In an age when brands are scrambling to improve their social responsibility credentials, it’s nice to see Mervin Manufacturing capture the zeitgeist by doing what it’s always done. Since 1977, the factory founded by Mike Olson and Pete Saari in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest has employed real riders to build its snowboards whilst striving to minimise its environmental footprint.
Remember when the media were invited around one of the Chinese facilities that produce most of the world’s boards these days? Yeah, us neither. On the flipside, despite having more top secret ideas than Willy Wonka (heck, he even has an inventing room!) Mike Olson has repeatedly invited cameras into the home of Lib Tech and Gnu because, when it comes to working practises, he and Pete have got nothing to hide.
“This year, Lib Tech big dog Travis Rice made the pilgrimage to Sequim, WA to brainstorm ideas for his signature Orca series and try his hand at building a board himself – with just a little help from the people who do this for a living”
In fact, showing how the Mervin shop floor produces zero hazardous waste; how the boards are laid up using non toxic bio-resin; or how the topsheets are made from beans (yes, beans!) is only going to help their sales – and hopefully inspire other companies to become more sustainable, too.
This year, Lib Tech big dog Travis Rice made the pilgrimage to Sequim, WA to brainstorm ideas for his signature Orca series and try his hand at building a board himself – with just a little help from the people who do this for a living.
If you’ve ever wondered exactly how much work goes into making a top-of-the-line, hand-crafted shred stick, then keep scrolling.
Spoiler: It’s a lot.
1. Every dream board starts with the dream. Before heading to the factory floor, Travis visits the office to talk shapes, materials and new ideas with the Lib Tech crew.