How would you describe the current state of the snowboard market?
Snowboarding’s seasonality keeps it fresh and exciting every year. Shops don’t seem to be over burdened with inventory the way the surf industry has been post covid. All we need is snow and the good times roll.
What big developments, changes, challenges, and/or opportunities are you seeing and how is your brand navigating them?
We handcraft all our “Dream Boards” boards in Sequim Washington near Canada and every year we work to make our friends and riders board design dreams come true. This year we are taking some key components of Mike Olsons new “Techno Pop Construction” that is on the Magic BM and Apex Orca and trickling into some other models price points…dropping board weight with Magnesium and adding pop with carbon. Always working to craft better boards.
Following overall price increase, any positive developments with regards to manufacturing, sourcing, or logistics and the changes you’ve made? Are there any examples you can share of how your business pivoted effectively? What developments are you seeing with regards to product pricing?
We manufacture and carefully select every material in our boards for performance, durability and minimised environmental impact. Material prices have largely stabilised which is great for everyone involved. We are holding our prices for the most part and actually dropping prices on many of the boards in our women’s line this year to hit more of the center of the market.
Is e-commerce sales still strong since most brands have been put a lot of effort in physical retail? We have always been a shop focused brand with e-commerce being a distant second priority for us. Our Ecom is growing but still a very small part of our overall business.
Past last winter and the lack of snow in Europe, what’s your overall sales and production/inventory strategy for 24/25?
We are a global brand so we aggressively pray for snow in every country around the world especially Europe and in our home mountains; ). We are a prebook focused brand and build to order with small numbers beyond that for at once sales. We are able to react to the market and adjust our production plans in Nov, Dec and Jan to accommodate demand up or down.
What trends or developments are you seeing with regards to board construction, shapes, and general innovation?
We are constantly experimenting and working with our riders on designs this year Katie Kennedy worked on a new twin camber freestyle model built to allow her to push the limits with a predictable performance stick.. We worked with Travis to bring the ultra light ultra tech Techno Pop construction to the Apex Orca. We worked with Matt Biolos on his ultra refined three model series adding the Rad Ripper high performance twin that reflects his high performance competition surf shaping. Our riders Phil Hansen and Matteo Soltane worked with Jesse Burtner to combined the Box Scratcher and Box Knife into an all new early rise camber freetstyle stick that is a team favorite the Legitimizer. My skate, surf, snow minded resort freestyle ATV Double Dip got new spoon nose and tails for extra silky pow performance in both directions.
How is this shaping your 24/25 range?
We completely rebuilt our womens line adding two new models and dropping the price points to hit more in the middle of the market as well as the high end. The Two Time is Katies freestyle atv and we added the Theda which is a hybrid C2 All mountain direction that will put a smile on your face at the resort or anywhere you take it.
Anything new concerning sustainability and related product or construction you would like to highlight?
Environmental minded manufacturing is built into the very DNA of our company. Mike and I started Lib Tech in the 80s and knew we would be hands building and working on boards in the factory and wanted to make it as safe for ourselves and the environment as possible. Then when we started hiring friends it became even more important to have safe materials and processes. We selected Low VOC epoxy resins, fast growing long fibered renewable wood cores “natures fiberglass”, developed a water based printing process that yields amazing colors. That our artists love and produce zero hazardous waste during our manufacturing process. Both of us are still in the shop almost every day and with our amazing team of production managers, engineers and suppliers constantly exploring new safer and higher performing materials and processes…the journey continues.
Are you using any new materials in your hardware for 24/25? If so, what and why? We’re interested in anything new in inserts / edges / cores / sidewalls / glue / resin/ wood types / base material / top sheet / etc. here.
Last year was a big development year for us where we introduced Mike Olson’s new Techno Pop construction on the Apex Golden Orca and Mikes Magic BM. Techno Pop includes recycled PET foam from plastic bottles, Ultra high strength Magnesium fiber that reduces weight and strategically placed structural carbon adding pop and liveliness. This year we are tricking some of theat lightwight poppy tech into other models in the line including the large, long Dough Boy Shredder, hardcarving,, side hit blasting, pow floating resort ripping Double Dip, high performance freestyle TRS series and our all new smooth riding hgh performance womans directional all mountain freeride Theda model.
Any new design or pattern approaches in your 24/25 gear? Any collabs on the line?
The new Lib Lost series is amazing this year…we worked very closely with Matt, Devin Tubbs and the crew at Wave Rave to refine his board to perfection and went full 80s, 90s send on the graphics including a new Drew Brophy graphic on the directional resort freeride Rocket model that is a must have wall hanger / all mountain destroyer. Jamie Lynn and Schoph teamed up to to Jamie’s boards with some of their beautiful 1910 art co-lab. Travis worked with an amazing friend of his Jessica Lichtenstein on his board line and the results are mind blowing again! Pro ATV Phil Hansen worked on our Off Ramp freestyle model and also did the TRS. As far as trends go we love to skateboard and pay attention to all things shred but generally we let our artists riders do what they think feels good and see where that takes us.
Are you planning to focus on a special product range or type of customers? What’s your newest range?
We try to make as many dreams come true as possible with our boards and have something for everyone in the line. We handcraft everything ourselves so price wise we are in the middle and upper range of the market.
What is your top product marketing story for next season?
“Dream Boards”. We build dream boards for friends, riders and ourselves. Every board we make has a person or group of people behind it who asked us to build them the ultimate board for their body type, size, riding style, terrain etc. The new shape Skunk Ape wide was requested 15 yrs ago by our large but agile web designer Trevor Phillips and his brother Kyle. The Off Ramp is Phil Hansen and Matteos brain child. The Theda is Barrett’s project, Austen Sweeten’s Rig is in its second year and making Austen and lots of other people’s dreams come true. Etc. etc. We love snowboarding and snowboard building. We are all in every day all year and have been for 4 decades. We try to make every step and every component that goes into a snowboard a magical story from a happy craftsperson, to an environmentally friendly process and materials, to an amazing artist to an extremely happy shredder/dreamer board curator.