Green: Venture Snowboards
Venture Snowboards has been at the forefront of the green movement in snowboarding from day one. I was excited to get the chance to talk with co-owner Lisa Branner and get the low down on what goes into making their company so successfully green! Since relocating to Silverton, Colorado in 2007, they have begun plans to build a new environmentally friendly factory. Check it out.
How did Venture Snowboards get started? Was it always ‘green’ focused?
Venture was started back in 1999 by my husband Klemens and myself, and an environmental focus was really at the core from our very beginnings. At that time Klem was a grad student studying mechanical engineering and renewable energy, and was also working for a small board builder on the side. That’s when he had the idea to combine his passion for snowboarding with the technical skills he was learning in school, with the goal of creating a greener snowboard.
Was converting your company to 100% wind power tough? Were there other options you were leaning to as well?
We don’t have a wind turbine on our building or anything, we are simply paying our power company more to have our power come from wind. So, while making the switch required a financial commitment it was really easy to implement. We are looking into passive and active solar for our new building, though, and that will require a lot more investment of both time and money to pull off.
When riding Venture Snowboards you really get what you’ve invested in. Clean, environmentally friendly boards that will take you on a smooth ride. It’s nice to see a company that gets straight to the point and leaves out all the hype. Was this a concern for you?
It’s easy to get drowned out in an industry that’s gone off the deep end with marketing and hype but we have always believed that the boards speak for themselves. While that’s meant slower growth, it also has translated into a loyal base of customers and great word of mouth marketing. Once people ride our boards they’re totally hooked and spread the word to their friends.
Are your boards really made from scratch?
Yes, indeed they are. The cores literally start out as a pile of rough lumber in the parking lot, and we build all the other components ourselves in house. We want to have a hand in every phase of the process since that allows us total quality control and the freedom to build it just the way we want it.
What are some complications you have faced while finding new greener materials that will keep improving your boards while reducing carbon footprint?
It’s actually quite a challenge for us to incorporate new, greener materials into our boards. We’ve experimented with a lot of things that didn’t work out in the long run – for example cloth topsheets made of organic cotton and hemp. In the end what it comes down to is whether or not those materials meet our standards for durability and performance. There’s no point in building a green snowboard if it can’t withstand the abuses of riding and just ends up in the landfill. So it’s a continual process of experimentation and we do a lot of product testing with any new materials we’re thinking about using.
We all love Purl Wax and what it does for our boards and the environment. I see you use it as well to wax your boards, what helped you come to this choice?
We met Scott at Purl back when we were both just getting our companies off the ground. It was a natural to partner up with another small Colorado manufacturer for cross promotion and joint marketing efforts, but it was the performance of the wax that has kept that partnership going for the past 12 years. They really make a superior product. It’s been awesome to help each other’s companies grow, and we were especially stoked when they brought their green wax to market since it was right in line with our own environmental ethic.
What board would you recommend for our women readers who are tree huggers at heart?
All of the boards in our lineup are made with Forest Stewardship Council certified wood and wind power, so you can’t go wrong with any of them. Just choose the model and size that best fits your riding style!
If you really want a green board: Venture teamed up with Protect Our Winters (protectourwinters.org) on this limited edition board. A portion of the proceeds go to the environmental organization.
Where can we find Venture boards?
Venture boards are available through independent specialty retailers across the country as well as through our online webstore. Go to venturesnowboards.com for more info.
Posted by Kelly Vance on 03/01