There’s something that brings out pride in people when they see the good ole Made in the U.S.A. stamp of approval on something. Perhaps it goes back to this countries heritage of being industrious do it yourselfers or perhaps they just fear that little Mao shoved lead paint into the product their buying, either way who knows why people think the way they do about where somethings made. One thing that I do know is that there are for more companies making snowboard equipment in the states than you would think.
Transworld recently had their mini blurb about companies in the U.S.A featured in this years buyers guide. According to them there’s really only manufacturers and 9 brands produced here. Now as a quintessential supporter of all things independent and small I’m going to show you that the do it yourself mentality isn’t dead in the states.
Mervin Manufacturing who has been making boards since the late 70’s hasn’t shipped production over seas and still employs a ton of snowboarders. Located in Sequim Washington or for those that are down with geographical locations somewhere near Canada. These guys single handily saved snowboarding with their superior marketing of Banana Technology. The three brands underneath this power house are Lib Tech, Gnu, and Roxy.
Straight out of the Mile High City is Never Summer. Making boards by that name since 1991 and known for having the durability of a Sherman Tank this brand prides itself on being Made in America, so much so that is the exact name of their team video this year. These guys cracked the hybrid camber/rocker code and brought about their R.C. Technology that has garnered them a ton of attention in the last few seasons. Backing their decks with a 3 year warranty you know they have some serious pride of their product. You can also order factory built split boards for those that don’t ride the chairlift anymore.
Located in the heart of the Colorado Rockies is Unity Snowboards. Pete Wurster the owner still gets his hands dirty and makes the boards in Silverthorne Colorado right in the heart of Summit County. Now their boards feature a camber/rocker combo that gives you all sorts of benefits. You can almost be certain that if it’s a pow day up here Pete and the guys in the factory will be getting their turns on. As like other Colorado companies they too offer a split board in their line up.
Back in the southern end of Colorado sits Silverton Mountain. A virtual freeriders paradise, this is also home to Venture Snowboards. Possibly one of the most environmentally conscious companies in the world they take pride knowing they’re lessening their impact on the environment while making boards for some of the burliest big mountain riders like Johan Olofsson. You can check out their split boards in action this year in Jeremy Jones Deeper.
Relocating from Tahoe down to Sun Valley just outside Reno is Smokin Snowboards. Can you guess where they got their name from? Jay’s been doing his thing to their decks for a long while now and so it seems they’re going to have some super legit pros on their team this year. But if you like fancy technology like Magnetraction, Reverse Camber, and Venereal Disease they have it for you.
In the early 2000’s Mervin had another brand under their umbrella called Supernatural. Things didn’t last long with this brand that had rapid growth especially in Korea. But not down and out pro snowboarder Matt Hammer and former pro Dave Lee (married to MTV’s Kennedy) started another brand called Signal. Now that they have acquired The Lodge in Huntington Beach California they’re making decks on their terms.
Now those are the obvious brands that come to mind when you think about American made products. Here’s a look to the little guys that keep the grass roots garage board building alive. These are the lesser known brands that don’t have big financial backers, advertising budgets, or well you get the point they’re small and doing things their own way.
New Jersey has given us that amazing train wreck that is The Jersey Shore, but it also has a thriving shred company as well in Blak sheep Snowboards. Their boards feature better S.L.U.T.S. than Snookie.
Going along with everything in Masshole land there’s another independent manufacturer of snowboards called Bean. Doing it the real oldschool way of building boards in a 2 car garage these guys have been around for a few seasons now.
When you think of Vermont and snowboard companies you think of either Burton or Rome. Well along with those two giants there’s a little known unique niche brand called Powder Jets. Hand built wooden boards without metal edges that are a straight throw back to the roots of our culture.
Michigan the starting point to the greatest ski movie ever Aspen Extreme also houses a snowboard manufacturer. Epix Snowboards has been building boards since 2003 and the most expensive board on their site selling for under $330 bucks.
Last year two college graduates who faced the awesome job market ( by awesome I mean horribly shitty and we’re all doomed to work fast food) decided to start their brand in Michigan. From this twosomes business plan Marhar Snowboards was born. They too are also on the environmental kick by utilizing boards with bamboo and what not in it.
Over in the land of marrying multiple partners a.k.a. Utah there’s Revolution Manufacturing. Having made decks for years and now offering a three year warranty you can expect they have some idea of what they’re doing. You can also have a custom one of a kind deck built just for yourself. This is also the factory that made the defunct Bozwreck Snowboards.
In southern California sits Monson Snowboard Manufacturing run by Ryan Monson. They specialize in making OEM boards for other people as well as their house brand Humanity Snowboards. When it comes to technology they have everything you’d expect a snowboard manufacturer to have. Also backing their decks with a Other brands they’re pressing decks for are Prospect, Crispy Whips, and Publik.
If you want a full carbon fiber snowboard then you’re probably looking at Herr Vaughnster made in Costa Mesa California. While the sites still up and it looks like you can buy expensive boards from them. But hey it’s American made right?
For those that are curious about Volcoms snowboards, they’re now pressed by Signal. So add them to the made in the U.S.A. market even if consumers can’t buy them yet. That day will most likely come.
Over in Reno there’s another manufacturer besides Smokin and that’s Sentury Snowboards. They like the Colorado companies also offer up a split board option along with a full line of boards. One thing that sets them apart is the demo before you buy option on their website. Basically you can try out a deck for two weeks and either ship it back or keep it and be billed. This is also the factory that builds Chas Guldemonds Rockstar decks.
Speaking of Reno there’s this little punk rock brand called No Way that’s doing their thing. Not sure if they have their own press or if they’re coming out of Smokin or Sentury’s factory. But for those that are anti establishment this might be the new little guy brand for you.
Now over in sin city Las Vegas sits a brand you’re probably familiar with called Tyrant Snowboards. Sandwich constructed decks with regular camber is what they have going for themselves right now. But according to an email with Buck the other owner of Tyrant he’s putting things back on track with the brand and big changes are happening.
The North West has been home to a lot of snowboard brands for many years. With Mervin being the last big player that hasn’t gone over seas there’s a new crop of little home grown guys doing their thing up there. NorthFork Snowboards is part of that crop coming out of North Bend Washington. With a focus more on hard charging boards that have micro rocker these aren’t for everyone.
Now Never Summer is not only an independent company but a true manufacturer. They make boards for both Zion and Roswell Snowboards. So you know if they’re coming out of that factory they definitely have some solid technology going into them along with amazing quality control.
Another Colorado brand is Donek, mostly known for making monoskis I mean hard boot set ups. Although they do offer up a soft boot line as well. Just not they’re more into hard booting.
One of the founding brands Winterstick is still alive and kicking under the direction of big mountain man Tom Burton. Crazy to think one of the original companies that started in this country is still here making decks through Wagner Customs. But for powder affecionado’s this is your brand.
Jackson Hole is a place where men are men and well Travis Rice was built at a secret robot facility and I think the sheep are scared too. But up there sits Igneous Skis, a builder of custom skis and snowboards. For those that want to drop a bit more money these one of a kind customs are the way to go especially if you want a split board.
So contrary to what Transworld believes snowboard brands in the U.S. are still alive and kicking. Pretty sure there’s probably a whole slew of ones that have been missed so feel free to let me know they exist. For all you buy American people this should keep you drooling over what to get for some time.