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!