In the winter of 2014, Adam Vindigni went through five snowboards—bashing, breaking or losing them. When he went to the manufacturers to inquire about a warranty, they refused to help him.
So the senior art student at the University of Vermont decided to make a dream he’s had since eighth grade into a reality: he started a snowboard company with four friends and called it Powe. The partners decided that not only would their boards be bulletproof, they would be made with an eye toward preserving the planet and emphasize sustainability in all parts of the brand.
Powe boards are made with materials all found in abundance: topsheets are made with hemp, sidewalls of bamboo and cores made with a blend of Northeastern poplar and maple. Bioresin epoxies hold the construction together. Vindigni claims the materials Powe uses are lighter, more durable and perform best in simple designs.
“We’re sticking with more traditional shapes because we feel like there’s no need to adjust the design of today’s boards,” he says.
Powe’s mission also includes several environmental initiatives. For every board sold, Powe will plant a poplar tree and send poplar seeds to the customer with the order. Last winter, Powe held its first Powe Mountain Mentors programs, where students from the Burlington YMCA traveled to Bolton Valley for lessons in forestry and mountain ecology. This winter marks the inaugural year of the Powe Mountain Project where the Powe team will head to Bolton Valley to clean up trash around the resort and compile data on the varieties of trash to create solutions.
This winter, Powe plans to release 32 boards of each model and 10 kids’ boards. The group also plans to build a press and begin producing limited edition boards with hand-painted graphics by Vindigni.
For most of the team of recent grads, Powe is still a passion project. Two are working for a moving company in Burlington, another works at an elementary school in Richmond, Vt., and another at the Magic Hat Brewery. “We’ve all got our side jobs for now. But when we get home from work it’s all about Powe,” Vindigni says. Cost: $399 and up. www.powesnowboards.com