It seems that every year snowboarding gets closer to the culture of surfing. Surfers are about searching for the most perfect wave while snowboarders chase the snow. Surfers are less about the final destination and more about the entire experience to get there — Snowboarding is going that route too. It makes sense that grassroots snowboard companies are popping up all over the country as snowboarders realize the need for a quiver of boards, each specifically designed for different types of snow and terrain encountered throughout the season. Here are a few of our favorite companies that actually still manufacture in North America and are made By Locals 4 Locals.
Like LL Cool J once said, “Don’t call it a come back! I’ve been here for years...” With 17 years of being in the game, it’s awesome to see Venture Snowboards is manufacturing again for the 2016-17 season. Being located next to Silverton Mountain, a wild resort left natural with no cut runs and some of the steepest terrain you’ll find anywhere, you know their boards will massacre any big mountain put in front of them. For this season, they have two boards that have won awards — The Paragon all mountain board and the Storm splitboard.
Could your touring splitboard last 10,000 vertical feet across four peaks? Could it kill-it in all types of snow? Is it bomb proof? Abe Greenspan, Co-Owner of TahoeLab, proved that their boards are made for every type of condition regardless of terrain. Don't believe it? Check out the Tahoe Ten Mission he completed last season with local Josh Daiek to prove his point. Built in Meyers just a few minutes south of Lake Tahoe, TahoeLab makes boards that will last and if you have a boot size larger than Men's 12, they even have boards designed that still have a sidecut so you can get an edge without catching an edge. We also got a chance to demo one of their boards ourselves and the 'pop' these decks have is absolutely insane! If you are looking for a touring board or a deep powder deck for your quiver, you might want to check them out this season and let them know Local Freshies® sent ya.
Are you looking for a board that has a lot of technology put into it, but not overpriced? Then Wi-Me Snowboards will fit the bill. Owner Jeff Lavin is an engineer by trade and you can see that his mind works at another level from us normal shredders. Check out his post from last year explaining how each material was selected, the core is used, and the ultimate shape of the deck achieved to get an idea how much love is really put into their boards. For this season they’ve even stepped up the art on them too. Their flagship deck, the Nomad, will have art designed by Damon DeLaPaz, the drummer of Ape Machine, and these boards will be made to order based on size, weight and height. The rest of their lineup is made in an awesome factory in the biz since 1960. If you want to support a passionate company with a good sense of humor, this might be your brand. Like their company’s motto — 'Really Good Shred' — they don’t just mean it, they live it. Go ahead and become a 'shredneck.
Just down the road from where the first ever manufactured snowboard was invented (the snurfer), the crew from Marhar is pushing the limits on what they're making their boards out of. Last season their flagship board, the Archaic, won best in show. With over 450 laminations of bamboo that run tip to tail in the core plus carbon fiber and multi-point contacts on their edges for better response, it’s a high quality board for a great price — under $500! Most of all, they took the feedback from their customers and added a little bit of camber along with the rocker shape. This small company based in Michigan keeps on moving forward by releasing cool product year after year.
The east coast, or for some 'The Ice Coast', is a place that the conditions force you to work on your technique or you'll end up falling hard on bullet proof ice. From Jeff Brushie to Danny Kass, this part of the country brings that driven hard-charging attitude to the slopes. This style can be seen in the company Blak Sheep. Are you looking for a board that’s gonna rip-it-up in the park and know that your hard earned money is going to a bunch of guys that live and breathe snowboarding? Then this might be the company for you.
Are you a soul snow-surfer? Do you want a snowboard that was shaped and designed specifically for you and the snow conditions that exist? No problem! Notice Custom Snowboards has got you covered. All materials are sourced out of the good ole' USA and hand made in their shop in Whitefish, Montana. This might be your best bet to help create a 'quiver' of boards. From picking your shape, selecting the profile, and choosing the material, Notice is the real deal for a person that wants a truly custom snowboard.
Unity Snowboards – Snowboards Made-to-Order
Back in 1995, Pete Wurster founded a company based on the love of snowboarding and the passion to make great product. Even with Unity’s success, he is still known to get his hands dirty helping make these legendary boards. Where you ask? His shop is in Silverthorne, Colorado — located right in the center of the famous Summit County. This is the home to renowned ski resorts such as Keystone, Breckenridge, and Copper Mountain. With so many options of places to ride, you know that these boards can ride everything and anything that you put in front of them. This winter they are allowing people to design their own boards. We aren’t talking about slapping a custom graphic on a board… Unity is allowing you to design a board with different widths, length, flex patterns, and anything that your mind could think of. Talk about build-to-suit!
Over the years DJ techniques have always been guarded and closely held secrets. In the mid-90s, the Beat Junkies removed that cloak, and it caused an earth shattering revolution in the music industry. Just like the Beat Junkies, Signal Snowboards is trying to push the envelope, showcasing the manufacturing process with their Every Third Thursday and allowing creative ideas to flourish.
This is a company about the art of making a snowboard and it can be seen in everything they do — from keeping the design, manufacturing, and creative concepts within the US in Huntington Beach, California to introducing a subscription to purchase a new snowboard. They truly push the traditional boundaries and it’s exciting to see! With riders like John Jackson onboard, you know they are doing something right!
Twenty-one years! That is a long time to be in business regardless of the industry. It’s thrilling to see that Smokin’ Snowboards has been around that long and still making kick a** snowboards. Like Frank Sinatra, they make snowboards how they want to do it instead of trying to follow the flavor of the month or the trends of the season. Originally making snowboards on the shores of Lake Tahoe, because of their growth in demand, they had to move their manufacturing facility to just outside of Reno to Sparks, Nevada. Providing a three year warranty, these decks are a great option if you want a deck with pop. Personally, I purchased a Pow Wow splitboard from them and I LOVE the way the board rides (Review found here). Always pushing the limits of what is considered 'normal', this is a great option for anyone that wants a board that can dominate in nearly every condition.
Originally from the East coast, they migrated out West. One can only assume this move was made to chase the snow and get a few more powder slashes in. Much like Wu Tang Clan, their crew dabbles in every form of art from making mixtapes, snowboards, and they have even produced a few videos. It also seems that this wild crew is growing up a bit and embracing their Vermont roots even more with the concept of Sababa. What is it? It’s about living within your means such as appreciating home grown food as well as becoming environmentally friendly. This concept of supporting local goes even further as their boards are manufactured for them by Smokin’ Snowboards. Only time will tell where these 'Green' Bandits go from here. No matter what it’ll be exciting for sure.
These grass roots snowboard companies have more in common than just manufacturing in North America. The most obvious is they do it for the love of the sport. Second, they are able to produce small batches and make upgrades on the fly so you are guaranteed a one-of-a-kind ride. If some of these names are new to you, check them out and consider one of them the next time you are in the market for a board. If we missed highlighting a company that makes boards in North America, let us know and we'll include it in the list next season. Until then, let’s support companies that are made By Locals 4 Locals.