Borealis Snowboards is a French snowboard manufacturer that started producing boards in 2013. Even though its early age, Borealis is not scared to fight against the big guys of the snowboard industry with a clear idea: eco-friendly boards. Manager and founder Benjamin Hall explains how he achieves it
1. Borealis Snowboards defines itself as the Eco-Friendly Snowboard Company. What is your philosophy towards preserving the environment?
When I established the company in 2013, my aim was to focus on sustainable materials, quality and performance. I grew up at the foot of the Jura Mountains near Geneva and later in the French Alps. Nature has always been present in my life and I must say it is my greatest source of inspiration, on many levels.
It would have been inconcievable for me to start a snowboard/splitboard company without using eco-materials, especially in this age of climate change.
We have the technology and knowledge to create and use more sustainable materials, so why not use them? Of course the snowboard industry is not one of the main causes of climate change, but change comes from the people not from governments. Every step we take in the right direction can only be positive.
2. What kind of materials do you use to build splitboards in order to not damage the environment?
Of course, manufacturing splitboards will always produce some form of carbon footprint, but we use the following materials to reduce ours:
– Bamboo topsheet on the Viking Split 2017 (ultra-renewable, durable, dampens vibrations, brings pop, beautiful finish)
– Organic bio-resin (made of 50%+ recycled biomass such as sawdust)
– Wood cores made from FSC-certified plantations
– Plant-based bioplastic (50% less plastic) film on the Arcane Split
– NZero factory-waxed (100% natural ingredients, no chemicals, no fluoride)
– 100% basalt fibre and basalt stringers in the Viking Split (2017)
When our production will increase, we will have access to more materials such as recycled base material and recycled ABS sidewalls.
3. Besides choosing materials, what kind of control do you have over the production of the boards?
I think selecting the right materials is an essential part in making eco-friendly splitboards. All materials are sourced from European countries and shipped by boat (the mean of transportation with the lowest carbon footprint). When the boards are ready to leave the factory (Meditec, Tunisia), they transit between Tunisia and Marseille (again by boat), before reaching our headquarters one hour later in Avignon. The distance is the same than if we produced in Austria for instance, but with less carbon emissions. All our boards are tested in the flex machine and quality-checked before being packed.
4. At Splitboard Magazine we believe that the outdoor industry should be leading in environmental friendly products. What do you think about it?
I think it makes sense. These companies have a strong relationship with nature and they should be aware of current challenges in terms of conservation.
At the end of the day, we are responsible for what we produce.