The Sport if Sustainability
The grass was blue, the skies were clear, and the vibes were alive in the town of Steamboat last weekend, as the WinterWonderGrass made its festival debut in the valley of which the p.o.m.e Team has always called home away from home. Hell, for some of us it is home. Transferring locations from Avon where it had been held the previous two years, there was a strong message of sustainability and the promotion of “leaving communities cleaner than we found them.” From the zero-waste sort stations scattered throughout the festival, to the rule that all vendors must serve food and drinks on compostable materials, it was clear the WWG team was going above and beyond to stand behind their motto.
I, personally, had arrived in the Dreamboat to do one of two things; ride the ten inches of champagne fresh that just fell from the sky and to listen to noodles so spicy you couldn’t even eat them (thanks, Leftover Salmon). Making a standard end-of-day stop at the T-bar, I thought back to a run in I had with Ana Van Pelt Co-Founder and Director of Niche Snowboards at the SIA snow show demo. I was, after all, holding one of their newest models, the Story, which is no doubt the sickest shred stick I’ve ever called my own.
Niche is the only company currently utilizing alternative, environmentally friendly materials when designing their top-of-the-line products. Not only are they saving the planet, but because of the way they’re constructed, the boards are lighter, have more elasticity, and overall performance level I’ve never felt beneath my feet. Based in Salt Lake, but designed at the Mothership in Austria, even the factory is 100% hydro-powered to reduce the use of fossil fuels. It’s next level and also 100% badass. I had the pleasure of getting back in touch with Ana to ask her why she chose to take the route of sustainable snowboard production.
“When we started Niche, there weren’t really any companies putting a focus on more sustainable manufacturing practices or materials. For a sport based entirely around the environment, we thought this was crazy and that there had to be better alternatives” Ana said. “We decided we would have to be the first company that made EVERY product in our lineup as environmentally friendly as possible.
“We spent a year and a half or so experimenting with different materials and combinations of materials, and ended up with snowboards that were lighter, more elastic, and more durable than traditionally constructed snowboards.”
“Niche’s goal was and is to make more sustainable snowboards, push the boundaries of environmentally friendly snowboard construction, and hopefully, long-term, influence others in the industry to also start making better choices in materials and construction processes.”
“We perpetually strive to be better and to continue to innovate by using different materials and processes, and look forward to a better future for us all!”
And we couldn’t agree more. Founded on the idea that in an industry ridden with textile waste and unethical labor laws, we could make a difference. Whether its using materials like organic cotton, recycled polyester and bamboo, as well as working with vendors who are focused on fair wages, we put a dent, though small, in making our planet a more magical place. And although some of the powers that be would like to make claims that climate change is a hoax, the fact remains that as our planet’s population continues to increase, so does the waste we produce. Whether that has a direct correlation with this being one of the craziest winters in recent history, I’ll let you be the judge.
What we’re stoked about is that the good humans of the world are doing their best to create change. From jamming out to strapping in, this weekend was proof there are those who care. Though we have a ways to go, Ana and Niche’s story is a true inspiration to us here at p.o.m.e and we hope to continue to keep close ties in the future. Our voices are loud and we’ll continue to be heard from the peak to the base.
Product Of My Environment