Weston, Minturn, Colorado
Weston builds and sells snowboards, splitboards, and skis.
"Community, safety, and sustainability are at the core of our beliefs," says the company's website. "We are a member of 1% for the Planet, and many of our board models help support nonprofit causes that we hold close to our hearts."
Who are you?
Alex Blanchard. I'm in charge of events, production, and sustainability for Weston.
What's your company about?
As our website says, we've been building bomber snowboards, splitboards, and skis, loving Mother Earth, fostering community, supporting important causes, spreading backcountry education, dirt bagging, slaying pow, and chasing freedom since 2012.
If some of that's not familiar to you, "bomber" means really well-designed and well-made. Splitboards are snowboards that separate into 2 pieces that you can use like cross-country skis to get to the top of a run. Then you put the pieces back together and ride the board down.
Dirt bagging is paring your life down to the essentials—like slaying pow, which is making insane runs on untouched backcountry powder snow. Once you try it, you're hooked.
How are you addressing sustainability?
In the manufacturing cycle, all of our topsheet [the top part of a snowboard that shows the graphics and protects the inner parts] is castor bean-based. We're using sustainably farmed hardwood for the cores. We're trying to use flax or other natural materials where we can; it has really good dampening properties. And bio-based wax—stuff like that.
We realized the shipping and distribution was a major source of pollution. We worked with our manufacturer, and now 100% of our packaging is recyclable. That includes from the manufacturer to us and us to the consumer. Our shrink wrap's recyclable. Even our stickers are recyclable.
We're trying to use sea shipping as much as possible. Sea shipping is 4 to 5 times less carbon intensive than air shipping. We're even going as far as trying to cut us out of the process. Instead of a manufacturer shipping to our warehouse, and us repackaging and shipping to a distributor, we're trying to ship straight from the factory to the distributor.
Your ecommerce store gives customers the option of greening their shipping with Cloverly, right?
Exactly, yeah. Customers want to get involved in the process. A lot of customers really are starting to appreciate the sustainability side of things. I really like that Cloverly lets them see where their offsets are coming from. I think the more you can bring people into the process, the more they're going to want to be involved and take pride in it.
Speaking of pride, what is your company proudest of?
All the stuff we are able to do beyond the board. We've developed a whole progression of avalanche classes, from our free Splitboard 101 "intro to backcountry" classes to a variety of on-snow educational courses with our guide partners.
The reality is that the backcountry can be dangerous. So to us, it is irresponsible to sell someone these tools to access the backcountry but then make them figure out how to safely use it by themselves. We pioneered this here in Colorado, but we've branched out and now have classes all over the US, and are branching out into Canada and Japan.