Olympic medallist Jan Hudec launched his new pandaHAUS snowsports social network and fundraising app at the so-called ‘Super Bowl of ski racing’ Wednesday in Kitzbuhel, Austria.
The Canadian speed skier – nicknamed Panda – worked with software company Core Platform Canada to develop the “more than just skiing” app, which is a powerful photo and content sharing community for skiers, riders and fans.
Hudec says the app – which you can download for free from pandahaus.com – will help bring the entire snowsports community together, while also raising money for young athletes chasing their dreams. It features a host of stars from the ski and snowboard sports world, including the USA’s Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin.
“The pandaHAUS app is a revolutionary way for the snowsports world, from the youngest fan to the oldest die-hard, to share, communicate, collaborate and educate,” said Hudec, whose ski racing season was cut short by knee surgery. “I’ve always been passionate about supporting young athletes and using mentors and role models to help inspire the next generation. Lack of funding has been a longstanding issue and this app will provide a solution by harnessing the passion of the ski and snowboard
communities in a meaningful way.”
In 2012, two years before he became the first Canadian in 20 years to win an alpine Olympic medal, Hudec founded pandaHAUS with the goal of supporting young athletes to chase their dreams. Like many athletes, he had struggled to secure the corporate backing he needed to compete against the best in the world. In an effort to help the next generation, he sponsored several promising young athletes including Canada’s Larisa Yurkiw and Broderick Thompson. Later, Hudec began working with one of his sponsors, a developer based in Calgary, Canada, to build an app that would allow the ski and snowboard worlds to communicate on one platform while also giving a voice – and a fundraising opportunity – to young and upcoming athletes. The pandaHAUS app allows users to add a “Fund Me” button to their profile pages to help them leverage their presence on the platform to raise funds.
“I wanted to put my money where my mouth is and support children of all ages through education, and empowerment,” Hudec said. “It’s my way of giving back.”
The app is backed by some major star power. Alpine superstar Lindsey Vonn has a special ‘home’ on the app for the Lindsey Vonn Foundation, which is dedicated to the empowerment of girls.
“I’m really excited to be part of the new pandaHAUS app, which shares our goal of engaging the community and our future generations with a positive and constructive atmosphere,” said Vonn, the world’s top female ski racer.
“The pandaHAUS app will allow me to connect in a relevant and special way with family, fans, peers and young, aspiring athletes. Giving back to the ski community has always been a huge focus for me, so I’m excited about the prospect of reaching even more girls and leaders through the Lindsey Vonn Foundation inside this app.”
Vonn’s teammate, Mikaela Shiffrin, said she’s excited to be part of pandaHAUS. “It is a great chance for the skiing community to connect with each other, inspire the young generation and get people excited for our sport,” Shiffrin said. The Android version is ready for download today, and the IOS version is submitted to the Apple store pending release in coming days.
“We are thrilled to be able to build such a powerful connection tool that will enable the people to connect through a universal ecosystem thanks to the power and technology behind the CORE platform,” said Steve VanZutphen, founder and CEO of Core Platform Canada.