Ski and snowboard season has arrived and with it the cool, crisp air, the snow-kissed pines and the gorgeous mountain views. A few winter gear manufacturers have embraced the beauty of the winter landscape by using recycled or renewable materials to produce high-performance gear with less environmental impact. If this is the year to replace some of your worn gear, here are several eco-conscious companies and products to consider.
What We'll Cover
- Arbor Collective
Atomic Poacher Premium Renu split-board
Atomic won the ISPO 2010 Eco Responsibility Award in the snowboard category for its new split board, the Poacher Premium Renu. Aptly named, this user-friendly board can be converted from a snowboard to a touring ski in less than three minutes. Its ABS sidewall is made from glue laminated ash-wood and its core from poplar. Fiberglass has been reduced and replaced with jute plies, which lead to an overall weight reduction. The split-board uses water-based varnishes as an alternate to oil for its vibrant design and color.
Arbor Element RX
Arbor Collective, a snow and skateboard manufacturer headquartered in Venice, California, also has Mother Nature in mind. Their inception stemmed from a desire to become a brand willing to take responsibility for the impact their products have on the environment. Arbor offers three snowboard lines made from sustainably produced materials such as bamboo, natural wood veneer and popular. All snowboards are built with a protective top layer made from a 30% castor bean-based bioplastic and edges made from 60% recycled steel. Committed to their cause, Arbor donates 5% of their profits to groups committed to preserving and protecting our planet.
Salomon Sick Stick
Bamboo cores are also used by big brand names such as Salomon and their board, the Sick Stick. Bamboo is a renewable alternative as it grows at an incredibly fast rate and provides more usable material per acre than comparable raw materials. Its natural linear fibers provide a strong, flexible and snappy board for Salomon. It’s no surprise that the trend is catching on in both boards and skis.
Also with a commitment to conservation, Venture Snowboards in Silverton, Colorado, is an independent snowboard manufacturer improving snowboard quality while minimizing environmental impact. Every one of their snowboards is built from scratch in facilities powered entirely by wind. Their boards include the Zephyr, Storm and Helix (all offered as splits), made with poplar/ash composite cores from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood sourced locally when possible. All Venture boards come pre-waxed with eco-friendly Purl All Natural Wax.
Bataleon Project Green
Bataleon Snowboards admits that snowboarding isn’t the greenest of sports, but offers Project Green, a sleek, sophisticated snowboard with a green heart. Its core is made from FSC certified wood and recycled base and sidewall materials. Like the Poacher Premium Renu, Project Green also uses a non-oil based topsheet material and a soy wax finish.
For the eco-conscious skier, this year’s winner of the ISPO Eco Responsibility Award in the hardware ski category is Völkl’s Amaruq. A touring ski built on the “wood only” principle, the Amaruq Eco has a base made from 100% recycled materials, edges made from 60% recycled steel, and a plastic-free top sheet. They’ve also reduced the use of toxic resins to produce the boards.
Grown Outgrown (09/10)
Based out of Munich, Germany, Grown is a young company that claims to produce the first carbon-neutral, all-mountain freeride skis: the Overgrown (09/10) and Outgrown (10/11). They market the skis as the efficient-produced on the market, with a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions when compared to equivalent products. Their skis are made from 100% basalt fibers and a base made from 100% recycled polyethylene to offer high performance, easy riding skis.
Liberty Skis, headquartered high in the Colorado Rockies, offers six different high performance skis for the 2010/2011 season: LTE, Morphic, Helix, Double Helix, Genome, and their women’s specific ski, Jinx. Liberty implements bamboo laminate cores in all of their skis which are handcrafted right in Colorado.
SCARPA T2 Eco
SCARPA, one of the biggest boot manufacturers for telemark and alpine touring, now offers boots made from PEBAX Rnew, a 100% organic and recyclable plastic made from Caster bean. Their boots include freeride models, the Hurricane Pro and Mobe; alpine touring boots, the Flash, Velvet, Gea and Maestrale; and their Telemark boots, the T2 Eco and T1.
Ski and Snowboard Wax
For those looking for an eco-friendly wax this season, you have a couple of options: Magic Potion Wax, made in the French Alps; Beaverwax, made in Vancouver, British Columbia, and One Ball Jay and Enviro Mountain Wax from the US. All tout their biodegradable, environmentally friendly ingredients.
This list of eco-friendly snow gear is by no means exhaustive. Although difficult to manufacture 100% “green” equipment, the use of sustainable materials in winter hard goods is growing in popularly.
Please share your suggestions and thoughts on environmentally friendly winter gear in the comments area below.
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