When you say Innsbruck, you think about charming mountains, snowboarding and ski (touring) for days, downhill mountain biking for the wild and crazy, hiking trails wherever you go, delightful restaurants and a vivid night life where people come together to have a good time.

All this enthusiastic and adventurous energy creates a breeding ground for ambitious entrepreneurs, making Innsbruck the perfect place to kick off Skinnovation – the first start-up conference on skis – four years ago.

This year Skinnovation brought together 250 entrepreneurs – young and old, and from different parts of the world – to create a truly exciting event to learn and share business ideas and marketing strategies.

During the three-day event you could listen to inspirational speakers, discuss your ideas with other innovators, learn more about entrepreneurship, pitch your ideas to investors, and – last but not least! – have a great time on the slopes!

Opening discussion on the future of skiing at Skinnovation in Innsbruck

Opening discussion on the future of skiing. © Skinnovation

The first evening of the event opened with a panel discussion on the future of skiing, where the emphasis was clearly on environmental changes and adapting to the seasons as they come. How will the ski industry adjust to less predictable winters, increased ski infrastructure and a retail market that is growing to a six billion dollar industry by 2020?

The stunning view from Axamer Lizum with Skinnovators and the Yeti mascot

The stunning view from Axamer Lizum with Skinnovators and the Yeti mascot. © Skinnovation

Days two and three were spent at Axamer Lizum and Schlick 2000. The weather was great and the days were filled with lectures from various speakers with intermissions spent on the slopes. This unique mix of education and skiing felt so natural, you could just feel the excitement from everybody. All participants are passionate about entrepreneurship, with each person facing different business endeavours.

Lecture in a mountain hut at Skinnovation

Lecture in one of the ski huts. © Skinnovation

Another unique component of Skinnovation was the ski lift pitch competition. You could pitch your startup idea to investors while going up with the lift, receiving valuable feedback and potentially qualifying for the big pitch in front of the whole crowd.

A ski lift business pitch in action

A ski lift pitch in action. © Skinnovation

The end of day two was celebrated with a dinner at the Seegrube Restaurant, followed by a party in Cloud 9, an igloo bar on top of the mountain at Nordkette.

Partying at the Cloud 9 Igloo bar at Nordkette during Skinnovation

The setup for the party at Cloud 9, an igloo bar at the Nordkette. © Skinnovation

To end the event on day three, there was a Final Pitch competition – won by Valanx Biotech.

Valanx Biotech winning the Grand Pitch final at Skinnovation

Valanx Biotech winning the Grand Pitch Final. © Skinnovation

Afterwards, Alan Walker lit up the room with his electronic dance tracks to finish off this amazing three-day conference.

DJ Alan Walker setting the room on fire at the Skinnovation closing party in Innsbruck

DJ Alan Walker setting the room on fire at the Skinnovation closing party. © Skinnovation

The Skinnovation conference was a very unique experience. I don’t think there is a better event around Innsbruck to network, get inspired, pitch your ideas, and ski, all at once.

If you’re an entrepreneur, make sure to attend next year’s edition! Stay updated by checking their website, Facebook page and Instagram account.