The snowboard world might be filled with youth and vigor, but that’s nothing compared to Ryan Verbiest, 13, perhaps the snowsports industry’s youngest company founder.
At age 12 Verbiest took a spill resulting in a concussion while snowboarding at Beaver Creek. While he was wearing a helmet at the time, he noticed that many other kids weren’t. So the light bulb hit to make helmets look cool. Voila! Active Helmets was born.
“I was both lucky and smart because I was wearing a helmet,” he says. “So it occurred to me to make them look cool so everyone would wear one.”
The multi-colored covers work on snow, skate and bike helmets, adding flair to conventional lids. They also help ski instructors identify students and vice versa, leading to 10 ski schools across the country adopting their use. Verbiest also designed a patent-pending plastic pocket on the back for lift tickets, and donates a portion of profits to NSAA’s Lids on Kids program.
“It’s a dream to be doing this,” he adds. “I’m an extreme snowboarder so it’s cool to have my own gear.”
And he’s not blowing his profits at the arcade. “Any money we make goes back into to the company,” says proud mom and business partner Stacy Verbiest. “Or sometimes his allowance.”