Finding their “Niche” in snowboarding

niche snowboards

Niche snowboards is leading the way to eco-friendliness in the traditionally resource draining snowboard industry.  Their use of materials like “Snappy Sap” bio resin, “HempHop” Stringers, recycled materials and sustainable wood cores are a few of their contributions to preserving the environment.  What does that all mean to you, the rider?  It means a lot of fun on a snappy, durable, responsibly built snowboard.

Niche is a new company, rider owned like so many of the core brands.  But they have a different take on snowboard manufacturing.  Niche focuses on respecting the environment, using non-toxic, sustainable and recycled materials to lessen the impact on not only the environment, but also on the people who make their boards.

So what is “Digi-Print”, “Snappy Sap”, “HempHop” and all that other stuff that creates Niche’s well…niche?

Digi-print Topsheet
Niche digitally prints directly onto their lacquer-free topsheet material.  It is thinner than traditional topsheets and less material means a lighter board.  Their printing process also cuts much of the material and energy waste associated with traditional alternate printing processes.

What is this Snappy Sap Bio Resin you speak of?
Snappy Sap abandons traditional, toxic, petroleum-based epoxies in favor of bio-renewable materials from the industrial waste streams of the paper pulp and bio-fuels industry. Not only does it reduce waste, eliminate harmful byproducts, and utilize sustainable bio-renewable material…but it also makes for a better ride.  Better elasticity provides more pop and spring and super adhesion properties make delaminating a problem of the past.  And it’s super durable!

Magma Fiber
If it sounds volcanic, that’s because it is.  Niche replaces standard fiberglass with basalt, a product of volcanic activity.  Any greenhouse gases resulting from the production of basalt were naturally released eons ago with the volcanic eruption and what is left is an inert material. There are no worries about a toxic reaction with water or air, magma is not combustible and it is easier to recycle than fiberglass. It is also more impact resistant and elastic than fiberglass, so it holds up better.  It has a greater strength to weight ratio so your ride just got lighter.  And if you do manage to chip your topsheet…never fear, basalt doesn’t absorb water so there is not danger of delamination.

HempHop Stringers
Here is where the stiffness and pop of your board are determined.  Stringers are typically made of Carbon or a different type of wood.  Carbon uses a lot of energy to process and it releases many pollutants when manufactured.  Hemp is super fast growing, and incredibly versatile.  It requires very little pesticides and no herbicides to grow.  Super strong and super light with amazing vibration dampening makes for a quieter ride,  a nice feature for those of us riding the “ice coast” snow.

Sustainable Wood Cores
The wood cores in Niche boards come form carefully managed forests and when trees are removed, new trees are planted.  They have stringent rules for their forest management.

Recycled materials
They use recycled, beeswax modified, base material, steel edges and ABS sidewalls

And the new addition of Wood Topsheets
These bamboo topsheets replace plastic and protected with a heating and cooling process that does not require the addition of lacquer or chemicals.

To reinforce their beliefs that they are on the right track, Niche’s all-mountain freestyle board, “the Story” was awarded the Eco Award for sustainable innovation and eco-responsibility in the snowsports hardware category by the leading international sports business network ISPO.

If you are looking for a fun, snappy, durable board and you want to do your part to preserve the environment and the health of those who hand build these awesome boards-look no further than Niche Snowboards….they’re where it’s at!

For more information about their manufacturing process here is a video from the GST factory in Austria where Niche boards are all made.  Neverbored is the only place you can find Niche Snowboards in RI.


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