Yankee Boy Basin
Morning session in Yankee Boy Basin (Brett Schreckengost/Telluride Helitrax)

Colab: Made in the USA, and Loud and Proud About It

Speciality ski and snowboard manufacturers team up to tell snow sliders to buy local

Yankee Boy Basin
Berne Broudy

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“Buy Local.” You’ve heard it from local retailers, farmers, brewers, coffee roasters—the list goes on. Now fifteen ski and snowboard companies that manufacture in the USA have banded together to promote their U.S.-made product. Their message to skiers and riders: buy product made at home, and you support the economy and get the highest quality on-snow experience you can.

Pete Wagner, CEO and Founder of Wagner Custom Skis says, “Skiers and snowboarders should be asking the standard car-buying and farmer’s market question: Where is this produced? Buy local and you get the best ski money can buy, while supporting your neighbors.”

“We believe in small business, and more specifically quality craftsmanship and manufacturing based in the U.S.,” says Zak Anderson, Co-Founder of Montana Ski Company. “None of the companies involved in this project, whether startup or well-established brand, has the marketing budget of a larger ski manufacturer. Through Colab, we can step up to the plate with the big boys and let skiers and riders know what we’re all about. 

And they’re getting some help from the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. It’s matching the contributions of the five Utah-based participants so that Colab can promote its members’ wares through ads in SKIING, Powder, Freeskier, Snowboard, and Backcountry, and spread the gospel of buying American through any and all social media.

“It is really about creating awareness and educating the ski community about what it means to be a small ski company building quality boards in the U.S.,” says Anderson. “At the end of the day we want to try and build up the awareness of the quality and craftsmanship of custom/boutique–hate using that word—ski builders and tear down some of the marketing jibberish from big–read: foreign–brands.”

“Many that ride are unaware that there are so many great options in their backyard,” confirms Meier Skis Owner Ted Enyon. “Some people mistakenly think U.S.-made skis and boards are too expensive. Generally, you’re getting competitive prices and higher quality. Local micro brews are a growing piece of the overall US beer market; we’re promoting the same trend in skis and boards—locally made.

“Snowboard companies are so focused on cutting costs and outsourcing their products, they have completely lost sight of quality for the riders in a saturated market,” agrees Justin Moore, Founder and CEO of Washington-based, Utah-manufactured L2R Snowboards. “We are aiming to bring quality manufacturing and state-of-the-art technology back to the U.S. with product that major manufacturers’ business models will no longer support. We want our boards made by people that ride and know what snow is. We are aiming to bring back the grass roots of snowboarding, to remember how this sport started. We exist to strengthen the bond between board, rider, and the mountains. This is about passion and sustainability, not just about brand.”

This skier, who clicked into a pair of Wagners last winter for the first time, is sold. Learn more at USAColab.com.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021 Lead Photo: Brett Schreckengost/Telluride Helitrax

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