was sitting in a product design class, mildly lamenting his classmates’ ability to come up with product ideas, and learning about the history of snowshoes.
It was then, Boren had his “a-ha moment” for Powder Soles — an attachment affixed to snowboard bindings turning any binding into expandable snowshoes.
“I was like, ‘man, I love the powder, but I guess I keep getting stuck; can’t do anything about that,’” Boren said. “It was at the time — that perfect moment — learning about the history of snowshoes.”
Since then, Boren and co-owner Tate Floyd have been refining the product. And recently, according to a press release from USU, Boren and Floyd have found themselves among 20 finalists in the 2021 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge where people vote on products and winners can receive a cash prize.
Students from several colleges throughout the state have entered with product pitches ranging from card games to prosthetics technology. Floyd said they’ve been doing similar competitions for several years.
“We’re trying to get as many votes as possible,” Boren said. “I’ve been doing business competitions before I even had the idea for Powder Soles.”
For Boren and Floyd, their product addresses the problem of falling in deep, intractable powder and trying to reorient oneself in a more efficient way.
“Once you do get stuck, you have to reach down, unstrap from your binding, and the second you step off your board, you’re chest-deep in snow,” Floyd said in the team’s product pitch video for the entrepreneur challenge.
For Floyd, a Garden City native who recently graduated from USU, part of the goal of Powder Soles is accessible pricing.
“The point of Powder Soles is being able to afford a pair,” Floyd said, “versus having to pay up to a couple thousand dollars for a split-board setup.”
According to the release from USU, the entrepreneur challenge awards $60,000 in cash and prizes with the winners being announced on March 27. The entrepreneur challenge is managed by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah.
For more information on the entrepreneur challenge or to vote on pitches from students, visit https://lassonde.utah.edu/uec/vote2021.