Ethan Fortier and Jason J3 DesMarais started out with one basic aspiration-snowboarding every day. There were no inclinations of applying to renowned business schools, no desire to climb corporate ladders, and not the slightest inkling of knowledge they would be running a company within a year. There was only living the life-just go someplace with good mountains and snow, live dirt cheap, don’t work too much, and ride a whole lot. Their living arrangement was the kind that makes moms wonder what they did wrong. But how could life be better, with each day another one to ride?
In 1993, a group of good friends, Fortier, J3, and Ali Goulet moved from Vermont to Vail, Colorado right out of high school. At the time, the snowboarding scene in Colorado was in search of creating the perfect jibbing machine. Riders were cutting down their noses and tails and trimming their highbacks into lowbacks or removing them all together-anything to make their boards more conducive to getting a skateboard-style ride.
Amateur binding designer J3 got the idea of making his own baseless bindings after Tarquin Robbins decided to cut up a pair of his metal Preston bindings. Resulting in what were likely the first pair of baseless bindings. Tarquin said he loved the feel of his feet directly on the board-that it felt a lot more like skateboarding. Inspired to make his own baseless bindings from scratch, J3 used the metal shop at Beaver Creek Ski Resort where he worked. From metal diamond-plate he cut out heel cups, and ankle and toe brackets. With a metal bender he tweaked the metal into shape, then drilled out the holes to attach straps. Using a wire-brush machine, Ethan chromed the bindings to make them look ill.Word spread quickly, and many of the local riders began asking J3 and Ethan to make them a pair. That same winter Ethan’s dad, Ray, visited Vail and saw the binding design. Ray-known by family and friends for his business sense, suggested they choose a name and mass-produce them.
In the spring of 1994, Ethan, Ray, and J3 went to the ASR trade show in San Diego. They had no booth, but word spread quickly about their new binding company Technine-a name inspired by their love of dance-hall and rap music. Business people at the show approached them, and before Ethan and J3 realized it orders were placed for several-thousand bindings. They were officially in business. Ethan and J3 were left dumbfounded and wondering what to do next. Ray Fortier, CEO and business manager, now runs an 8,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Long Island, New York. So far, the company’s growth has forced them to move the factory into bigger spaces three separate times. J3 runs production and design, and Megan Girardi takes care of sales and customer service. In addition, they operate with about twenty employees for approximately six months a year. Ten remain on as year-round staff.
Ethan Fortier, marketing and design manager, maintains the office in Salt Lake City. This location keeps him in immediate contact with Team Manager Cole Taylor and the majority of the team, and on the mountain 150-plus days a season. This results in seamless communication of rider input between the team and J3 in design. Teamriders, both pros and ams, test prototypes and give direct feedback.”It’s crucial to test the bindings in all conditions and temperatures, and the only way to do that type of testing is by having a huge team of am and test riders spread all over the world that encounter every on-mountain situation. J3 takes in all the facts and variables to create the final product,” explains Fortier.
The company strongly supports its team. “Working for Technine is seriously on a whole different level,” says Taylor. “It’s being a part of something real-that has meaning. It’s a lifestyle-our lifestyle. Our team is tight-it’s like a family.”
Goulet, Marc Frank Montoya, and Jason “J2” Rasmus have been on the team for years. What keeps them there? “Just look at the whoole setup. The team, the product, and all the people that run it, work it, and support it,” answers J2. Marc Frank cuts to the chase, “The name says it all, it’s dope. Technine is truly a friend-and-family owned and operated company with its roots in the mountains of Colorado-by driven snowboarders who wanted to do things their own way.”-Ben Dodds
Marc Frank Montoya
Jason “J2” Rasmus
Justin “Destroyer” Hebbel
Dave “Broken Bones” Doman
Neil “Lil’ Steezalino” Provo
Eric “Manchild” Kovall