Founded in Rupert, Vt., a town of 1,000, Powderjet has been producing old-school style boards that have established a loyal following well beyond New England.
A carpenter by trade, Jesse Loomis, 41, found his calling in 2008 when he took a spin on the first board he’d ever owned and found the old board could still perform in the deep snow. He was looking for a board that could maneuver through the tight woods of Vermont and float through deep snow: that early design had it.
“I realized I could tie all those qualities into one board and it actually worked,” he says. “My mindset was to create the cleanest, simplest snowboard with as small an environmental footprint as I could manage,” he says.
Powderjet boards are shaped with FSC certified maple and poplar wood sourced from the United States and use an environmentally-friendly resin. The retro shape has a surfboard-like performance for powder days.
“This isn’t about death defying acts,” he says. “We’re about having fun in the snow.”
It’s an appeal that has attracted many. Team riders include Lukas Huffman, Mikey LeBlanc and Hisanori Katsuyama. Customers send Loomis pictures and videos of Powderjet boards in the Alps, Japan and the woods of New England. Powderjet landed on the cover of Transworld Snowboarding in 2013. Later that year, Loomis relocated Powderjet’s production from Vermont to York, Me., to share space with a friend’s surfboard company.
Powderjet customers can design their own boards on the website, selecting from 12 tail profiles and 13 tip profiles to create a custom ride. If you’re itching to get your hands on a jigsaw, you can travel to the York, Me., workshop for a weekend of instruction from Loomis, leaving at the end with a board you designed and shaped.
“They’re basically giant snowboard nerd-out sessions,” he says of the weekend shaping classes.
Loomis is presently designing a trailer system to take his workshop on the road as part of his “Speed of Sawdust Tour.” Starting in February, he’ll drive from Maine to Steamboat Springs, Jackson Hole and more, leading board-shaping workshops and hopefully getting more snowboarders to try a Powderjet.
“People were coming from all over the country to come to these workshops,” he says. “It’s time we take the shop to them.” Cost: $550-600. www.powderjetscom