A backcountry plank handmade in New England
In 2009, Vermont carpenter Jesse Loomis was frustrated. He wanted a snowboard that could handle the powder of his state’s steep, open fields and tight trees—the terrain he grew up riding to get away from skier-clogged resorts. But he couldn’t find one on the market that fit his needs. “With very few exceptions,” Loomis says, “most were variations on the classic popsicle-stick shape, designed by and large for park riding.”
What he needed was a board with rocker, for speed and float over deep stashes, but enough sidecut for hard carving and a flexible body that afforded plenty of control. So Loomis set about crafting it himself. His creation, the PowderJet Gypsy, features a notched tail and pointed nose more reminiscent of the guns that made big-wave surfing all the rage in the sixties than anything you’ll find at a local winter-sports shop.
Six years later, Loomis has gone full time and moved his tiny operation to the coast of Maine, where he churns out 65 PowderJets a year. He still personally hand-shapes each one, using North American–grown, Forest Stewardship Council–certified poplar for the topsheet. He then laminates it with bio-resin, a “super sap” byproduct of biofuel production, before sanding and finishing with urethane, which adds durability and protects the board’s wood-grain look. The result is a deck worthy of envy-inducing Instagram hero shots when you’re not using it to cruise around off-piste.