Volant Ski Company has purchased Limited Snowboards, a top Canadian snowboard brand. According to Volant, the acquisition strengthens its commitment to snowboarding and provides Limited with United States-based financial strength and resources. Terms of the deal were not revealed.
Although it has a new owner, Limited’s manufacturing, customer service, and Canadian distribution will remain in Canada, while U.S. and international distribution will be located at Volant’s head office in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Limited Snowboards President Perry Gladstone will relocate to the Volant head office to oversee and direct all aspects of Volant’s snowboard interests, including Limited.
However, the deal does not signal a retreat by Volant from its own snowboard program, including Aggression Snowboards and the name brand it launched last selling season. “The Volant brand launch was a success, especially given the tough market conditions,” says Volant CEO Hank Kashiwa. “Aggression has a niche, but it’s not a big segment of the business.”
The focus of the company will be on developing the Volant and Limited snowboard brands.
“We are looking forward to working with Limited, and to bringing the talent from Limited on board to develop the Volant snowboard brand,” says Kashiwa. “We’ve had our eye on Limited for some time and see it as the perfect fit for Volant. There is a great synergy that can further our commitment to snowboarding.
“Perry and I talked for over a year,” he adds. “Perry is a big part of this decision; he’s a great grassroots marketer.”
Gladstone also sees this as a benefit for his own company. “This is an exciting move for Limited, and I couldn’t be happier about teaming up with Volant,” he says. “It’s a great match. Both companies focus on quality-performance on-snow products, and our combined strength makes us a dominant high-performance player in the industry. We will continue our commitment to the Canadian market, and our new resources will give us a huge boost in the U.S. and internationally.”
This is not the first snowboard brand that Volant has bought. In 1994, the company purchased the Colorado-based Aggression Snowboards. Kashiwa says the Limited acquisition is much different than that one. “With that deal, we purchased a manufacturing facility, and it put us in the game for making snowboards,” he says. “Aggression was a major first step for us, but we didn’t leverage the snowboards as much as we could have because we were dealing with manufacturing issues with Volant skis at the time. Limited and Volant together will be greater than either alone. We will get to our potential faster.”
Although both brands are sold to specialty high-end shops, instead of competing for the same retail space, they complement each other in many ways.
Volant targets the freecarve and Alpine market, selling mainly to ski shops. Limited is a much more freestyle-oriented brand sold to specialty snowboard shops. “They’re like yin and yang,” says Gladstone of the two brands. “Limited brings the culture more than the category.”
International distribution also differs, with Limited strong in Japan and Canada, while Volant owns its own subsidiary in Switzerland and has strong European distribution.
Although the Volant factory currently produces Volant and Aggression snowboards in addition to the Volant steel-capped skis, the plans are to continue Limited’s board production in Canada. According to Gladstone, the decision wasn’t made based on the favorable value of the Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar. “All the raw materials are coming from the same suppliers, so the only thing we’re saving on is labor costs,” he says. The board prices are competitive with similarly made U.S. product.
But Kashiwa believes that the technological know-how Limited has can be utilized by Volant, and vice versa. Gladstone is especially excited about the Powerband technology Volant introduced in its new snowboards this season.
Limitted is entering its sixth season, and sells and markets products worldwide. With a focus on high-performance and high-quality snowboards, Limited has established its position as Canada’s leading snowboard company.
Volant is now entering its tenth season producing skis that feature the patented stainless-steel cap technology. It recently launched a line of Volant snowboards in January 1998, featuring its new patent-pending Powerband Technology. All Volant skis and snowboards are made at its factory in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.