While the continued globalization of snowboarding and economical overseas manufacturing has caused many brands to build boards outside of North America, a number of great brands are still churning out quality product on American soil. These brands have stayed true to their image while giving back to the mountain communities that support them. As a result, some of the most innovative snowboard technology and design characteristics have come from these companies. You can’t beat the ability to mount a fresh deck at the factory and hit the local mountain the same day. If you’re looking for a quality product made by other snowboarders that genuinely care about you tearing up the mountain on the board they make, look no further than below for our list of the best snowboard brands.
This Northwest powerhouse has been innovating and continuously turning out high tech quality goods since 1977. Including LibTech, GNU, and now Roxy, the Mervin influence is widespread throughout snowboarding. From the introduction of Banana tech and Magne-traction to the basalt surfboards built for the fickle NW surf, Mervin always has something in the works up in the forests of Washington. The technology doesn’t stop at board performance; Mervin has been environmentally focused since day one, with the world’s most environMENTAL snowboard factory constantly innovating and turning out some of the planet’s most eco-conscious boards.
Busting at the seams with Colorado pride, this brand is known for its durability and hybrid approach to park and freeride terrain. A constantly changing lineup of snowboards and longboards has kept fans happy since 1983, making Never Summer one of the longest lasting brands in the USA. Their approach of quality over marketing has kept their image consistent while carving out a healthy Colorado niche from the Denver, Co factory.
How Are Snowboards Built?
Out of southern California, Signal snowboards has been taking a different approach to the snowboard industry with a focus on the artistic aspect of making snowboards and the riding community. Being a small company, Signal focuses on relations with riders through programs such as their Every Third Thursday and six month snowboard payment plan with bonus goodies. Ideas like these have kept Signal innovative in the marketing department, helping to grow into a core snowboarding audience.
Tahoe Lab Snowboards
In the early days of splitboarding, Abe and Lee of TahoeLab came together with a plan to make boards that were built to handle the abuse of harsh backcountry treatment while still being able to RIP. Completely handmade from start to finish with hand profiled bamboo cores and full carbon fiber, the attention to detail and final tuning of these boards provide quality and durability from day one. Keeping focused on a few solid designs that function excellently whether split or solid has led to a very well refined shape with amazing all-around characteristics.
Coming out of Whistler, Prior has been a mainstay of the BC freeride community since 1990. Handcrafted boards and skiis come out of their custom factory just down the road from WhistlerBlackcomb, making for a rapid year-round R&D setup. The company is well connected with the community and offers free factory tours to those who want to witness their board’s conception. Boasting a solid freeride lineup, award winning splitboards, and a small backcountry gear shop upstairs, these folks know how to get you setup for a real Canadian powder adventure.
Washington Snowboard Companies
The Pacific Northwest is the best! As a native of Bellingham, Washington, I’ve had the pleasure of shredding the legendary Mt. Baker Ski Area, world record holder for most snowfall in a single season (1,140 inches in 1998-99), every winter since I was ten and meeting a whole lot of cool people in the process.
Washington is also home to such skiing and snowboarding gems as the Summit at Snoqualmie, Crystal Mountain, Stevens Pass, and many more. And this isn’t to mention the ample opportunities for backcountry riding scattered across the state.
Simply put, Washington is one of the best states for snowboarding through and through. So it makes perfect sense that it is home to such a large number of the world’s top snowboarding companies. Below are a few of the Washington-based brands that make me proud to call the Evergreen State home!
K2 is a legendary Washington snowboarding brand that everyone is sure to know. Founded in 1961, the company started to manufacturer snowboards beginning in 1987 out of Vashon Island in the Puget Sound near Seattle. They have since become one of the top names in the industry with an extensive line of snowboards, boots, bindings, apparel, and accessories.
Ride is another well-known snowboarding brand based out of Washington, this time out of Redmond, a suburb of Seattle. When the company got its start in 1992, they only offered four board models to choose from. Today, a quick count on my part shows they have well over twenty-five models including all mountain, freestyle, park, powder, and wide models for men, women, and children. Ride Snowboards also manufacturers boots, bindings, apparel, outerwear, and accessories.
Owned and operated by the legendary Mervin Manufacturing, GNU is my favorite current brand out of Washington. They’ve been based out of Seattle since 1977 and make all of their products right here in the United States, on Washington’s own Olympic Peninsula to be more exact. GNU has some of the quirkiest boards around. They’ve never been afraid to mess with materials, geometries, contours, and shapes to get the ride they want.
Lib Tech Snowboards
Also operating under the Mervin Manufacturing banner, Lib Tech is another Washington snowboarding brand that is known far and wide for its killer products. All of their products are manufactured in the United States (once again on the Olympic Peninsula) and are developed with the utmost commitment to environmental sustainability. If you want a snowboard created by real snowboarders like yourself, it’s hard to beat Lib Tech.
Roxy has been a household name in the surfing industry since 1990. The brand first gained fame by starting the women’s boardshorts trend in the early 90s. In 2003, they added a full line of women’s snowboarding gear, including boards, bindings, outerwear, apparel, and accessories, to their women’s surfing and apparel catalog. The snowboarding side of Roxy, Roxy Snowboards, operates under Mervin Manufacturing, alongside Gnu and Lib Tech, right here in good, old Washington State.
Smaller and more under the radar than the other companies so far on this list, GCW Bindings is nothing short of sick. The small Washington-based company manufacturers their bindings by hand. Their bindings come in a variety of different colorways and are made from the ultimate mix of metal and plastic including 6061 aluminum, carbon fiber highbacks, stainless steel hardware, and 6/6 nylon bases. GCW even supports a small team of local rippers that kill it all winter long at local mountains.
Tiny Mo Pro’s
Tiny Mo Pro’s is another super cool company based out of Washington State. They manufacturer customizable racks for the back of snowmobiles that can be used to hold both backcountry skis and snowboards. If you’re serious about your backcountry shredding and often use a snowmobile to access terrain, then you need one of these handmade snowboard/ski racks.
Washington snowboarding brand Morrow Snowboards has been in the biz since it was founded by Rob Morrow in 1989. They have a selection of boards suited for men, women, and children from entry level to intermediate skill levels. Morrow is known around the Pacific Northwest for their low prices and quality products. They also sell reasonably priced boots and bindings.
L2R is headquartered out of Seattle, though their boards are constructed down in Salt Lake City. All of the company’s products are known for their high attention to detail, quality of materials, and effort towards environmental sustainability. Their 2014/2015 lineup consists of a number of models including a freestyle stick, an all-mountain slayer, and a board specifically designed for ladies.
L2R stands for “Live to Ride.” The company was initially founded as a way to raise money for cancer awareness and research when the owner’s good friend Luke Dorsey was diagnosed with cancer with only six months to live. L2R continues to commemorate Luke and his love for snowboarding by giving back to the community with donations to foundations including Boarding for Breast Cancer, the USA Colab, and Movember among many others.
Not originally a Washington company (they were founded in Coronado, California in 1992), 5150 Snowboards now designs and tests their products in the Cascade Mountain range outside of Seattle thanks to their merger with parent company K2. The boards are known for their extreme toughness and durability and the brand has taken this image to the next level with a crew of hard-hitting and rebellious team riders. 5150 currently manufacturers bindings and boots in addition to their snowboards.
Are any of you guys from Washington State (the best state ever…)? Did I leave any great companies off this list? Give a shout out to your favorite Washington snowboarding brands in the comment section below. And remember to support local shred companies!
Colorado Snowboard Companies
by Soren McCarty
In the news recently Oklahoma and Nebraska are trying to sue the State of Colorado for legalizing marijuana, we think those states should chill out and smoke a joint! But seriously, its important to support companies from your home state. Here are some great snowboard companies that call Colorado home.
Never Summer has been making badass snowboards in Denver, Colorado for over 20 years. Never Summer has lead the industry with their 3 year warranty program, which is the best of any snowboard company out there. Funny that Burton just started doing the same; hmm wonder where they got that idea? Only difference is you really have to ride hard to break a Never Summer, and if you do you can drive to the factory and the guys will take care of you.
This website started out in Colorado, we have lots of love to the state aside from the emissaries of divine light cult that calls the great state of Colorado home…
Venture Snowboards are made in Silverton Colorado and known to be some of the toughest boards around. They are the official snowboard of Silverton Mountain. If you have never been on a Venture this is the year to start. They make a full line of splitboards, pow surfers and big mountain boards. Venture has been making boards for over 10 years and is run by husband and wife team of Klem and Lisa Branner. Klem and Lisa are down to earth people that make a great product, they not only make some of the best snowboards around, they run a company worth supporting!!!!
Weston Snowboards in located in Minturn Colorado, and is making a presence on the backcountry lines and ski hills throughout Colorado. They are located right across from the Minturn Saloon, next time you drop into the Minturn Mile, stop in the shop to check out there line up of snowboards.
Unity Snowboards have been making hand built snowboards in Summit County, Colorado for the past 20 years. They make a full line of everyday rippers, splitboards and pow slayers and their park boards have recently been featured on the podium at major snowboard competitions events around the world.
High Society snowboards are pressed at the Never Summer factory in Denver, Colorado. Based out of Aspen since 2003 High Society makes a full line of all mountain, pipe, park and freeride boards. Seasoned Colorado riders know to trust High Society shapes.
By Stephanie Buelow
Wyoming is a large state and Jackson is a small town. It just so happens that a world-renowned ski resort helps make this town and the mountains draw some very talented people. The brands below were born in Jackson Hole and were created by strong, innovative and passionate people. They are brands that locals love. Although we are only highlighting a few brands here, there are a lot more to this list. Jackson takes pride in its large supportive entrepreneur community. We highly suggest you get to know these brands and other Jackson local companies.
Asymbol is a go to brand for photography and art created by passion while capturing the essence of wanderlust. Asymbol is a collective of the best names in photography and art; Mike Parillo, Jimmy Chin, Scott Serfas, Danny Zapalac, Jamie Lynn and Todd Glaser (to only name a few). It is a collection of artists who aim to combine innovation, expression and culture. With a new gallery in Jackson, these pieces of art, limited edition prints and apparel are more available to the public then ever.
Stio creates outerwear focused on functional, mountain lifestyle apparel. The brand is very committed to the Jackson lifestyle and community. They frequently partner up with other local businesses for charity events and more. Most recently Stio partnered up with a local brewery to create a collaboration brew, Loose Boots Après IPA. Stio is growing too with a new store opening in Chicago. This will bring the mountain lifestyle to the city in a big way.
Brain Farm changed the game with pro snowboarder, Travis Rice, in That’s It That’s All and the Art of Flight snowboard films. Partnered with Red Bull Media House, these films raised the bar for action sports cinematography. Still driven by innovation, Brain Farm is working on the follow up to the Art of Flight. Additionally, they are working on a skate film with Paul Rodriguez and director Ty Evans. Make sure to follow them on social media to stay current on all their projects and for amazing imagery.
Not all products are created equally. Aion ‘s mission is for both it’s craftsmanship and designs to be on the next level. They get there by producing their tees, hats and beanies in Bali and having a collaborating, creative, sweatshop-free partnership. Check out their love and support for Bali in the “Distant Lands Series: Sumba” coming Fall 2015. This new series supports the locals of the island Sumba through limited edition, sweatshop-free tees.
Defined, is to give your all and to fully commit. Give’r uses this definition to fuel its success and inspire its followers. Give’r has created a mountain lifestyle brand that aligns itself closely with the Jackson’s passionate and ambitious, outdoor loving residents. Strongly connected to their location, they are proud members of 1% for the Tetons, focusing on sustainability efforts for the planet and local area.