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King of the Mountain

He didn't let big companies snow on his parade.

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This story appears in the September 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Giant snowboard companies sponsor hot boarders to be the face for their . For Sean Martin, founder and president of Donek Snowboards Inc. in Watkins, , his operation had no way to compete until he sponsored a boarder headed for the Olympics.

Martin knew sponsorship would be a win-win situation. "I can get a world-class athlete and develop a product for him without a lot of money, " says Martin, 33. After learning of Olympic hopeful Pete Thorndike's dissatisfaction with his equipment, Martin offered a sponsorship and modified each board himself until Thorndike found the perfect ride.

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