Heading east on Interstate 70 may not seem like the snowboarder’s dream.
But one snowboard brand is moving down from the Vail Valley in hopes of growing its business in Denver.
Weston Snowboards is sliding down the mountain about eight months after two former employees bought the company from its founder and charted a course to relocate its headquarters from Minturn, Colorado.
“One of the things we realized is we were getting all sorts of accolades, we were making some of the best boards in the industry,” Weston co-owner Mason Davey said. “But sitting in the small town of Minturn we just weren’t getting people on our boards.”
Weston has leased a new headquarters at Battery 621, a shared office space at Sixth Avenue and Kalamath Street. They’ve also scored a retail partnership that will put their boards in Denver’s REI store. The first shipment of Weston gear is on the way.
Weston Snowboards launched it 2012 in Minturn, a small town in the Vail Valley. In ski resort directions, that’s past Vail but an exit or two before Beaver Creek. But you’re as likely to find Weston’s gear out on the backside of a mountain in the woods somewhere as you are to see it on a chairlift.
The brand makes equipment geared towards backcountry excursions including snowboards, splitboards, skis, gloves and hats. They’re also working on expanding a line of tees, hoodies and base layers.
The Weston website advertises snowboards for between $400 and $700. Splitboards are priced at $900 and skis run about $1,100.
Davey joined Weston Snowboards three years ago, he said, and helped grown the company alongside its founder Barry Clark. But Clark moved to California with his family, leaving a void at the top for Weston.
“Running a snowboard company is a very competitive market, it’s hands-on and you have to be there every day,” Davey said. “It’s not an operation you can run from afar very easily.”
So earlier this year, Clark struck a deal to sell Weston Snowboards to Davey and fellow employee Leo Tsuo, whose first full season with Weston was this past ski season. They closed the sale eight months ago, Davey said.
Right now Weston’s boards are available in a few shops around Colorado as well as online at Weston’s own website and gear retailer Backcountry.com. Davey said the REI deal was a big get for the company as it tries to grow its exposure in Denver.
Their new spot at Battery 621 will be a hybrid office and showroom, Davey said, with room for a little bit of retail sales. Davey liked Battery because he knew the team at ski maker Icelantic, which previously worked at Battery, and has done business with a few other companies that call the shared office building home.
“Just knowing the building and the collaborative space and these other cool companies, we thought it was a no brainer to come in and get some symbiosis with some other companies and brands,” he said.
And while Weston won’t take up its headquarters in Minturn any longer, Davey said they’re leaving a little bit of the company behind in the Vail Valley. He built a tiny house to act as a showroom that will stay back in the mountains.
He said the tiny house is currently stationed in Minturn, but may find its permanent home in Avon or another town nearby.
And Davey thinks this strategy has legs, both for retail and marketing. He’s already thinking up a second miniature abode that Weston thought it might have finished for this season before taking a small step back.
“We realized after the first build that it’s very labor-intensive to build a tiny house in my driveway,” Davey said. “So we decided for now we want to stay focused on Colorado, and stay local here.”
Next time, however, Davey said they’ll draw up a more nomadic nano-home. He’s tossed around ideas of ones they could strap their snowmobiles to make a literal mobile home to take on the road.
“This one is very shop-like, it mimics the shop we have here in Minturn,” Davey said. “The second one… we have some ambitious plans.”