Made by Locals for Locals – Part 1

When talking about climate change, there is a focus on how much air pollution cars make, but for some reason ocean vessels stay out of the spotlight. Ocean transportation accounts for 90% of global trade and yet it doesn’t have any air polluting restrictions! This should be a cause of concern for all of us.  The scariest part is that it only takes fifteen of the largest ships to emit as much air pollution as the entire world’s 760 million cars. What’s even more shocking is that there are currently 90,000 vessels in the world that burn approximately 370 million tons of fuel per year emitting 20 million tons of Sulphur Oxides (SOx). Yes, you read that right. TWENTY MILLION TONS compared to the 78,599 tons of (SOx) annually emitted by cars!

Image courtesy - Tahoe Labs

Image courtesy – Tahoe Labs

What can we do? Well for starters you can join Protect Our Winters or get involved with local conservation organizations to help combat climate change.  Second, buy things that are sourced and manufactured locally first then in North America.   When it comes to our favorite product, I already know what you are going to ask.  Are there even any snowboards still manufactured in North America?  The answer is a resounding yes! “Made by Locals for Locals” will identify these companies who have either moved manufacturing back on shore or have always made their boards in North America.

TahoeLab – South Shore Locals

Image Courtesy - Tahoe Labs

Image Courtesy – Tahoe Labs

All great inventors/pioneers start with a problem that they are unhappy with. This is the type of problem where the current solution doesn’t provide the answer they are looking for. From here, ideas are born. Frustrated with the snowboards available to them in the market both Abe Greenspan and Lee Collins took their 20+ years of experience and created Tahoe Labs. Built in Meyers just a few minutes south of Lake Tahoe they make bomb proof boards that you can trust. And for those with larger feet they also have a selection of sizes that are wide enough to fit even a size 12 or 14 foot boot.  Since performance is key to TahoeLab the snowboards made for larger feet still have a sidecut so you can get an edge without catching an edge.

Website can be found here

Wi-Me Snowboards – Why not you as well?

Image Courtesy - Wi-Me Snowboards

Image Courtesy – Wi-Me Snowboards

Pro rider Jeff Lavin whose two home states are Wisconsin and Maine combined the two to form the name “Wi-Me”.  The company presses their boards in the hot bed of the most technical snowboarding region in Canada: Montreal, Quebec. Jeff and his team really put their passion into every single product they make and you can really see it. From making boards that only weigh four pounds to having a crew named the “Shrednecks” this company is as dedicated to making decks that push the “gnarmometer” as they are going after it on a powder day. So, what makes their boards so awesome? They use everything from 3D mock ups to simulations to adjust their designs for vibrations, determine high stress areas and experiment with new composites to come out with the best boards possible.  For those worried about their carbon footprint Jeff, Mikie, and Daniel go one step further by making sure that all of the materials used in manufacturing snowboards such as composites, wood, and plastics are sourced locally. If you want to support a passionate company with a good sense of humor this might be your brand. Like their company’s motto reads “Really Good Shred” they don’t just mean it, they live it.

 

Image Courtesy - Wi-Me Snowboards

Image Courtesy – Wi-Me Snowboards

Website can be found here

Marhar Snowboards – A Snowboard company out of Michigan?

Image Courtesy - Marhar Snowboards

Image Courtesy – Marhar Snowboards

Just down the road from where the first ever manufactured snowboard was invented (the snurfer) the crew from Marhar makes really sick snowboards that are unique. In fact, they are so custom that you can design your own board. Yup, you can submit your own art work and they’ll make a board with your creative graphic right on top of it. Talk about made to order! This small company based in Michigan keeps on moving forward by releasing cool product year after year.

Image Courtesy - Marhar Snowboards

Image Courtesy – Marhar Snowboards

Website can be found here

Blak Sheep – There’s more to Jersey than Gumba’s

Image Courtesy - Blak Sheep

Image Courtesy – Blak Sheep

The east coast has always been the home of some of the wildest park riders in the country. From Todd Richards to Danny Kass this part of the country bring it’s hard charging attitude to the ice and snow.  This approach can be seen in the company Blak Sheep.  Always pushing the envelope on what’s possible every year their boards continue to get better, faster, and stronger. For 2016, this is no different.  With a full season of testing under their belts the new shapes will allow the boards to carve harder and flex better than anything that they’ve made before. For those that spend more time in the backcountry or in the trees don’t worry the Blak Sheep crew is hard at work on a freeride/all mountain model that will be released some time in the near future.  If it’s like their park boards we are definitely in for a treat! The 2015-2016 Gnarly State Park Stik models will be available in October/November so stay tuned.

Website can be found here

As you can see there is a ton of cool local board companies that support everyone’s fancy. Instead of picking up the same boring Chinese made board why don’t you go out there protect our winters and buy something made in North America. The trees will hug you, the bears will sleep a little longer, and you’ll have a deck that no one else does. Stay tuned for our next chapter in our series as we talk about a few other companies based in North America.

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