Venture Snowboards: back in the game

Venture Snowboards: back in the game

Last season, we heard the sudden news that Venture Snowboards would stop its production, not knowing whether they’d ever return or not. A fews months ago, Venture announced that they’d be back intro production, and their boards would be delivered for the 2016-17 season. We caught up with Lisa Branner, co-owner along with her husband Klem, to give us some answers about what they’ve gone through:

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What were the reasons that forced you to shut down production last year?

Rather than dwell in the past we’d rather focus our energy on the good things to come in the future. But I’m not sure people realize just how big a mountain we are climbing as a craft board manufacturer based in the US, so let me lend some perspective. Like all board companies we are dealing with a seasonal and weather dependent industry, but add to that the additional expense of manufacturing in the US (paying an actual living wage to our employees rather than using sweatshop labor in other countries), in a remote mountain town (freight/transportation challenges). On top of that, we are not just a brand, we are also a manufacturer. We’re not outsourcing production so there are all the million little details that come with running a factory (we are building all our components and doing everything from scratch – the boards literally start out as a pile of lumber in the parking lot). Our cost to do it this way – to do it authentically – is way higher. Consider too that we bootstrapped this business from the ground up, and that our voice is often drowned out by corporate brands with fat marketing budgets. Then factor in a financial climate that isn’t particularly friendly to small business, and you can start to understand our challenge. But we are looking at this hiatus as a speed bump rather than a road block. And when it comes down to it, this is what we live for and love to do, and we’re not done chasing this dream yet.

What have you learnt during this hiatus? 

This past season gave us a chance to reflect and look at the big picture. We were able to see things with fresh eyes, and there definitely was a need to ditch some things that weren’t working in favor of new approaches. Probably one of the biggest lessons we learned is that we should not allow ourselves to be pigeon-holed and viewed as strictly a backcountry and big mountain brand. While this is what Venture is best known for, our boards have appeal for all kinds of riders from weekend warriors to big mountain badasses and they are all part of the Venture tribe. Going forward we are going to work harder to embrace a broader audience while still staying true to our roots.

How do you face this new stage? What are your main challenges?

We’ve got 17 years of history and a solid reputation to build on, so we’re coming into this winter stronger than ever, with three different awards putting some wind in our sails, and a lot of support from our die hard fans. The main challenge will be getting the word out to new audiences and expanding our focus to appeal more to your typical resort riders. As I said above, we’ll be taking the reputation we’ve built as a big mountain, freeride and backcountry focused brand and translating that to a broader segment of the snowboarding population. Our #WeAreVenture Instagram campaign is one step in that direction.

What is it that Venture has never stopped believing in?

 The more things change the more they stay the same – we are still focused on Venture’s core competencies: super durable, high performance snowboards made in the mountains by snowboarders like you.

Thanks Lisa for your time, and we wish Venture Snowboards the best of luck for the upcoming years!

Credits: Scott DW Smith/The Imagesmith

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