Co-founders of SnoPlanks James Nicol and Ryan Holmes say they’ve been blown away by the support they’ve received from the Bend community, especially leading up to their win at the Bend Venture Conference. The pair’s poetic pitch for their startup earned them the $15,000 Bendbroadband Early Stage Award.

To say thank you, SnoPlanks is offering a 25% discount on a their handmade bamboo snowboards or skis to anyone with a Bend zip code. The Give-Back-to-Bend promo begins Nov. 1 and runs through Thanksgiving. “The BVC really validated that we not only have a great product, but that the community believes that we could be successful in the long term,” Holmes says.

Branded!
Branded!

Nicol adds they wanted to find a way to express their gratitude, and that giving back to the community is a core company value. “This is what we can do right now,” he says. So if you’ve been contemplating buying a new board and  you live in our fair city, jump on it.

Meanwhile, Nicol and Holmes report they’ve already put their BVC prize to good use. They ordered a new and much more efficient snowboard press, the machine that binds the bamboo together with the core and base. Their current machine requires four hours to press a board. They estimate the new one will cut that process down to 15 minutes. “It will let us ramp up to meet demand,” Nicol says. “It will automate some of the process, though every step still involves working with our hands.”

Making SnoPlanks by hand.
Making SnoPlanks by hand.

Holmes added that the BVC money is “going such a long way to help us build out our brand.” In addition to the new equipment, the startup is using the funds for marketing. SnoPlanks has primarily grown organically. They anticipate that this winter could be a milestone as they laser in on getting the word out about their products beyond Bend. “Getting exposure in reputable environments is critical,” Holmes says.

They’re planning a trip to the SIA trade show in January. They’ve already delivered 160 boards to Deschutes Brewery for its Red Chair promotions. And they have a professional team ready to ride. Now, we just need some snow!

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of StartupBend.com, is passionate about startups, entrepreneurship and Bend. In addition to writing this blog, she creates content and manages content projects for global financial companies, tech firms and startups. She began her career as a newspaper journalist and later worked as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in WSJ.com, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at kellykearsley.contently.com or kellykearsley.com.

You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].
Kelly Kearsley