Inside Ride Snowboards

22 Feb, 2010

Ride Snowboards has been a main component of the northwest’s snowboarding culture since 1992 with quality, innovation and fun as their motto.  They have been constantly growing but keeping with their signature ideas and beliefs that it’s just about the Ride.  They’ve experienced moves in the process but are still in the heart of Washington building snowboards, boots, bindings and outerwear based around uncompromised fun.

With a shared office in the industrial section of Seattle, Ride Snowboards isn’t far from the mountains where they can test, build and design products for a quick turnaround on feedback.  Despite being owned by a larger corporation, the individuality still stands strong.

I arrived at the Ride Snowboards offices on Thursday afternoon to see what Ride Snowboards is like behind the doors and inside the company.

Inside the lobby is quite comfortable and you can see all the companies involved under the Jarden Corporation umbrella but in these offices it’s all the snowboarding/outdoor companies like Ride and K2.  This visit was for Ride Snowboards so I’ll be back to get the K2 tour someday.

During my visit, I got to wear a visitor badge and sign in.  I was visitor #452

My tour guide was Joe who came down to greet me and walk me through the offices until we made our way to where Ride is located in the building.  It was big and easy to get lost on the way, but we passed by the customer service area for Ride where each person handles the calls that come in.

The signs outside of the area showed what territory we were in and it was time to check out the Ride Snowboards offices complete with the DH limited edition artwork series guarding the door.

Across the hall from it is older Ride memorabilia including an old Ride ad.

The first thing I noticed stepping into the Ride offices was the Space Needle, not outside the window but a replica built inside their offices.  They definitely keep it true to the Seattle spirit at Ride.

Beyond the Space Needle lies the marketing desks

Conference table time with Jim Bean flying above

Hang out/waiting area for Ride Snowboards

Joe from Ride who handles internet marketing has the best job ever.  He is the man behind the social media for Ride which is always a blast to check out.  You can follow Ride Snowboards Twitter and Facebook for all the latest updates.

Line-up of 10-11 Ride products

At the very far corner was the bar with a keg (was empty during my visit).  It was from Ride’s previous SIA booth and made it into the office.

This was classic, recycling and garbage station.

Plenty of artwork and memorabilia lining the offices

Building snowboards is many processes, graphics is just one key and they start from scratch and end up on your board.  Here’s a look at their design room for printing out graphics, posters and anything else they want to create.

Snowboard Graphics hanging up

Ride Agenda graphics that will soon be on boards

Downstairs is where the designers have their offices and is easy to tell what type of product they design by what’s circling the top of their sections.

Binding Designers

Boot Designers

Ride’s boot designer Treu Hahnenberger was around to show off new boots.  Treu was one of my 2009 Industry Profile interviews and I was finally able to meet him in person.

Paul helped deliver the tour and he’s ride’s board engineer so he gets to play all day with designing new boards and materials.  On his desk he showed off the pop rods that Ride uses and the membrane material that is on their topsheets.

Ride pop rods

Ride membrane

Ride Snowboards have their production factory in China where the majority of products are made but in their headquarters here in Seattle they have everything needed to build new products for a quick turnaround on testing, riding and feedback.  Their testing production is bigger than most companies regular production that I’ve seen just to give a comparison.

Snowboard Presses

After the boards are built, they go through a series of tests.  Here’s a board with the tail cut off for inspection.

more machines

Work getting done

Inside this door is the freezer which was zero degrees and allowed for a series of tests on gear after being left overnight in freezing temperatures.

So they want to see what will happen to a board after it’s left in those conditions and make sure it holds up strong.  Pretty cool to see the tests they do on the boards.

I’ve been to a handful of companies but nothing prepared me for the scope of the North America werehouse they have.  It’s for all the companies but this is huge…HUGE!

Inside the warehouse, employees have access to their own gym set up

If the gym doesn’t cut it they have their own skate ramp set up for play

Inside this fence lies Ride Snowboards products

Each board that Ride builds is done without a graphic

Ride Slackcountry Topsheet

Ride Slackcountry Base

Side by Side comparision

A look at Carbon Array 3 in one of the boards without a graphic

For 2010-2011 Ride has a collaboration with Spacecraft including a snowboard, binding, boots and two versions of outerwear.  There’s one piece of the outerwear that’s already a favorite of mine, it’s just beautiful bright colors with the spacecraft artwork that I’ve fallen in love with.

Inside look at the Spacecraft Jacket

Up close of Spacecraft Bunny zipper

Joe was my model for the new Cappel Newcastle Jacket for 10-11.  Here’s the jacket in the waxed denim fabric

Natalie who handles Ride’s softgoods designs showed off her KISS action figure

A huge thank you to Joe for allowing me to tour Ride Snowboards and Paul for taking time from desinging snowboards to go through the entire tour, very educating.  Everyone at Ride was great to meet!

About the author


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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  1. a
    February 22, 2010


  2. Nolan
    February 22, 2010

    Great article Shay! I need to get hired there! Would love to work for Ride or K2 🙂

  3. Jon Blindside
    February 22, 2010

    Right next to the coffee makers

  4. e
    February 22, 2010

    that warehouse is huge, pretty sure the ark of the convenant is in there. If you walk out the back door you end up in Portland. I was super impressed by the facility, nothing like any other board company. Was cool to see some stuff from the old Ride days in the office, like the space needle. however when i was there everybody was basically gone, guess they cut out early on fridays.

  5. Jeff
    February 22, 2010

    Chinese snowboards…? Sounds exotic. Think I’ll pass.

  6. February 22, 2010

    Since Ride, Morrow, and K2 are all under the same ownership, how would you compare the 3? I have a Morrow snowboard that I love and I see a lot of flack given to the company so I was just wondering what you’re opinion is on them and how you would compare the three sister companies. thanks!

  7. walove
    February 23, 2010

    morrow is on par with low end ride and k2 boards. Construction is pretty much the same just using cheaper materials.

  8. e
    February 23, 2010

    companies like morrow live off of high volume sales to typically chain stores. there is not the big expense of team, marketing, r&d, etc. Also, it helps to have some big qty’s in one factory, helps with ordering materials, logistics, etc. To be honest, the trickle down tech can make these boards quite good and pricing is going to be very good deal for some people. Now, I’ve seen absolute crap from other companies and I’ve seen the factories….kind of scary.

    China boards, yup, not so exotic sounding, but it’s hard to compete in price and value in the US and even in Europe. Europe, you’re getting an injected construction(for the lowend) which works fine, I’ve seen pros riding them, they’ve won Goodwood awards, but it’s hard to market versus a full woodcore. Even in China, most of the materials are from europe and the Chinese factories are getting better and better every year. Actually couple of the factories are a lot nicer than what you’ll find in the US or Europe. If it is important to have a US or Euro made board then you should. There’s a place for everything and product for everyone.