Monday, January 5, 2009

Snow Base, Bamboo Boards

Snowboarders, long obsessed with the white stuff, are starting to see green.

A story last week in the NYT detailed how more snowboard makers are offering eco-friendly boards this ski season. Right now, green boards account for only 2 percent of the $140 million board market.

From the NYT:

“'Snowboarders are attached to the natural world,' [Alex Warburton, product line manager for Salomon Snowboards of France] 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.'”

Venice, California, company Arbor has been making snowboards out of cork and bamboo since 1995. Mervin Manufacturing has been making green boards for two decades. And Burton — with a market share that ranges between 40 percent and 70 percent, depending on the region — has come out with its first green snowboard, the Eco Nico.

(Treehugger asks if any snowboard can really be ecologically friendly, considering how the sport affects the environment, but I'm not going to get into that.)

Right now, green boards like the Eco Nico are priced between $500 and $700. But company representatives say that by 2010, half of the contents of Burton's snowboards will be the materials that have gone into the Eco Nico. More importantly, the overall integration of the green technology will not increase the cost of Burton boards.

Said Todd King, Burton's snowboard business unit director: “Once you get to that tipping point, and have the numbers behind you, it’s really easy to justify — because instead of just buying enough materials for the Eco Nico, you’re buying for the whole line.”

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