DENVER–January 25, 2002–Venture Snowboards, a Denver-based snowboard manufacturing company, has been certified by the SmartWood Program of the Rainforest Alliance for its exclusive use of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood. This step toward environmentally responsible snowboard manufacturing is a precedent-setting first for the industry.
The Forest Stewardship Council is an international non-profit association that works to conserve the world’s forests through better forest management. Though Venture has used FSC certified wood in all its snowboard cores since the company’s founding, the SmartWood stamp of approval makes Venture’s environmental commitment official. Snowboarders are now guaranteed that the wood in all Venture boards comes from forests responsibly managed in accordance with the rules of the FSC.
“Today, more than ever, people want to show that they can make a difference in the world they live in, and what better way than to show it while enjoying the very environment that they play in!” says Robert Beer, Director of Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood Program. “Venture Snowboard’s use of FSC-certified wood in their products is about the closest way a consumer’s purchasing power can show their commitment towards environmentally responsible products.”
Replacing conventionally harvested lumber with FSC certified wood in all its cores is only one of many fresh approaches Venture is taking to the production process. Rather than using heavy plastic topsheets as most other manufacturers do, Venture uses fabric topsheets silk screened with water based inks. This not only reduces the company’s use of plastic and solvents, but enhances performance by making the boards lighter. Venture’s comprehensive recycling program ensures waste materials generated by the production process are handled responsibly, and all Venture softgoods are made exclusively from organic fabrics.
Venture is also a member of the Co-op America Business Network, the largest association of socially and environmentally responsible businesses in the world. “Few Americans realize the extent to which concerned companies are creating practical solutions to today’s social problems,” says Alisa Gravitz, Co-op America’s Executive Director. “Companies like Venture Snowboards are meeting the bottom line as well as playing a key role in creating a better world.”
Making environmentally responsible choices was a given for Venture’s founder, Klemens Branner, who holds a Masters degree in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University, where he focused his studies on renewable energy. “As riders, we spend a lot of time in the outdoors, so of course we want to help protect it. Trying to incorporate low-impact production techniques and materials wherever we can is our way of helping preserve things for the next generation of riders.”
According to Branner, “There is a widespread misconception that environmentally friendly products don’t hold their own when it comes to performance. But for us, conservation and quality are equally important.” This commitment is evidenced in the company’s twofold mission to produce high performance snowboards while minimizing impact on the environment.
To deliver this standard of performance, Venture has adopted several unique approaches to snowboard design. For example, the company uses a woodworking technique called bookmatching to create symmetrical wood cores. While the process is labor intensive, Branner says it “corrects for wood’s natural variations in density and stiffness so your board responds the same on both its right and left edges.” This results in a smoother, more balanced ride. To enhance tight carving performance, Venture has opted for quadratic sidecuts rather than the circular sidecuts most companies use.
All Venture boards are built in the U.S.A. “In a time when many companies are moving their production overseas, we feel it’s important to keep our production here. It’s aboout keeping our local and national economies vital. And it’s about quality, too. Creating the boards from scratch, without prefab components or outsourcing, allows us to keep a tight watch on quality. And that translates into a better board and a better ride,” says Branner.
Venture is the ride of choice for longtime Snowmass Resort snowboard instructor Chris Brockman, who has been teaching for 7 years and riding for 13. “I ride my Venture 156 Zephyr every day and I average 130 days a season. In all conditions, from the halfpipe to deep powder, it performs at a high level. The boards maintain their camber and torsional stiffness, and are practically bullet proof.”
An environmental focus will continue to be a mainstay for the company in the future. As Venture begins research and development for the 2002-2003 snow season, they are seeking to incorporate other environmentally responsible materials while maintaining their high standards of quality and performance.
Venture snowboards are available at independent specialty shops or can be purchased directly from the company. Visit Venture online at venturesnowboards.com, or call 888-865-3410 for more information.