ICELab Kicks off 2023 Moosejaw Outdoor Accelerator Cohort

May 8, 2023

The eight-week intensive business mentoring program provides early stage outdoor brands with tools & resources to help them turbocharge their growth

MAY 8 – GUNNISON, CO/OUTDOOR SPORTSWIRE/ – Gunnison Valley’s ICELab, in conjunction with leading outdoor retailer Moosejaw, kicks off the fourth-annual Moosejaw Outdoor Accelerator Program (MOA) today. Now in its fourth year, MOA continues to help founders in the outdoor industry drive innovation. The four brands participating in this year’s cohort, which were selected from a competitive field of submissions from across the country, are Fernweh Food Co., Coastal Range Equipment, Near Zero, and WNDR Outdoors.

“We are so excited to kick things off with this year’s cohort,” said David Assad, ICELab Director. “From building comprehensive marketing plans and financial models to learning the importance of brand storytelling, It’s always amazing to see what the teams accomplish over the course of the accelerator”.

This eight-week comprehensive program provides participants with sessions with business experts on strategy, marketing, ecommerce, and retail. Company founders are also given access to educational and network resources, strategic mentorships, legal advice, and potential investors. The first two weeks are virtual, followed by a week in Denver, CO, and 5-weeks in Gunnison at Western Colorado University. There is no cost to participate and on-site lodging is provided to participants free of charge. Other program highlights include:

  • Participation at Big Gear Show June 8th -11th in Denver, CO
  • Work sessions with Moosejaw experts on strategy, marketing, eCommerce and retail.
  • Potential product launches on Moosejaw.com and in Moosejaw stores with a complete marketing and social media package.
  • Legal resources provided by the law firm of Holland & Hart LLP for everything from company formation and investment agreements to intellectual property.

The MOA program is designed for early-stage startups that are beyond proof of concept and ready for accelerated growth. For the Gunnison region, MOA is bringing new outdoor brands to the area and is a catalyst for more sustainable, long-term economic growth in the region. Several MOA participants have gained solid traction in the outdoor industry: Crested Butte’s PACT Outdoors, which was a part of the second cohort in 2021, is now sold in all 167 REI stores across the country.

More information on the four brands in this year’s cohort is below:

Fernweh Food Co. – Oregon

Fernweh Food Co. makes great tasting, plant-based and gluten-free dehydrated meals – all in sustainable packaging. This woman-led team by founder Ashley Lance aims to reduce waste in the adventure food industry by eliminating single-use plastics that end up in landfills. Fernweh’s packaging is entirely omnidegradable, and will break down into biomass and CO2 no matter where it ends up. On top of sustainable packaging, the meals are delicious and entirely vegan and free of preservatives.

Coastal Range Equipment – California

Coastal Range Equipment engineers lightweight, high quality, and easy-to-uses outdoor cooking gear designed to fuel human-powered outdoor activities. These stoves are designed by an award-winning designer John Peretti who set out on his own to further innovate in the camp stove space. Coastal Range Equipment produces affordable, simple solutions to backcountry cooking that are accessible to all.

Near Zero – Arizona

Near Zero specializes in bundled lightweight backpacking gear designed to give everyone the confidence to get out and go. Their patent-pending backpack design delivers quick and easy access to all gear using a labeled and compartmentalized storage system that is designed to maximize comfort and optimize weight distribution. Near Zero even builds standard ultralight bundles, making it convenient to get out there for newcomers and old pros alike. Founded by Scott Jensen.

WNDR Outdoors – Colorado & Vermont

Created by plus-size adventurers Arwen Turner & Kara Hardman for plus-size adventurers, WNDR Outdoors strives to increase representation of larger-bodied folks outdoors by creating technical outdoor apparel in true plus sizes. 68% of women in the US are a size 14 and above, yet the outdoor industry has historically excluded this population. Finding plus-size technical hiking pants that are high quality, fit comfortably, and have useful tech specs is difficult. Brands that do include plus-sizes most commonly only go up to size 22 and these extended-sizes of the straight size (non-plus size) fits are not made with plus-size bodies in mind. WNDR Outdoors aims to change that.


Media may use these photo assets (photo credit: Moosejaw Outdoor Accelerator).

About ICELab

The ICELab enables you to live where you want to play and is Gunnison’s all-in-one business resource center. The facility includes coworking space, private office space, fully equipped conference rooms and even a coffee-shop. Our location on the Western Colorado University campus makes the ICELab an ideal fusion point for the business community and the University. For more information, please visit icelab.co.

About Moosejaw

Founded in 1992, Moosejaw is a leading online active outdoor retailer with a large web presence as well as 12 physical stores. It carries more than 600 brands, including Marmot, Fjallraven and Prana and includes an extensive assortment of apparel and gear for climbing, hiking, camping, snow sports, yoga, water sports and biking. Moosejaw is headquartered in Madison Heights, Michigan.