Joyride Snowboards has closed its in-house factory and has entered into an OEM manufacturing partnership with the Washington-based A Sport Manufacturing (ASM), which makes boards for Winterstick, Avalanche, Division 23, and Silence.

“Joyride started as a marketing company, and the reason we built Orthodox in 1994 is that we couldn’t find a reliable OEM manufacturer back then,” says Ken Greengard, president of Joyride Snowboards. “I never wanted to be a captain of industry, and to be honest, running a factory is not what I’m most interested in. I really love the creative process of marketing and building a brand. This move will allow me to do that. I think A Sport offers us a chance to evolve our package and to be a stronger, more focused company.”

Greengard says this deal is not similar to the A Sport/Avalanche merger-for now it’s a straight OEM contract. However, such a deal is not out of the question: “You never know what could happen,” says A Sport General Manager Terry Dileo. “In this industry, you can never rule anything out.”

Greengard says Joyride considered a variety of factories and was attracted to A Sport’s construction quality and the stability its multi-seasonal wakeboard business provided. He says he doesn’t expect to see any short-term savings because of the move. “However, I think A Sport will allow us a way to offer the best-quality snowboard product while focusing on our marketing and design strengths.” The Joyride/A Sport partnership will be on a year-to-year basis for now.

Bob Edwards, president of ASM, concurs: “We are excited and fortunate to have Joyride as a manufacturing partner. They have a lot of snowboarding and design experience, and have introduced a number of firsts in the industry. We expect their ideas and our facilities to produce some fantastic products.”

Dileo says the ASM factory is capable of producing 100,000 board a year-110,000 in a pinch. With the addition of Joyride, he says the factory is getting “close to the end of what it can handle.” But he quickly adds: “We will definitely entertain proposals from anyone who wants to have their boards made in our factory,” hinting that just such a deal may already be in the works.

Joyride boards for the 1998/99 season will be made using Joyride’s existing tooling and materials, and there will be no difference in the look or performance of the boards. ASM will integrate some of the proprietary processes that Joyride has developed into its manufacturing, and Joyride will continue to offer a two-year warranty on all snowboard products.

“Our strength as a company has always been the design of new shapes and material enhancements,” adds Greengard. “These ideas arise through our hands-on involvement in riding the boards and through input from our riders. We look forward to combining this with the engineering staff and research and development facilities that ASM offers.”