Steamboat man starts sunscreen company tailored to athletes

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Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Freestyle Director Erik Skinner started his own sunscreen company. His product SkinDog, which is designed for athletes, is available at several retail stores and online.

— Sun has always been a constant in Erik Skinner’s life.

As the Freestyle Program director for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, Skinner has spent countless hours at the bottom of moguls courses. In the summer, he spends time at the Bald Eagle water ramps perfecting athletes' tricks so they’re ready for the upcoming winter.

All told, Skinner does a lot of standing and working in the sun.

“All I do is stand in the sun,” he said. “There is no shade.”

And where there's a need, there's an idea. It began four years ago with his brother-in-law Rick Andrews. The idea was originally for a personal product line for extreme athletes.

With that market saturated and expensive, a better idea came into focus — sunscreen.

So for the past two years Skinner has been perfecting his product and brand, named SkinDog. It hit retail shelves this summer, and early returns have been promising.

“It sinks into the skin and moisturizes,” Skinner said. “I don’t think there is anything out there that is close. Once you try it I don’t think you’d go back to the other stuff.”

SkinDog sunscreen is designed and built for athletes. When Skinner decided to go with sunscreen, he turned to his athletes and coaches for product testing.

Two summers ago, as a group, they gathered all the sunscreens they could. They tested them out and made a list of pros and cons.

Skinner admits he hated wearing sunscreen and heard the same thing from his athletes. He realized there was a market for a sunscreen that athletes would use consistently.

“I didn’t like sunscreen at all,” he said. “It’s greasy, slimy and you feel like a glazed doughnut.”

Skinner went through seven prototypes. Each time it had to go through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for testing and licensing.

By the seventh sample, Skinner found what he wanted.

The sunscreen is SPF 50 and boasts that it needs to be applied once once per day. It’s not greasy, but is absorbent, water resistant and moisturizing.

As part of his business model, athletes can sell it and keep a portion of the proceeds for their sports. Skinner already has accounts set up with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and the Steamboat Youth Soccer Association.

Business has been good, he said. But he's continually looking for ways to grow.

SkinDog is available at Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare, BAP, Backdoor Sports, Steamboat Flyfisher and Straightline Sports. It also can be purchased online at www.skindogonline.com.

Athletes or teams interested in selling it can contact Skinner at Erik@skindogonline.com.

“I feel what makes it different is how you feel at the end of the day,” he said. “It has more moisturizers. It’s actually a skin moisturizer with SPF.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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