Custom Snowboards Made from “Right in Our Back Yard” Wood: Empire Grown
I’ve become really tired of the word “artisan” (or “artisanal”) on products: as far as I can see, it generally means “expensive.” I rarely see that such products involve the kind of loving, caring creativity undertaken by a true artisan. What do I associate with that word? A deep level of knowledge of the materials and processes involved in creating a product. A dedication to small-scale production that allows the creator to assess the quality of each individual product. A personal connection with the customers who purchase the product (and those customers genuinely appreciate the levels of knowledge and craft that go into it). Most products with the artisan label don’t live up to these (OK, my) expectations. So, I was thrilled to come across Empire Grown, a small start-up dedicated to producing small batch custom snowboards… from wood grown by the artisans themselves.
That’s right: founders/owners/fabricators Ben Beisler and Zhenya Grinshteyn take a “RIOBY” approach to their snowboards: the wood for the boards comes right out of their backyards. Sister site Ecopreneurist dug into the story of these two artisans, and the Kickstarter campaign they’re running to fund some upgrades to their operations. If you’re as inspired as I am by what Ben and Zhenya are doing, consider kicking a few bucks their way.
For the ultimate in small batch custom snowboards, the Empire Grown project uses wood cores from poplar and birch trees that have been harvested right near their shop from family-owned, responsibly managed forest land in upstate New York. What began…