A visit inside the Bonfire Headquarters

14 Aug, 2009


All around the world are snowboard companies and in some cities like Portland, Oregon you have a variety of companies within a small area.  During my trip to Portland, I stopped by the Bonfire Headquarters to find out what goes on behind the scenes at Bonfire Outerwear.

Designed for the rough weather conditions that hit the Northwest and with Mt Hood just a drive away it’s not hard to find Bonfire outerwear year round on the slopes.

Bonfire Snowboarding

I arrived at the Bonfire offices on Wednesday morning, still a bit sore from the snowboarding adventures at Windell’s Camp all week.  Rian Rhoe was kind enough to give me the tour around the offices.

Bonfire and Salomon accolades on the walls

The Team Manager desk

Super friendly receptionists are the best

She did find me first before the twitter giveaway but unfortunately that didn’t count.

The rad thing about Portland snowboard offices is how nice they are but also they don’t lose the casual fun vibes that snowboarding gives out.  The Bonfire office was beautiful and each person had their own desk/workstation (some of which was top secret but up close I was looking at the 10-11 designs).

Brad Steward (founder and president of Bonfire) talking with the designers

I first met Brad at SIA this year, he checks in with the blog and is super nice to talk to whenever I see him.

I rode the Bonfire boots at camp all week, loved them and gave my feedback to Brad about the boots.  The boots I was riding were in fact 10-11 Bonfire boots which was rad to try out boots that won’t be out for 2 years.

A couple Salomon decks hanging out in the extra office room.  The main Salomon office is located in France.  Rian was telling me about her trip out to Salomon not long ago and wow it sounds amazing to have that opportunity and location.

It was my first time being at a outerwear office which was cool because I’d never thought about a wall of fabric samples from each year until I got to see them in person.  How cool to mix and match or just come up with new designs every year.

Racks of Bonfire Outerwear

Rian checking out the new 09-10 Bonfire site that is soon to launch, I got to check it out and stoked on what I saw.

A huge thanks for Rian for taking time to show me the offices and be able to see behind a snowboard company that puts out great outerwear.

About the author

Shay

From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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13 Comments

  1. August 14, 2009

    Thanks for stopping by Shay! It was fun to show you around. You’re welcome here any time.

  2. August 14, 2009

    Their offices look amazing!

    I would have sneakily put a couple of those rad coats in my uh…. pocket?

  3. JT
    August 14, 2009

    I am a huge fan of Bonfire, especially their true-fit sizing! Thanks for the write-up!!

  4. Brad
    August 14, 2009

    Shay – thanks for being the first person to check the 10-11 boots out! You scooped the world! Nice to see you here in Portland, the City of Shred – Brad

  5. August 14, 2009

    The 10-11 boots look rad! How’d they ride? Do they fit like Salomon?

  6. Steve Powling
    August 14, 2009

    Bonfire is the truth, most likely the most underrated outwear company out there.

  7. JT
    August 14, 2009

    Steve, I couldn’t agree more. One of my favorite companies period! I love my pants soooo much!

  8. Hanh
    August 14, 2009

    bonfire is one of my favorite outerwear companes, nothing beats bonfire’s seahawk blue the color of the gold jacket you are wearing on your banner. i got a jacket in the colorway and i swear it for the stormy days, love it

  9. August 15, 2009

    Thanks Rian and Brad! Loving the 10-11 boots!

    Courtney, they were comfortable right out of the box. I didn’t need adjustment in them, lots of padding and seriously saved my Windell’s session. My Vans hadn’t broken in and were painful to walk in the first day.

  10. Madeleine
    August 15, 2009

    Love my Bonfire pants. Even my husband loves his. How are the boots different from Salomons?

  11. Brad
    August 25, 2009

    Hi Madeleine,

    Saw your note asking about the difference between Bonfire and Salomon boots – thanks for asking.

    We build all Salomon and Bonfire boots on the same lasts – and complete multiple rounds of prototypes through our Italian development office. As you can see, I’ve already got Shay riding proto’s that are pretty close to final – and I’m still one year out. I believe in having a wide range of people test and evaluate products – so having someone like Shay, who has no real interest in helping us make good products, is invaluable.

    All final design of Bonfire boots takes place here in Portland. Basically, I wanted to take the fit of Salomon’s sewn liners and give a slightly softer exterior with Bonfire’s look and feel. The result is a group of boots with a very even flex, and instant comfort. I don’t like the idea of having to break boots in – with all the technology and fine tuning we can do with sewn liners, I don’t want to be responsible for even one bad day on the hill for someone who rides Bonfire. By using good materials and sewn liners we can give you a good fit – and limit breakdown effectively.

    If you get a chance to try a pair of the boots, for sure post your thoughts – positive or negative. Bonfire’s been around for a long time – and we’re committed to making products better each season, so all feedback is valuable to us. Keep well, Brad

  12. August 25, 2009

    Thanks Brad for coming by and answering that question, I really appreciate it and I was unsure myself of the differences since I had only tried the Bonfire boots.

    I completely agree on the Bonfire’s not needing to be broken in, they really saved me at camp where I would have had to deal with breaking in my Vans versus riding the Bonfire’s and having comfort and fit right from the start. Looking forward to being able to ride them more.