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January 3, 2009

Green Boarding: to Snowboard, you need Snow.

We did a post on this phenomenon last week. Apparently, the New York Times’ editors are picking through elephantjournaldotcom for ledes, ’cause lo and behold, just a few days later, they came up with this well-researched, fun, interesting article on how “green snowboards” are not only less impactful on our environment (you know, the one that’s warming overall to the point where snow levels are dropping), but they’re sometimes lighter, stronger, and cheaper to produce. Excerpt:

During a recent tour of the Burton snowboard factory in Williston, Vt., the parts of Burton’s first green snowboard, the Eco Nico, were displayed on a worktable. Fashioned from a startlingly simple palette of materials — a Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood core, a lacquer-free top sheet, 90-percent recycled steel edges, 100-percent recycled sidewalls and a 50-percent recycled base — the Eco Nico, said Todd King, Burton’s snowboard business unit director, “is the greenest of the green, the most sustainable board that we’ve ever made.”

More snowboard makers than ever, from grass-roots innovators like Mervin in Sequim, Wash., to multinational companies like Burton, are offering green or eco-friendly boards this ski season. And the trend is just beginning. Boards made with sustainable materials account for just 2 percent of the $140 million board market, according to Snowsports Industries America, a trade group.

A growing awareness of environmental issues and a demand for greener products led to the new additions in equipment lines, said Alex Warburton, product line manager for Salomon Snowboards of France.

“Snowboarders are attached to the natural world,” he said. “They are going to be more apt to buy something that he or she feels is ecologically better for the planet. And if more sales are determined by how green you are, then you’re going to have everybody doing it.”

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