The smallest of decisions we make on a daily basis matter. At Niche Snowboards, our goal from day one has been to create quality snowboards using environmentally conscious materials and manufacturing practices. We are honored to have partnered with The Mothership: the world’s most environmentally friendly snowboard factory. From sourcing materials locally, to being run off of 100% hydro power and putting out ZERO CO2 emissions with their natural gas heating system, The Mothership is the most advanced snowboard factory on the planet. We are all connected, and we hope to bring you even better products, made proudly in Austria.
The Mothership is directly connected to the river Gail, which provides 100% of the energy used for heating and cooling of the facility, as well as the energy for production.
By using the NH3 natural gas heating system, for every 1 unit of energy consumed by the system, 5 units of energy for heating and cooling is achieved.
By using regional ground travel instead of obtaining materials from every corner of the globe to be shipped back out again, less energy is used, less emissions are released, and local businesses are supported.
We’re different, here’s how
Our use of alternative construction materials is what makes Niche unique, and these actually make our boards lighter, have better vibration dampening, added elasticity, and more durable! Traditional snowboard manufacturing is pretty toxic, and we want to change that by using eco-friendlier materials. From harmful resins to the use of trees from forests that aren’t replanted, there are many facets of manufacturing that not only harm the planet, but also the people who put those products together. Through years of research and development, we’ve come up with a unique blend of alternative materials that are not only better for the earth but also improve performance! We’re certainly not perfect and there is always an unavoidable footprint when making any product, but we firmly believe that even small steps lead to big differences, and we continually seek out more eco-friendly construction materials. Please read on to see how every snowboard we make is better for the earth.
Niche also utilizes basalt stringers for added pop, stability, and crazy vibration dampening properties.
Alternate color schemes are used to avoid extra plastic base material waste during production.
We digitally print our topsheets using water-based inks that use up to 90% less solvents than traditional inks, and don’t use any lacquer, giving our boards a beautiful matte finish. This is one of the first things you’ll probably notice when you pick up a Niche snowboard. Most snowboard makers cover their topsheets in a thick, toxic lacquer to add shine. This is not only toxic to the environment; it’s unhealthy for people working in the factory. We use a lacquer-free topsheet material, which makes our boards slightly lighter than other snowboards. It also gives our boards a matte finish with a truly unique aesthetic, and an organic feel. We digitally print directly onto the topsheet, cutting up to 60% of the material and 75% of the energy wasted during alternative printing processes.
The majority of the snowboard industry uses fiberglass in board construction. We have eliminated fiberglass in several of our models, replacing it with Magma Fiber™ crafted from basalt.
Basalt is the product of volcanic activity. The fiberization process is more environmentally safe than that of glass fiber; the greenhouse gases that might otherwise be released during fiber processing were released eons ago during the magma eruption. Basalt is also 100% inert, which means it has no toxic reaction with air or water, and is noncombustible. And basalt is much easier to recycle than glass.
Niche uses non-toxic, solvent-free, uv-based inks for printing graphics on all snowboard production.
Products using our revolutionary Recyclamine® resin system are able to be fully recycled at the end of their life span and all associated manufacturing waste will be reclaimed and upcycled into new products!
Niche uses recycled materials in many components of our snowboard design and production. Such components used in our boards include:
The forests that our wood cores come from are managed carefully to meet the social, economic, ecological, cultural and spiritual needs of current and future generations. Our wood cores also come from a sustainable source, which means they are replaced by new trees!
Here are some other requirements of our forest management:
Stringers are strips of material that change the personality of a board (i.e. giving a board more pop or more stiffness), and are typically made of carbon fiber or another type of wood. Niche has developed a totally new stringer technology using Flax Fibers! Carbon uses lots of energy to process and releases half of its weight in CO2 and other pollutants when manufactured. Flax is an awesome eco-substitute! Flax stringers provide similar characteristics to carbon fiber, only they’re made from flax! They are strong, lightweight, and provide amazing vibration dampening characteristics, giving you a less chattery ride.
Traditional resins can be extremely toxic to people and the environment. For our snowboards, we partnered with Entropy Resins to create our one-of-a-kind, Snappy Sap™ Bio-Resin. As opposed to traditional epoxies made primarily of petroleum-based materials, Snappy Sap™ Bio-Resin is composed of bio-renewable materials from the industrial waste streams of the paper pulp and bio-fuels industry.
These natural components help the environment by:
Today, boards have many different kinds of camber – an industry word for the concave or convex shape of a board. Camber basically determines how the board flexes when you stand on it. This makes a big difference in how a board reacts to different terrain. Different types of camber produce different amounts of edge contact and pressure on the snow depending on the model/technology, which changes how a board turns, snaps, and feels underfoot. So before you choose, ask yourself what you want form your new board and review this breakdown of camber options.
Traditional camber is a mellow convex rise from the contact points of the tip and tail inward with an apex at the midpoint. A rider’s edge hold and pop come from the pressure exerted and expelled when camber is flexed under a rider’s weight. This downward pressure – the flattening of camber – initiates lively turns and provides continuous edge contact with the snow. Riding a board with Traditional Camber will feel stable, help initiate strong, powerful turns, have fast and responsive edge control, and lots of pop.
Like the name says, this design has zero camber. A board with Flat Camber lays flush on a level surface and distributes pressure on snow in a neutral fashion. This creates a less aggressive, catch-free ride, and can be a happy medium between Traditional and Multi-Camber. It will float better in powder than Traditional Camber (similar to Multi-Camber) but remains relatively more stable and predictable than Multi-Camber. These boards can also feel more broken-in, and are easy for a novice as they tend to be more forgiving than Traditional Camber boards. Flat Camber exhibits traits from both sides of the camber spectrum with an overall balanced feel.
Multi-Camber is a camber medley, which gives you the benefits of reverse camber while maintaining optimum pop and control. These boards have a concave arc (like the letter “u’) between your feet, with a subtle convex arc (like the letter “n”) extending to the contact points of the board. This combination of cambers creates a more encompassing and versatile ride. Multi-Camber boards are great for powder float, presses, and a forgiving ride. The design essentially reduces pressure at the contact points by bringing it inward and closer to your feet.