Jesse Fulton!

Mention the name Jesse Fulton to anyone in the ski and snowboard industries and they will know who he is. Jesse spent 13 years competing successfully at the world cup level of snowboarding and has an astounding 35 podium wins to his name. He comes from humble, hardworking roots and is becoming one of Canada’s top entrepreneurs in the sports marketing and event planning industries. His story has landed him full circle, living with his wife and 2 kids, back in the community where he was born and raised, Meaford, Ontario.

Jesse spent his childhood, splitting time between Meaford & Mexico. He fell in love with surfing when he was young and felt a bit bored when he came back to Ontario during the winters. It was at this time that snowboarding was just beginning to emerge as a sport on the local mountains throughout the region. At age 12, he asked his dad to buy him a snowboard and didn’t quite get the reply he was hoping for, his dad slapped a 5 dollar bill down on the table “But Dad, that’s not enough to buy a snowboard”, “no” his Dad replied “but it is enough to put an ad in the classified and get working to raise the money to buy one”. An entrepreneur was born and Jesse got busy, mowing lawns and doing odd jobs to buy his first deck! This was not money wasted, as he never could have imagined just how far he would rise as a competitive athlete. The little guy who was mowing lawns was soon to become a world class snowboarder!

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He spent his first year freeriding and had natural talent for it and this led to competitive riding in his second year on the hill. He was skiing out of Talisman and Blue Mountain and was laying down some great results at local competitions. His first big sponsorship deal happened in his 15th/16th year and this resulted in a move to Whistler to compete on the pro circuit. He was active in the halfpipe, big air, slopestyle and quarter pipe and performed well in all disciplines.

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For 13 years he traveled the world and just when he least expected it, the time came to hang up his competitive snowboard career. “I went home in between competitions and realized just how much I missed my family and friends, in that moment I decided that I wanted to stay and focus my energy on them and me”. It was not an easy transition for him and as he describes it, “It was like pulling off a bandage, I had only every known snowboarding, one moment I was in magazines, traveling the world, the next the culture shock set in, it was a kick to my ego.” He spent a year or so, getting reacquainted with himself, working in contracting, trying to sort out what a new reinvented Jesse could look like. Then a chance call from Alpine Ski Club’s Tyler King and Kris Decoste came in, snowboarding was taking off and they were looking for solid coaches who could help develop their snowboard program. This put him back on the snow but in a whole new way, sharing his love and joy for the sport with a whole new generation of kids. Parents began to approach him to see if he could help their kids push forward into the higher levels of snowboard competing “It was a very organic process, it began with one kid, then two and then three, then all of sudden I had a group of kids whose parents wanted a coach & mentor to help navigate the tricky world of sponsorships, competition & industry politics. I did the math and with enough kids it could be a viable project.” He launched Shreducation in 2003 with much success and it grew to be the largest high performance snowboarding program in Canada. Many members of his team competed in the 2010 Olympic games and this was a huge career highlight for Jesse. He just sold the business to fellow snowboarder Joel Dalacker and his legacy will live on for many years to come through the work that Joel is doing!

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As Entrepreneurs are known to do, Jesse was also cooking some other projects in the background while running Shreducation. He had launched 365 sports in 2010 and developed a huge list of successful events which included Snowcrown, Brad Martin Pipe Style, World Rookie Tour & Gromination. Snowcrown added skiing in 2014 and this resulted in an explosion of participants, sponsorship and other business opportunities. Word began to spread that 365 Sports was the company to work with if you wanted an event run well and successfully. “Calls started coming in from other event owners who wanted to partner with us to manage and curate their events here in Canada, we took on the 5km Foamfest, a fun run in 2014 and it was a turning point for the business.” Because these types of events have less barriers, the participatory numbers are exponentially larger than a pro snowboard event. Both have their place in his heart and he is thrilled that the broader audience is allowing the business to grow, thus resulting in more local jobs being created! The numbers are quite staggering, in 2009 OCR participation was 400,000 Worldwide, in 2016 it is estimated that over 20,000,000 people Worldwide. As Jesse says “We are providing a venue for people to reach their best potential, you can do it as a family or take it very serious, there are no limitations to how people can participate in these events.” We now have the OCR World Championships, The Urban Slide and Foam Fest in our roster.

In 2013 Jesse’s family left Orangeville and put up permanent roots in Thornbury, Ontario. They are very excited to be back home and living in such a supportive community. “I used to take it for granted, you work hard to leave a small town and then you miss it when you leave. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else now. It’s good to be back and we are working with the The Town of Meaford to find a great location to build our new 16,000 sq ft Facility to house our corporate head office. Right now we have 12 full-time employees and 2000 part-time positions that we fill when the events are running throughout the summer and fall. Our plan is to grow globally and bring as many of these jobs home as we can.”

We don’t have to wait long to see another local event come into fruition as the Urban Slide is coming to Meaford, Ontario on July 9, 2016. This will be the first stop of a 6 stop Province wide tour.

We recently attended the 365 Sports Gromination event that was held at Blue Mountain Resorts. We asked Jesse what spurned the idea for the event. “We developed it for all the little brother’s and sister’s to experience competition, many of them have seen their parents compete and this was a way for them to enjoy the spotlight.” We stopped a 12 year old freestyle skier who had competed in the event and he had this to say “It felt different than the other competitions I went to this year, this one wasn’t just skiing, there was more to it, they had an athletes lounge with free ice cream and a loot bag full of cool stuff, I felt really special even though I didn’t go on the podium.” What an incredible testament to the work that 365 Sports are doing at each and every event that they host. A new generation of kids being celebrated and honoured through the work of one of snowboarding’s original son’s!

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Who would have thought that the little boy who started off with a 5 dollar bill and a dream to snowboard would shape a legacy that will leave an imprint on the sports and event industries for generations to come. We are so lucky to have 365 Sports as a part of our community and we look forward to watching as their next chapter unfolds!



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