Friday, March 11, 2016

Niche in Final Testing of 100% Recyclable Snowboard | TransWorld SNOWboarding

Niche in Final Testing of 100% Recyclable Snowboard

Niche Snowboards is excited to announce the first 100% fully recyclable snowboard, allowing all manufacturing waste and the product itself to be recycled and repurposed for reuse at the end of its product life cycle.
Niche Snowboards teamed up with Connora Technology and Entropy Resins to apply their Recyclamine® technology into Niche Snowboards’ eco friendly snowboard manufacturing process.

The application and testing started back in 2014. Niche team riders and team members are conducting final testing of Niche Snowboards’ Recyclamine® prototypes this month.
“Being at the forefront of sustainable manufacturing has always been a source of pride and top priority for us, and the sole reason we started Niche in 2009,” said Ana Van Pelt, Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer
The use of this revolutionary technology provides an end of life solution for snow sports products, and for the waste created during the manufacturing process. The resins within the snowboard and other waste material can be dissolved and broken apart using a top-secret solution, enabling them to harvest the virgin materials which can then be recycled and repurposed to create other new products. Niche Snowboards is working on creating thoughtful collaborations within the snowsports industry.
Erika Vikander shredding on a Niche. Photo: Drew Smalley
“Being at the forefront of sustainable manufacturing has always been a source of pride and top priority for us, and the sole reason we started Niche in 2009,” said Ana Van Pelt, Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer
“Along with several exciting updates we’ve made going into 2016/17, this is something we are most proud of. We’ve been testing and prototyping Recyclamine® for the last two years, dedicating a substantial amount of effort into properly dialing in the formulations to make sure the boards continue to ride as well as they always have, if not better. As we enter our final development phase, we’re beyond excited to be able to tell the snowboard community about something we know has the
ability to revolutionize the entire snowboard manufacturing industry by creating a TRUE zero-landfill manufacturing solution. We are honored to be the first, and look forward to the day when the rest of the industry takes notice and hopefully welcomes these kinds of solutions into their own manufacturing,” said Van Pelt.

About Niche Snowboards  – Founded in 2009, Niche is based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. We’re committed to making the highest quality snowboards, constructed with eco-friendlier materials that reflect our love affair with nature and good design. We believe snowboarding and creativity go hand-in-hand, and are passionate about making boards that are lighter, snappier and more durable thanmost traditionally constructed decks.
Niche is, above all else, dedicated to providing the global snowboard community with a quality product whose environmental impact is lessened by thoughtful design, conscious material selection and the desire to craft quality snowboards.


Friday, December 18, 2015

What the UN Climate Conference Means for Snowboarding | TransWorld SNOWboarding

A perfect reminder of what's at stake with climate change. Whistler/Blackcomb, December 10, 2015. Photo: Mitchell Winton
A perfect reminder of what’s at stake with climate change. Whistler/Blackcomb, December 10, 2015. Photo: Mitchell Winton
By Jesse Huffman
Falling in love with snowboarding can lead to short-term memory loss. Just ask the riders currently digging into a West Coast buffet of powder if they remember the last two winters when snowfall fell to record lows, or the fact that the region’s snowpacks decreased an average of 23 percent from 1955 to 2015. Nope, too busy turning and burning through 54-inch storms. When your life revolves around a sport like snowboarding, it’s hard to not be myopic in focusing on the here and now. Getting lost in the present moment is, after all, one of the most beautiful things about strapping into a snowboard.
But it’s just those moments that are at risk from climate change. Paris might seem like light years away from the mountains we hold dear, but over the past two weeks, this European capitol hosted a historic conference that laid out a plan to prevent climate change from spinning out of control. The only catch? It’s still up to us to turn solutions into reality. I had the opportunity to attend the COP21— here’s what leaders agreed on in Paris and why it’s critical to snowboarding.
World Leaders Agree on Slowing Climate Change
On November 30th, the largest gathering of heads of state arrived at the Paris UN Climate Change Conference (COP21). It wasn’t the first time the UN tried to address climate change—as the catchy COP21 title implies, the 20 prior Climate Change Conferences didn’t yield much progress. Past COPs didn’t even try to include carbon emissions by still-developing countries, including China (now the biggest carbon emitter in the world and arguably the biggest economy), and the US itself walked out on the last big agreement, the Kyoto Protocol in 1992.
We’ve been breaking global heat records year after year, for a decade and a half now, and 2015 is on track to be the latest to top this list. This time around, climate change was finally seen as an immediate threat, and many of the 190-plus countries attending the Paris conference simply couldn’t afford another COP failure.
Within snowsports, we’ve had years of anecdotal and scientific evidence on the industry-ending effects of shortened winters and rising temperatures. At an international level, study after study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) points toward impacts we’re already experiencing, and the irreversible and cumulative chaos if we allow climate change to continue.
While governments wallowed on a binding agreement to limit fossil fuel emissions, business leaders got sick of waiting and dropped in on clean tech innovations themselves. And a growing “people’s climate movement” mobilized hundreds of thousands around the world in a call for an immediate and just shift to a fossil-fuel-free future.
Even before Paris, COP21 differed from the last COP in Copenhagen six years ago, as nations representing 95 percent of global emissions pledged significant emissions reductions. This time, the US emerged as a major player—not only committing to our own reductions in the face of a congress bent on blocking President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, but ultimately urging outliers like China and India to join on a decision that needed to be unanimously accepted by over 190 countries.
And after two weeks of heady debate and all-night discussions, Paris did what all the other COPs failed to do: it produced a landmark agreement and an international pathway to reducing carbon emissions across the world. Bam.
What That Means For Snowboarders
What does this all mean for winter as we know it? That forecast isn’t clear yet. The Paris deal is being applauded by some as a miracle of diplomacy and a new era of international collaboration. Others are pointing to the fact that current commitments from countries won’t limit additional warming much more than three degrees by 2100. That’s a good deal more than the two degrees scientists warn will trigger irreversible changes to our weather, and much more than the 1.5 degrees that developing, poor and coastal communities say is the maximum before loss of life due to flooding, drought, famine, and disease jumps into in the millions.
Try to understand how the “Paris Deal” will actually reduce emissions and you could end up down an Internet rabbit-hole of cat-video proportions. That’s because after so many failures to produce a legally binding treaty, the COP21 agreement is almost completely voluntary, with actual measures to reduce emissions up to each country to craft and implement. The main Paris deal requirement is for transparent evaluations of progress and a five-year check up— when the plan is to have each country deepen their emissions reductions. What’s next? The COP countries will get back together in 2023 to see where everyone is at.
“Basically the agreement is just that…an agreement,” explains Olympic and X Games Gold Medalist and environment activist Gretchen Bleiler, who was at the COP21. “We basically have ten years to work together as a global community in order to preserve not just our winters, but an environment that makes living on planet earth inhabitable for human beings.”
We got commitments from coalitions at international, national, city and individual levels for a rapid development and deployment of renewable technologies— and pumping the brakes on fossil fuels. Bill Gates committed two billion dollars in personal investment. But we didn’t get anything as clear as a law that says, “thou shall not pollute.” The US itself was one of the main countries preventing the Paris Deal from becoming legally binding— everyone knew that the US Congress would never ratify a climate treaty.
Gretchen Bleiler has become one of the most outspoken and educated members of the snowsports community on the issue of climate change. Photo: Chris Wellhausen
Gretchen Bleiler has become one of the most outspoken and educated members of the snowsports community on the issue of climate change. Photo: Chris Wellhausen
It’s Still Up To Us
For folks fighting against climate change, this is a moment to take a breath and recognize that world leaders are aware of the impacts we’re already experiencing, and the threat of a future thrown into chaos. Paris is known as the “City of Light,” and the COP21 embodied that to a tee, illuminating climate change like never before. Now that all the COP21 countries have packed up and headed home with the responsibility of following through, it’s up to us to make sure that light doesn’t waver. “Coming together and agreeing to a global strategy is really a huge step in the right direction,” says Bleiler. “But now each country must go back and do the work, and then just as importantly, reconvene in another five years to assess what has been done and reassess how things can get even better. ”
Back in the mountains, that responsibility trickles down to each and every snowboarder. Before Paris, the push was to demand action from world leaders. After Paris, that directive is still there—with the added imperative that to limit warming to1.5 degrees, we can’t rely on governments alone. Mountainous regions across the world face similar challenges from climate change. But much like the era when snowboarding first made its debut at ski resorts, the solutions and barriers to progress differ dramatically around the globe: some places embraced riders right off the bat, while some required arcane tests administered by ski instructors who never rode themselves. But no matter what they faced when they rolled up to the lifts, every snowboarder was there to push the sport farther.
“What I have learned in Paris is that there is no silver bullet solution to limiting our warming to no more than two degrees,” says Bleiler. “It’s more like ‘silver buckshot,’ meaning that we will have to divide the task up among a wide array of existing partial fixes that add up to a whole solution—which is why leadership in every sector, and at every level, is necessary for change.”
That’s why activists like Bleiler are encouraged that there is no single solve for climate change: the goal of radically reducing carbon emissions is shared, but way we get there will be up to each individual and region to determine. The Paris Deal boils down to a technocratic document that would make even the most committed policy wonk glaze over. But making it come alive in the real world depends on the DIY ethos that every dedicated snowboarder knows is at the core of our culture.
Some of the Protect Our Winters Riders Alliance crew in Washington, DC, this fall advocating for policies that reduce fossil fuel emissions. Photo: Protect Our Winters
Some of the Protect Our Winters Riders Alliance crew in Washington, DC, this fall advocating for policies that reduce fossil fuel emissions. Photo: Protect Our Winters
And Yeah, You Can Get Involved Too
In the US, winter tourism is a 66 billion dollar industry. That’s some serious weight in terms of carbon reductions and policy influence. Getting such a large group of companies, brands and industries to collaborate, however, will take a concerted and coordinated effort from some 23 million wintersports enthusiasts that power the 66 billion dollar giant. The good news is there’s already a lot of progress.
Hopefully you’ve heard about Protect Our Winters (POW), the non-profit founded by big mountain pioneer Jeremy Jones. POW started with grassroots awareness, and has grown to include education and activism from the local to national levels, recently garnering kudos from Congress for helping nudge the state of Utah toward accepting President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. In pretty much every mountainous region they’ve got organizers working on municipal levels to push progress on carbon reduction forward, making POW the first stop for participation.
“Not everyone is passionate about the same things, so the point is to just get involved and activate where you feel drawn, interested, curious or passionate,” says Bleiler. “There is a lot that needs to be done at every level, so we all need to get involved and stand up and either start implementing those changes where you can, or rally people around creating the demand for it.”
Other organizations are getting in the mix, also. The Climate Reality Project’s I Am Pro Snow program is building a coalition of 20 or more towns, business and ski resorts that are committing to transitioning to 100-percent renewable energy by 2030. It only makes sense that an industry dependent on consistently cold temperatures, and so vulnerable to the effects of climate change, would be leading the way nationally, but as a group, we’re still short on long-term vision and commitment. I’m not above that short-term memory loss. As I write this, we’re just a degree off the warmest Vermont December on record, the latest uptick in a warming trend that’s seen Burlington’s average temperature rise about three degrees since 1915.
If the state were inundated by snow mercury-busting cold like last year, I might just be distracted. But I just got back from the COP21 also, and what I picked up there is an inspiration for action, and sense of global unity and urgency around climate change that can’t be easily shaken.
So enjoy the pow, but let it also be a reminder of the just what’s at stake here. It’s a privilege to play outdoors, and it’s also a call to protect the most precious resource of all. Paris delivered a way forward, but it’s going to take everyone, everywhere, doing their part to pull it off. Or as Bleiler summed up the Paris Deal: “We basically have ten years to work together as a global community in order to preserve not just our winters, but an environment that makes living on planet earth inhabitable for human beings.”


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Patagonia introduces world's first neoprene-free wetsuit line | Transworld Business


VENTURA, California. (November, 16 2015) – Patagonia will introduce the world’s first neoprene-free, wetsuits made with plant-based material for Fall 2016 – a groundbreaking innovation that doubles down on the company’s initial entry into natural rubber last year with another industry first and expands Patagonia’s Yulex offering from two to 21 wetsuits for men, women and kids.


The entire line of Patagonia’s new, high performance full wetsuits are made with a natural rubber developed by Patagonia’s partners at Yulex and Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) certified by the Rainforest Alliance.
“Surfers and wetsuit manufacturers – including Patagonia – have relied on neoprene for years, despite the fact that it’s a non-renewable, petroleum-based material with an energy-intensive manufacturing process,” said Hub Hubbard Product Line Manager, Wetsuits. “Neoprene is nasty stuff, but for a long time we had no alternative. Through our partnership with Yulex we’ve invested in a plant-based game-changer and built it into our entire wetsuit line – saying goodbye to neoprene forever.”
By using natural rubber in the suits we are reducing the CO2 emissions required to produce traditional neoprene suits by up to 80 percent.
The new, neoprene-free Yulex® wetsuits perform better than Patagonia’s traditional neoprene wetsuits and they’re extremely durable. By using natural rubber in the suits we are reducing the CO2 emissions required to produce traditional neoprene suits by up to 80 percent. The FSC certified rubber is blended with 15 percent neoprene-free synthetic rubber for the benefits of increased ozone and UV resistance to meet Patagonia’s rigorous demands for durability and strength.
The new plant-based material pioneered by Yulex is sourced from a hevea plantation that is independently certified to the FSC standard by the Rainforest Alliance, ensuring that products are produced using environmentally responsible practices.
As with their previous work, Patagonia and Yulex will again share this groundbreaking innovation with other companies, hoping to create a shift toward cleaner and better materials throughout the surf industry. Patagonia’s blog post about the dirty impacts of neoprene published in 2008, the year we started manufacturing wetsuits, led to our collaboration with Yulex on a plant-based rubber that met our performance requirements. It’s available here.
“Yulex could not have found a better partner in Patagonia to champion this breakthrough for the surf industry. The collaboration between our companies has been an example of how sustainable products can be brought to customers without sacrificing performance and cost competitiveness,” commented Jeff Martin Founder & CEO of Yulex Corporation.  Patagonia has an exemplary business model which Yulex that others continue to embrace.
Patagonia’s 2016 wetsuit line has new fast-drying thermal linings and a floating front zip design as well as back zips. The new and exclusive inverted microgrid linings dry faster than ever and create lighter suits while maintaining excellent warmth. The Floating Front-Zip increases the wetsuit lifespan and features an asymmetrical flap for better stretch, seal and mobility. Unlike other designs, the zipper is replaceable. Featuring wetsuits rated for six different temperature levels, Patagonia’s collection can accommodate water temperatures from 75 degrees down to 32 degrees.
The new wetsuit line will debut globally in Australia in March of 2016 with six fullsuits. All 21 fullsuit styles will be available in July 2016 in North America, Europe, and Japan.
Patagonia Wetsuits are available for purchase at Patagonia retail stores, partner stores and at
About Patagonia
Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia is an outdoor company based in Ventura, California. A certified B-Corporation, Patagonia’s mission is to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. The company is recognized internationally for its commitment to authentic product quality and environmental activism, contributing over $76 million in grants and in-kind donations to date.

Monday, November 9, 2015

CV Optical Launches Aspire Eyewear

ClearVision Optical, global distributor of nearly a dozen
eyewear brands sold in 40 countries worldwide, announced the launch of Aspire Eyewear—a new brand that offers a “barely there” fit and feel with optical and sunglasses frames that are lighter, thinner, stronger, and more pliable than anything previously launched in this market. Aspire Eyewear is created with SDN-4, a specially designed nylon material proprietary to the brand. Cutting-edge design for the label was made possible through the use of advanced 3-D printing capabilities—reducing prototype lead time from two months to 20 minutes in some cases, which allows for design responsiveness to eyewear trends in each moment.

“There is a lot of interest these days in wearable technology,” said Peter Friedfeld, Executive Vice President, ClearVision Optical. “But from a practical standpoint, the core issues related to eyewear for consumers remain design and wearability. Most people wear their glasses every day, all day. And the pair they choose to wear in many ways comes to define their personality. We felt that the average eyewear frame today was bulky and not up to the aesthetic and performance standards of other accessories that consumers use daily. We invested in developing the SDN-4 technology and advanced 3-D printing capabilities so that we could change that and bring a product to market that 'aspires' to keep up with today's consumer.”

New material and technology leads to new design capability: Designed for the manufacture of extremely lightweight eyewear with exceptional thinness, the hypoallergenic SDN-4 material also offers shape memory, is heat resistant, and will not fade in UV exposure. Using customized SDN-4 sheet material, Aspire frames are not injected, but created with Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machinery to produce unique shapes and color possibilities. Aspire Eyewear also features a proprietary anti-slip nose pad system that does not leave a mark on the wearer, and a revolutionary seamless hinge, eliminating the need to replace screws in eyewear.

This philosophy of aspiring to transcend is integrated by the label beyond its use of advanced technologies. The question Aspire Eyewear branding asks the eyeglass wearer is: “Who Do You Aspire To Be?” That message is carefully articulated in personality-driven product designed for both men and women. The brand referenced popular trends, classic motifs, and advanced architectural aesthetics to appeal to different personality types when designing its initial collection of 12 styles for men and women, as well as three sunglasses styles. Each of the 36 frames and 5 temple designs in the collection are detachable, giving the wearer the opportunity to further personalize their own eyewear. The Aspire Eyewear logo is placed subtly inside the frame of each pair of glasses, because the label feels it shares creative responsibility with the wearer. The inspiration is that, together, both the frame and the wearer bond to reflect the special qualities required to “aspire” to transcend in a new generation.
About Aspire
Launched in 2015, Aspire Eyewear is a new brand from ClearVision Optical. The brand introduced eyewear frames that are 50 percent lighter and thinner than anything introduced to the eyewear industry before it, offering consumers a “barely there” fit and feel. This next generation frame was made possible through the use of a proprietary SDN-4 technology and advanced 3-D printing capabilities. The philosophy behind the branding for this label is based on the question: “Who Do You Aspire To Be?” This message is carefully articulated in its personality-driven design for both men and women. The brand references popular trends, classic motifs, and advanced architectural aesthetics to express different personality types in its collection.

About ClearVision Optical
Founded in 1949, ClearVision Optical is an award-winning leader in the optical industry, designing and distributing eyewear and sunwear for top brands such as Aspire Eyewear, BCBGMAXAZRIA, Cole Haan, Ellen Tracy, IZOD, Marc Ecko Cut & Sew, Op, and Jessica McClintock. ClearVision‟s house brands include ClearVision Collection, Junction City, PuriTi, DuraHinge, and Dilli Dalli pediatric eyewear. A privately held company, ClearVision is headquartered in Hauppauge, NY, ClearVision‟s collections are distributed throughout North America and 40 countries.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Kicker Tool: Build Better Jumps by DMOS Collective, Inc.

The Kicker Tool™ is the ultimate terrain-building snow shovel for ski and snowboard athletes: purpose-designed, rugged, and packable.

Check it out on Kickstarter!

A New Breed of Tools.

The concept of the shovel has existed for thousands of years. We're DMOS Collective and we've spent the last year completely re-designing shovels for skiers and snowboarders. We've pulled in some friends along the way: Travis RiceTim DurtschiZeppelin ZeeripBlaine Gallivan, and Andrew Burns to name a few. Together, we've dreamed big and designed the ultimate terrain building tool: The Kicker Tool™.
The idea is simple: the tools needed to build snow-based jumps have not kept up with the rapid progression of snowboarding or freeskiing. Traditional avalanche shovels don’t provide enough shovel leverage or grooming essentials and the shovels and rakes you might buy at a hardware store aren’t collapsible, lightweight, or designed for extreme temperatures. DMOS was born to satisfy the need for pro-quality, purpose-built, rugged durable tools to build a better jump.
The Kicker Tool™ is the ultimate terrain-building tool for skiers, snowboarders and groms looking to get creative, go big, and have fun. Built to last with aircraft quality aluminum alloy throughout the body of the shovel, the Kicker Tool ™ comes with a purpose built shovel head that efficiently moves, packs and rakes large amounts of snow to build and sculpt the perfect jump.
The Kicker Tool™ isn't your everyday shovel - we've dreamed big and designed a bomber snow moving, jump building machine. 

Durable Materials, Built-to-Last Design. 

At nearly twice the thickness of an avalanche shovel, this shovel won't give you grief.
  • Shovel Head: 2.5 mm aircraft quality 6061 aluminum alloy (this sucker won’t bend an inch)
  • Telescoping Tubular Shaft: 1.6 mm aircraft quality 6061 aluminum alloy
  • Stress tested in laboratory and the field conditions in temps ranging from -40 to 110 degrees F

Superior Snow Sculpting.

Admit it — your avy shovel doesn't cut it. Literally. A serrated edge along the bottom lip of the Kicker Tool™ levels unwanted bumps and breaks up crud. The precision-machined teeth are sharp enough to cut snow but not your pack.
More Info on Kickstarter!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Drink beer, eat ice cream, help climate |

New Belgium Brewing Co. and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream have team to make beer-flavored ice cream and ice cream-flavored beer. A portion of the profits will go toward Protect Our Winters, a local nonprofit."

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Partnership Aims to Raise Awareness of Climate Change and Unite the Winter Sports Community in the State of Utah

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Ski Utah, a membership organization representing Utah’s 14 alpine ski resorts, and Protect Our Winters (POW) are proud to announce a partnership with the mission of raising awareness of climate change and uniting the winter sports community in the state of Utah.
Protect Our Winters is the environmental axis of the global winter sports community, powered by its goal of reducing the effect climate change is imposing on our local sports and economies. Ski Utah is dedicated to promoting the ski and snowboard industry in the great state of Utah. The state is famous for its world-class resorts including Alta, Beaver Mountain, Brian Head Resort, Brighton Resort, Cherry Peak Resort, Deer Valley Resort, Eagle Point Resort, Nordic Valley Resort, Park City, Powder Mountain, Snowbasin Resort, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort and Sundance Resort as well as having The Greatest Snow on Earth®. Together POW, Ski Utah and these renowned resorts can impact the entire community and industry with incredible success.
To show Ski Utah’s immediate commitment to POW, CEO/President of Ski Utah, Nathan Rafferty, sent a letter to Governor Herbert asking for his public support of the EPA Clean Power Plan and to urge him to submit an on-time strategy to achieve the targets set forth in the Clean Power Plan. “As a leading advocate for one of Utah’s greatest assets, The Greatest Snow on Earth, and its $1.2 billion-dollar winter tourism industry, it is a natural fit for Ski Utah to partner with POW,” says Rafferty. “POW has done an excellent job representing the global snowsports community in the fight against climate change. We look forward to supporting POW’s mission and raising further climate change awareness here in Utah.”
“We’re honored to be partnering with Ski Utah,” says Executive Director of Protect Our Winters, Chris Steinkamp, “With so much at stake and with so many POW members and athletes living in Utah, this partnership will only accelerate our efforts to unite Utah’s winter recreation community around environmental responsibility and climate action this year.”
Moving forward, Ski Utah will encourage snowsports participants to join POW’s efforts through print, digital and social campaigns. In an effort to raise local and national awareness around the cause, Ski Utah, Protect Our Winters and Discrete with efforts from Alta and Snowbird will be hosting the first ‘POW Day’ on Jan. 13, 2016. According to NOAA, Jan. 13 statistically has the highest percentage for snowfall in the Wasatch over any other day of the year. On this day Ski Utah will be encouraging skiers and riders to carpool, take UTA or ride-share to help lower CO2 emissions, reduce traffic congestion and increase overall awareness around environmental accountability.
To stay up-to-date and learn useful POW tips on how to help foster climate action in Utah, subscribe to Ski Utah’s newsletter, here.
For more information on all the resort’s sustainability efforts, check out keep-utah-cool.
To get involved with Protect Our Winters, visit www.protectourwinters. org.
About Ski Utah
Ski Utah is a membership association representing Utah’s $1.2 billion dollar wintersports industry, including 14 alpine ski resorts and a membership of over 250 industry partners. The organization has been creating brand awareness of and demand for the Utah wintersports product since its inception in 1978. Ski Utah’s primary functions are concentrated in marketing, public policy and public relations. Information about Ski Utah and its members can be found at, on Twitter @SkiUtah and on Facebook at