Local wood, local production, locally inspired – that’s what Greg Fortier is promising with his new Snowboard company.
“All our boards are designed for powder because we live in Revelstoke and that’s what Revelstoke’s all about and really, that’s all anyone wants to do, is ride powder,” he said. “Why not buy your snowboard that’s grown right here in Revelstoke?”
Fortier and his business partner Tyler Riddell are the men behind Trapper Snowboards, a new snowboard manufacturing company established right here in Revelstoke this past winter.
The snowboards are built using industry-standard bases and top sheets. The wood that makes up the core of the boards is all logged and milled locally. “Hemlock, douglas fir and cedar are the three woods we’re going to be working with,” Fortier said. “Each one has different properties for different applications.”
He added that hemlock, with its combination of toughness and elasticity, would be the primary material used.
Fortier, 30, a veteran snowboarder of 20 years, first got the idea to make his own snowboards in December. He set about doing research online, recruited Riddell as a business partner and set about building his own snowboard press to assemble several prototypes.
Building a snowboard is like making a sandwich – just much more complicated. It starts by cutting out the shape of the base, which is made out of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene – more commonly known by the brand-name P-Tex, though Trapper uses a brand called Durasurf.
After that, the edges are attached to the base. Then, fibreglass is added, followed by the wood core, another layer of fibreglass and the top sheet. An epoxy is placed between each layer to hold it all together.
The board is then placed in the press and heated for an hour. “That cooks the epoxy and makes it stronger,” said Fortier.
After the cooking process is done, the board is shaped and smoothed out.
Trapper Snowboard has six designs so far of varying shapes and sizes but all are geared for riding powder, said Fortier.
The past two weekends, Fortier and a group of friends went out to try out the boards and see how they held up. He said that some designs worked out great while others need some tweaking.
“I was expecting more good criticism on some of them but some are turning out to the point where we really don’t need to change things,” he said. “We spent money on the proper materials and the boards are turning out as good as we could have ever expected, if not more.”
The prototypes all featured a white top-sheet with no graphics other than a temporary logo. The company is holding a logo design competition and is looking for local artists to design graphics for each board.
The snowboards are expected to sell for about $550 but Fortier said that if you’re willing to put down a deposit before the end of June, you’ll get a $50 discount and you’ll be able to come up with your own graphics.
Other future plans include split-boards – snowboards that divide into two pieces for travelling uphill – and no-board specific designs. No-boards are snowboards without bindings. As well, he said they will be able to create custom designs, at an extra cost.
Trapper Snowboards will initially launch in Revelstoke only. Fortier said they will be set up at the farmers’ market this summer to promote their product. The snowboards will come with a one-year warranty.
“That’s why we want to keep it local – we’re new and mistakes happen,” he said. “We don’t expect it to happen but if it does we’re here to help and take care of clients.”
For more information, contact Greg Fortier at firstname.lastname@example.org.