More By This Author

Current Issue

Current Issue

Posted: April 22, 2013

Made in Colorado 2013: Winter sports

Eric Peterson

Never Summer Industries

Denver

www.neversummer.com

Snowboards

Brothers and Never Summer co-founders Tim and Tracey Canaday made their first snowboards in wood shop class as high schoolers in Fort Collins in 1983. Thirty years later, they’re cranking 25,000 Never Summer snowboards a year out of their Denver factory when most of their competitors have moved production to China. On top of that, the company also manufactures for a number of other Colorado snowboard and ski brands on a contract basis.

Marketing Manager Chris Harris attributes the 150-employee company’s growth to the Canaday brothers’ smart, unselfish business philosophy, along with innovative designs – namely the patented Rocker/Camber (R.C.) technology. “It sort of revolutionized snowboarding,” he says. “Now every snowboard company has a version of it.”

Not that Never Summer is resting on its laurels. Recently, the company has taken its design and construction methods to the world of longboarding. Additionally, Harris says the company is about to unleash another “revolutionary profile,” a design they’re prototyping now with plans of a 2014-15 release.

“That’s the benefit of having a factory in Colorado,” says Harris. “We’re in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. We build prototypes and we can be riding them in the mountains the same day. If you’re offshore, it can take months.”


Enabling Technologies

Denver

www.superlite.org

Adaptive ski equipment

Woody Witte has been making wheels for motorcycles since 1973 and after a friend was paralyzed in a crash, Witte helped him get back on the saddle with a custom-made bike. Then Witte went a step further and helped his friend get back on the slopes with a custom mono-ski. Soon the friend was dominating races and Enabling Technologies was born. Other products – an outrigger and a bi-ski – followed, and the company has grown along with adaptive skiing as a whole.

According to Mike Witte, Woody’s son and the company’s operations manager, “95 percent of our stuff is made in Colorado. We even do our molds and things that are typically farmed out to China.”

The five-employee company just moved to a new 8,000-square-foot facility next door to Woody’s Wheel Works, which now employs 10. “We call it Woody’s World,” says Mike.

Wagner Custom Skis

Placerville

www.wagnerskis.com

Custom skis

Pete Wagner started making custom, high-performance skis in Placerville, near Telluride, in 2006.  Jump ahead and his eponymous company employs 11 people and has shipped more than 4,000 pairs to date.

“Our growth has been 40 to 75 percent every year,” says Wagner. He attributes the heady growth to “larger trends paralleling things like craft beer. People want to buy local.”

And that’s a big differentiator because almost all of the mass-produced competition now comes out of China. Wagner’s approach is to have customers fill out an online “Skier DNA” questionnaire. “It takes about five minutes,” he  says. “Then it takes us about three weeks to build the skis.”

“Every pair we make we work really hard to make our customers 100 percent ecstatic,” says Wagner. “So word of mouth has really driven our sales.”

So has the company’s Colorado location: “From a branding perspective, it’s perfect,” he adds. “A lot of people appreciate that their skis are made by skiers who are passionate about the mountains.”

PLUS

Backcountry Access

Boulder

www.backcountryaccess.com

Avalanche beacons and backcountry Preparedness products

               Founded in 1994, BCA assembles avalanche beacons in Boulder.

 

Donek Snowboards

Watkins

www.donek.com

Skis and snowboards

               High-end snowboards and skis from Adams County.

 

Fat-ypus Skis

Breckenridge

www.fat-ypus.com

Skis

               Jared Mazlish makes some of the fattest skis on the market.

 

Folsom Custom Skis

Denver

www.folsomcustomskis.com

Custom skis

               Folsom recently moved production from Boulder to Denver.

 

Freeride Systems

Leadville

www.freeridesystems.com

Outerwear

               Winter outerwear sewn in Colorado.

 

Glide-On Wax

Bayfield

www.glideonwax.com

Ski wax

               A nontoxic blend makes for some of the best wax on the market.

Grace Skis

Denver

www.skigrace.com

Skis

               Grace Skis features bamboo veneers
and cores.

 

High Society Freeride

Snowmass Village

www.highsocietyfreeride.com

Skis and snowboards

               A top Colorado brand made at Never Summer’s Denver factory.

 

Icelantic Skis

Denver

www.icelanticskis.com

Skis

               Featuring eye-catching art by Denver’s PARR – a co-founder – Icelantic also manufactures at Never Summer’s facility.

 

Meier Skis

Glenwood Springs

www.meierskis.com

Skis

               Skis made with local wood, including beetle kill pine.

 

Mountain Boy Sledworks

Crested Butte/Palmer Lake

www.mountainboysleds.com

Sleds

               Karen and Brice Hoskin of Montanya Rum (see “Spirits & Wine) sold Mountain Boy to Rick and Jen Hitzemann in August 2012 and sled-making continues in Crested Butte as well as Palmer Lake.

 

OZ Snowboards

Evergreen

www.ozsnowboards.com

Snowboards

               Made with renewable materials in an Evergreen factory that’s wind-powered.

 

Phunkshun Facemasks

Silverthorne

www.phunkshunwear.com

Facemasks

               Sewn in Silverthorne.

 

Unity Snowboards

Silverthorne

www.unitysnowboards.com

Snowboards

               Unity has been making boards in Summit County since 1995.

 

Venture Snowboards

Silverton

www.venturesnowboards.com

Snowboards

               Klemens and Lisa Branner have been making snowboards in the San Juans since 1999.

 

Weston Snowboards

Minturn

www.westonsnowboards.com

Snowboards

               Beetle kill wood boards and more.

Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com

Enjoy this article? Sign up to get ColoradoBiz Exclusives. The opinions expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not represent ColoradoBiz magazine. Comments on articles will be removed if they include personal attacks.

Readers Respond

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

ColoradoBiz TV

Loading the player ...

Featured Video