Inside Smokin Snowboards Factory

18 Jan, 2011


It’s rare to hear of snowboards made in the United States but there are still companies that are just outside the mountains in your backyard building your favorite snowboards.  In my quest to visit all the US factories, I’ve been to 5 of them in the US and 6 in North America.  Each factory has a different story, feel and vibe when you walk in.  Despite the same process of wood to snowboard, it’s worth checking out how each brand makes it their own. Smokin Snowboards has been building snowboards for 13 years, started in Lake Tahoe and is now located just outside of Reno in Sparks, NV.  I knew that moving to California finally meant checking out the Smokin factory in person so last week, I did!

Despite the name, Smokin Snowboards doesn’t have billows of smoke when you open the door.  Tyson the dog greets you at the start of the trip inside and Smokin Jay Quintin the man behind the snowboard brand is hard at work inside cranking away at the next line up of boards.

When you walk into a snowboard factory, you’ll probably notice the finished boards waiting for you but what always grabs me is the beginning of a snowboard; the piles of wood waiting to become someone’s favorite snowboard.  The steps that take place, the sweat involved and the ideas behind each board create something from a piece of wood.

Each of the Smokin models in wood form

Smokin uses full aspen wood cores in their boards but first it’s a trip into the wood shop to get each piece cut into the shape and design it’s soon to become.

Looking at everything that makes a snowboard

During my visit, I got to watch Jay start the process of taking the PYT core and getting it ready to become a snowboard.

Smokin Jay marking up the soon-to-be the Smokin PYT after the core was cut by the router.

Jay sawing off the extra pieces around what’s to be the core

It’s time to check and measure to see if the core depth is right on point

Piecing together all the components that make each layer of a snowboard before putting it into the press

One of the factory workers clamping down the edges on a snowboard.

Just below the office lies the create it all room…whatever you want to create, here’s your place.

Graffiti all around the Smokin Factory

The end result is boards stacked up ready to go out to happy hands and be ridden

Production at Smokin Snowboards has shifted to the 2011-2012 line soon to be displayed at the SIA Tradeshow and ridden at the on-snow industry demos.  Here’s two shots with a mix of this years and next years boards.  I’ll go into more detail after the SIA show.

To end the tour it was a stop into Jay’s office that overlooks the factory while Jay caught up on phone calls that would determine upcoming boards and designs.  It’s a never ending cycle of building boards, making them better and continuing what you started out to do.

A huge thanks to Jay and Tyson for giving me the tour.  Look for a Smokin MIP review coming soon and thanks to Jay for letting me borrow one to ride!  Can’t wait to ride the 2012 upcoming line in a couple weeks!

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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8 Comments

  1. Francis
    January 18, 2011

    Hi Shay,
    I hope you got the next Kt-22 or Superpark for a review…
    Seens to be good snowboards.
    thanks

  2. Daniel
    January 18, 2011

    I love burton boards, but Buck Ferton board is hilarious. 😛

  3. keither
    January 19, 2011

    Buck Ferton review!! Please!!

  4. Random
    March 13, 2011

    I think you should go more into how they build it. I mean all you really did was run around the place and take snapshots with commentary in each one.

  5. March 14, 2011

    random, i’ll look into doing a more generic how snowboards are built post. Factories are fun because each brand has a different approach to creating the same thing.

  6. JB
    March 27, 2011

    Smokin boards are the shit! Ive got the Hooligon it rips. There customer service is great, Thanks Jay.. That was a sic tour Shay.