BY KRISTEN DOBROTH
While many business ideas come with a big vision, lately, Weston Snowboards has been thinking small — tiny, in fact.
Weston’s new tiny home is replacing the space formerly occupied by the local snowboard company, as owners Leo Tsuo and Mason Davey are in the midst of creating a new — and mobile — showroom that will be based in the Vail Valley, while also spreading the company’s vision of backcountry education and high quality boards across the state and country.
Weston Snowboards is no stranger to the more unconventional business path. The locally-based company’s longtime spot on the corner of Main Street in Minturn offered a bit of insight into Weston’s unique persona, with a snowcat parked in the lot. And, while Weston has steadily gained attention for their snowboards over the years, the company’s focus on splitboards as a staple of their brand has set them apart as a respected pioneer in the industry of backcountry snowboard travel.
The mobile vision for Weston’s future came from this same out-of-the-box thinking; as Tsuo and Davey spent time on a roadtrip, the pair realized the potential to introduce their line of snowboards and splitboards to a wider market. However, as they traveled through different ski towns and met with local ski and snowboard shops, they decided to get involved with the local snowboarding and backcountry scene — not compete with it.
“We realized as we were going through other ski towns that we didn’t want to encroach on the local snowboarding shops,” Davey said. “We wanted to introduce our brand to other places, but we wanted to do that through working with the local shops and supporting the local avalanche forecast centers and mountain rescue teams.”
Weston will be doing just that with their mobile showroom, a tiny house on wheels that has been under construction on Minturn’s Main Street for the past few months. Davey explained that the new direction allows Weston to have the freedom to bring their boards and backcountry mission to more areas, while also allowing them to keep a home base locally.
“We saw this as a cost effective way to stay in town and build our business,” he said. “We’re invested in staying here and supporting the community; Minturn has always been Weston’s home.”
The design for the tiny home on wheels is environmentally conscious, as well. Using largely recycled and repurposed materials, pine beetle kill is integrated into much of the exterior and interior of the design as a nod to the original boards put out by the company, which were made from the wood and as a means to clear out local deadfall.
The insulation of the mobile show room is comprised of upcycled denim, and the flooring came from a strategic ski trade with a local contractor who had some extra material.
SPREADING BOARDS AND KNOWLEDGE
While Weston’s tiny home will be a staple on Minturn’s Main Street, the mobile show room will be making the rounds throughout Colorado and spending time in other ski towns and the Front Range, with a particular focus on fostering their relationship with Summit County this winter. Along with bringing more of their products to the area to sell, the company will be teaming up with local ski shops to promote avalanche awareness via screenings of educational movies, like “Know Before You Go” — a backcountry-awareness video put together by ski and snowboarding professionals and industry leaders.
The idea to impart customers with both the tools and the knowledge for the backcountry fosters a central part of Weston’s philosophy, as the company’s goal is to have lifelong customers enjoying the mountains via their boards — not statistics. The mobile showroom will go hand in hand with that idea by both increasing the presence of Weston’s boards and facilitating backcountry education via splitboard meet ups.
“We’re really new to a lot of people outside our area, both as a company and sport (splitboarding),” Davey said. “A lot of people tell us they don’t really know where to start once they buy the board, and helping in the educational process especially though splitboard meet ups has been great.”
While hitting the road will allow Weston to spread their mission of backcountry education and teach other resort markets about their product, it should foster some pretty fantastic demo opportunities for potential buyers as well.
“We had an idea to bring the tiny home up to the top of Loveland Pass,” Davey said. “What better way to try out one of our boards than to demo one of our splitboards on the pass?”
While the new showroom will be visible locally, keep an eye out for Weston’s tiny home — especially as the flakes begin to fall — throughout the state.
For more information about Weston Snowboard’s backcountry products, visitwestonsnowboards.com.