Snowboard season is just around the corner, and we’re all chomping at the bit to get out there and shred some powder. This is also the time of year we start looking at our gear and realize that we NEED a new snowboard. While the major snowboard magazines tell you that all decks are made overseas, in reality that couldn’t be further from the truth. Snowboarding is coming into a new renaissance as it pertains to snowboards made in the US. Here are not just one or two but TEN snowboard companies that still are waving the made by locals for locals’ flag. From affordable decks all the way to custom built, you’ll find a company that fits your needs.
Protect Our Winters… And Buy A Locally Made Snowboard
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!
South Lake Tahoe, California
Last year brought major changes to TahoeLab’s design with the introduction of the Phantom construction. They eliminated the plastic topsheet and replaced it with two additional full sheets of carbon fiber. Outcome? It lowered the weight of their splitboards up to 20% AND reduced the snow buildup that typically happens on standard topsheets.
Their focus this season is on helping those shredders “well-endowed” in the foot world. If you have a boot bigger than size 11, you know that your choices are limited so be sure to check out TahoeLab. To see these decks being pushed to their limits, tune into the Freeride World Tour and see John Penfield get after it. Wanna try their decks in person? Head over to the Back Country in Truckee. They’ll have a full size run of their splitboards available for demo and purchase.
Founded in 1972 by Dimitrije Milovich, Winterstick is THE Original Snowsurf Company. Inspired by the pure experience of riding powder snow, it’s now owned by two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Seth Wescott and big mountain legend Tom Burt. Winterstick continues to honor Dimitrije’s innovative spirit by designing unique, high quality boards ranging from the Original Swallowtail to custom race boards.
Handcrafting decks in quite possibly the ONLY factory in the WORLD with a chairlift coming out of it, you know they’re passionate about making them. Made one at a time by local Mainers with nearly all materials sourced from the US (except race board bases), you can expect a product that will take a beating and keep on ticking. Being environmentally conscious, they’re also making sure all of the solid hardwood lumber they use for core material comes from the Northeast, meaning less of a carbon footprint to get to the factory. And, if you want custom artwork, they can make it happen because they use real wood veneer topsheets. By pushing the concept of progressive shapes with the best materials available, Winterstick Snowboards will allow YOU to experience a higher level of creative interaction with gravity and nature than ever before.
MTN Local Snowboards
The green mountains of Vermont have always been one of the major hotbeds of snowboarding’s culture. The US Open and Waterville Valley Quarterpipe Championships come to mind that really showcase this region. It’s exciting to see a company that’s keeping the tradition alive by proudly designing and hand building quality snowboards in Vermont. MTN Local Snowboards sources high quality responsibly forested hardwoods and designs their own custom composites. Striving to maintain a low environmental impact, they use only eco-friendly Entropy Bio Resin and attempt to minimally use plastic components where possible.
In addition, their hand laminated wood process makes for a lively, damp, and responsive feel on the snow. Attention to detail is key for MTN Local Snowboards, and they make sure to cater to each individual rider. They do this by creating each board unique and one-of-a-kind to satisfy each snowboarder’s personal needs. Simply put… to carve trenches in corduroy and float effortlessly in deep snow. If you’re looking for a durable, unconventional option with a different riding experience, check out MTN Local Snowboards. You won’t be disappointed.
The “Disneyland” of Outdoor Recreation, Bend offers you infinite ways to find adventure in town and in the surrounding area. With the second largest single mountain ski area in the US, it’s logical that there would be a company manufacturing snowboards, splitboards, and all designed for the ultimate powder riding experience. As the name “SnoPlanks” dictates the origins of their venture started on the concept of creating something you’d expect to ride in the ocean rather than in the mountains. That was the point. To think outside the box and to access new feelings when sliding on snow.
Even after years of being in business their goal is to still create something unique and backed by the highest quality standards. From every pass of the saw blade, to each drop of resin, these individuals invest time, energy, heart, and soul in the products that they create. At the end of the day what they do is about the fun and freedom of sliding on snow, and it is certain that they are doing everything they can to maximize that experience with every Plank they shape. Handcrafted in Bend Oregon, by riders, for riders.
Two decades in any biz is A LONG TIME, but especially in the snowboard world. 2019 marked the 20th anniversary of Venture handcrafting premium quality snowboards from scratch in the mountains of Colorado. 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. From a technology perspective their TX30 glass topsheet and a mellower core profile reduces weight and helps increase flex between the feet, delivering a more playful, poppy ride. If you want a board that rides everything well, you can’t go wrong with a Venture Snowboard.
Donek Custom Snowboards
One of the only snowboard companies who manufacture boards specifically for every discipline. This includes decks for park, boardercross, backcountry, alpine boards for racing, and freecarve. Even adaptive riders look to them for customized models which support their various needs to ride.
Layout Carves Like A Pro
Always wanted to “layout” a big carve but have a bigger than normal boot size? Check out Donek’s flagship carver the Knapton twin. Designed with Colorado native Ryan Knapton, it features an extra wide construction to support deep, full body, layout carves without booting out. Check out what this board does on his YouTube channel.
It’s always cool to see a company thinking outside the box when it comes to designing their snowboards. Their patented “Soft edge” has a metal edge that sits 1.5 mm above the snow. This provides riders a more “surfy” feel even in firm snow. In addition, the slightly raised portion makes it easier to butter and slide rails. With stunning reviews from Bloomberg Business, Outside Magazine, and Snowboard Magazine, if you want a taste of the “quiet revolution” or want to make snowboarding a bit more fun, you should check out Gilson.
Michigan has always been a location known for its craftsman and pushing the envelope with manufacturing. From producing Model T Fords to boats like the Chris-Craft, they’re also the first place to mass produce snowboards. So, it comes as no surprise to hear of a company making snowboards in Michigan – Marhar. They’ve added a graphics customizer to their website allowing you to design your own board. This tool gives you the ability to create graphics directly on their website and then submit it for one smooth process.
Based out of the Northern Rockies, Notice Snowboards is continuing their focus this year on cutting edge shapes and using only innovative composite materials. This is true for their custom made-to-order decks as well as their private label brands. Whether you want your dream board to be light and snappy or stable and damp, they can make it happen. And better yet, they are wrapping up their second season producing wakesurf boards. They’ve successfully merged the two crafts together to add surf style shapes and finishing techniques into their designs. It’s an exciting time for Notice Snowboards as they continue to focus on:
- Unique shapes
- Ride characteristics
- Graphic combinations
All these attributes combine to separate their boards from the run of the mill twin tips and outsourced overseas cookie cutter boards. You can tell just by looking at ‘em, and once you strap in, you’ll “NOTICE” how they got their name!
Started in a small South Lake Tahoe house, this brand has grown over the years to one of the premier snowboard manufacturers that still make decks state-side. Heck, our latest splitboards are the Pow-Wow, and we have to admit they kick butt in the backcountry! Need further reason to support them? Every year their decks are decorated with awards in all the major snowboard outlets. And for the 2020-21 season, it’s still true.