Project description

Business Owner: Matt Sterbenz
Business: 4FRNT Skis
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Meet Matt
Matt Sterbenz is the CEO and founder of 4FRNT Skis. Matt started 4FRNT in Salt Lake City, Utah at the base of the world’s best ski terrain. Matt is a former professional freestyle and big mountain skier and 4FRNT is his vision to make freeride skis perform better for the athletes that rely on them. “Each freeride discipline requires a ski with a specific shape, form, character, and design. Freeride skiing is progressing so fast and we’re out in front of the trends and needs of the skiers.” If you meet Matt, you’ll quickly catch his vision and feel his energy toward making the best ski in the industry. For over 12 seasons, Matt and his team at 4FRNT have been producing skis the best athletes in the world use to change ski history.

“To get this off the ground, I asked myself, ‘Can I do it? Can I get other professional skiers to sign on a be athletes for this company?’ Then I gave them the opportunity that I gave myself, to build out the ski I always wanted.”

How 4FRNT got started
As a sponsored professional freeride skier, Matt saw a need to create a ski to meet his needs along with the needs of skiers who where taking the sport to a new level.  When he first recognized the opportunity, a friend from Truckee, California helped him create his first prototype, a ski called the MSP 180. Matt said, “From then on, I knew I could do it. I started introducing my friends to my skis and would asked them to ride for me.” From that humble start, many of the top athletes of the world ski 4FRNT and win gold medals at the ESPN X-Games and the Olympic Winter Games. One thing is very clear, Matt and his vision for 4FRNT are just getting started.

Rider Owned
Matt is very serious about his tagline, “Rider Owned.” For Matt it’s not just a tagline or slogan, it’s how he runs his business. The 4FRNT team riders are not just team members, they’re owners in the 4FRNT business. “I want to help them succeed in the same way I did. Their input into how the ski is made and preforms is an important part of what makes 4FRNT different than the rest of the ski makers. Working together we make the best skis; and they get a piece of the pie.”

The White Room
This isn’t actually a “white” room at the 4FRNT offices; the white room is a concept, a ski theory of the grandeur of skiing. For many skiers the white room would be a blue-sky day with untouched powder—for Matt it’s so much more. It’s the concept of a clean start each year with an opportunity to create the next innovation in skis. Each 4FRNT ski has “The White Room” hand pressed into its sidewall.

Biggest Win
As I meet with Matt and discussed his success, there were many big wins over the past 12 years. From the time he skied on his first prototype, to the time 4FRNT skis appeared for the first time in Powder magazine. One of his most memorable big wins happened this year when 4FRNT team rider, David Wise, won the Freestyle Skiing Halfpipe Olympic Gold Medal in Sochi, Russia. “I was stoked for David. We had worked together many long hours perfecting his halfpipe ski. To see it all come together for him on the main stage at the Olympics was a moment I will never forget.”

Entrepreneurial Advice
When I asked Matt if he had any advice for upcoming entrepreneurs, he said, “You have to solve a real problem. As you solve that problem, make sure people are willing to buy the product. For me, I had recognized a problem with skis and knew I had to start small to validate that people would buy them.” Matt also said, “If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t have relied on my own money. I would have reached out to investors earlier in the process. I think if you can’t get someone to invest in your company, you might find that your idea might not be that great.”

Biggest Win
As I meet with Matt and discussed his success, there were many big wins over the past 12 years. From the time he skied on his first prototype, to the time 4FRNT skis appeared for the first time in Powder magazine. One of his most memorable big wins happened this year when 4FRNT team rider, David Wise, won the Freestyle Skiing Halfpipe Olympic Gold Medal in Sochi, Russia. “I was stoked for David. We had worked together many long hours perfecting his halfpipe ski. To see it all come together for him on the main stage at the Olympics was a moment I will never forget.”

Entrepreneurial Advice
When I asked Matt if he had any advice for upcoming entrepreneurs, he said, “You have to solve a real problem. As you solve that problem, make sure people are willing to buy the product. For me, I had recognized a problem with skis and knew I had to start small to validate that people would buy them.” Matt also said, “If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t have relied on my own money. I would have reached out to investors earlier in the process. I think if you can’t get someone to invest in your company, you might find that your idea might not be that great.”

Entrepreneurial Advice
When I asked Matt if he had any advice for upcoming entrepreneurs, he said, “You have to solve a real problem. As you solve that problem, make sure people are willing to buy the product. For me, I had recognized a problem with skis and knew I had to start small to validate that people would buy them.” Matt also said, “If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t have relied on my own money. I would have reached out to investors earlier in the process. I think if you can’t get someone to invest in your company, you might find that your idea might not be that great.”