“What do you really want to do?” asked an old friend of David Lambert.
David’s employer had just gone bust and he was staring down the barrel of redundancy. It felt like a fork in the road.
“You know what?” he replied, “I want to create my own brand.”
It’s a familiar dream to snowboarders everywhere. Who doesn’t love the idea of sketching graphics, playing around with shapes, or designing a cool logo? But for David, the dream would become a reality. Soon after that fateful chat, he joined forces with three other friends who were keen for a new challenge and founded West Snowboards.
The four of them – David, Matt Rouiller, Michel Kropf and Ferdi Muragglia – had grown up riding together in the glory years of the 1990s. But by 2012/13, it felt like the snowboard industry had reached a low point. It was time for a refresh.
“Nowadays, smaller snowboard companies are the ones carrying the flame. Because at some point when snowboarding went big and everyone was doing it, it didn’t appeal to be the cool thing to do anymore.”
“We decided to make a Swiss brand,” says David. “We have some of the best mountains in the world, tons of good riders – some legends, even – but [at the time] there was only one global snowboard company from Switzerland: Nidecker. We figured it would make sense to have another.”
The name ‘West’ sprang from the crew’s roots in the western, French-speaking part of the country. “I had a friend at Nixon who told me that any good brand name has to be short,” explains David. “But it also has to be easy to pronounce in different languages – including Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese. So, West – why not?”