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Cost And Value Of A Custom Snowboard


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I have seen a few posts lately talking about the true cost of an alpine snowboard or cost of material or cost of buying a custom snowboard so I would like to give a new or maybe just a different perspective of cost and value

I am a chef, a good chef if I may say so, I have been cooking for 32 years and I like to think I know what I’m doing, during the course of my career I have been doing numerous private dinners for people in their own house, the price for the dinner can be moderately expensive to extremely expensive depending on the menu and the ingredients,

regardless of the menu for me to go cook at someone’s house I need to make at least $300.00 (cash in my pocket) usually more but for less than $ 300.00 I won’t do it, it’s not worth it, I would rather stay home and play videogames with my son, some people might think that $300.00 is a lot or even too much money but that’s my fee, that pays for my time knowledge and experience

when we discuss the menu the host doesn’t know exactly how much money goes in my pocket or how much the ingredients cost, he or she knows what they are getting and what the total cost for the dinner is, if they need a server I call a friend and usually the server fee is $ 150.00 for the night (about 3 hours of work, suddenly $300.00 for the chef doesn’t sound like so much anymore) when people sit down for a couple of hours and enjoy their dinner they don’t know and they don’t think about what was involved to make it happen, they just know if they like it or not and a nice gourmet dinner takes a lot of planning and preparation not to mention that the ingredients I need are not readily available at the local supermarket around the corner so there is also some driving all over town involved

instead of hiring me they could order some party platters from Rubio’s but usually people that call me for dinner are not trying to have a buffet party but they want a sit-down gourmet dinner for their friends or business partners

they could also hire a chef from Mc Donald (usually a minimum wage high school kid on a part time job) to do the exact same menu I would do but I guarantee you the results won’t be the same, Mc Donald has been in business for 50 or 60 years so they obviously know what they are doing they just offer a different product then what I do

at the end of the dinner when it’s time to pay more often than not the host will tip me on top of what was already agreed as a final total and that’s because at that point they don’t think about the cost of the dinner but the value of the dinner, their guests were impressed and I made the host look good, they are happy and that’s all that counts, not how much dinner or the ingredients cost or how much goes in my pocket

By now you are probably wondering what all this has to do with alpine snowboarding, I’ll get there in a minute

Alpine snowboarding is a niche sport with a relatively small number of enthusiastic participants, there are not that many alpine snowboards manufacturer around and they are relatively small companies

Coiler = Bruce with the help of his wife

Donek = mostly Sean Martin and his family

Coda = Chad

Virus = I don’t know for sure but I know Frank is involved with every snowboard

Bomber = I know Fin doesn’t make snowboards but his product is the icing on the cake

there are more companies out there but I only mentioned people I had the pleasure to meet in person or exchange a few phone calls

I am grateful that we have these manufacturer (master chefs) with a passion for the sport and I’m glad that they offer an extensive selection of models, specs and materials (menu selection and ingredients) and they can even make a complete custom snowboard tailored to the individual rider (private gourmet dinner)

When I order a custom snowboard I don’t know how much the materials cost or how much the builder gets to keep I just know how much it’s going to cost me but as soon as I start riding it I forget about the cost and I think about the value while I have a big smile on my face riding down the mountain, I know a custom snowboard doesn’t make me a better rider but it sure makes me feel like one and I’m really happy to know my custom snowboard was not made by a minimum wage high school kid on a part time job

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Nice post dude. I agree with you 100%.

I work in an engineering environment and see how much it costs to design new products, make prototypes, complete testing and finally put something into production at quality level that our customers expect. In my line of work it takes thousands of people to make this all happen. The costs are huge.

In my case, I have chosen to do business with Sean and Fin because I can see how much drive and passion they have for what they do. They have small operations and the products we can purchase are a smoking deal compared to what I see in my line of work. The quality of their products are amazing considering their size. My guess is that Bruce, Frank, Chad and guys like Sigi all have the same passion for their gear.

I hope these guys are able to make a good living, but imagine they are not getting rich off making us cool alpine gear. If you accounted for all the design work, testing, materials, labor, packaging, handling.... etc, the final products are very reasonably priced.

The other area I really appreciate is the personal service and great customer support in the rare event there is a problem. That alone keeps me coming back.

Maybe one suggestion I would have is for all of us is to go out and build a board ourselves. We would realize how much time, skill, specialized equipment and grit it takes to build a board. I did this with surfboards 10 years ago and would never blink about paying the going price for a retail surfboard as I know the shapers and glassers are squeaking by on thin margins.

Will continue do business with Fin and Sean for alpine gear as long as my wallet allows. We should all support our little industry here and the custom gear makers while being thankful we can get high quality gear at reasonable prices.

Thanks again for your post and perspective CarvingChef.

Best regards, Tom

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As i sit here and look at my new NSR 182 Coiler with the new sidewinders, I think about how much I paid for it and you are right. I didn't care what it cost. I have bought from the best and I know that I have bought R&D, I have helped pay for the electricity in those shops and I have helped pay for some marketing. I know that I have bought quality and that I'm helping to support the niche industry.

And this post marks my emergence from groomer grommet into a real web carver.:1luvu:


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Excellent summary of the situation! What would happen to us if one of these guys had to drop out of the Alpine business? Are we seeing this right now with Catek? Who among us would step up and take over? We have another board builder kind of tinkering in alpine but we kind of dismiss Gromel. Why discourage him rather than welcome him?

Anyway... it seems most of our gear would be a good value at twice the price!

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That's a nice analogy, and if I could afford a premium catered gourmet meal for a few hundred bucks, I could certainly afford a custom board, new boots & binders for a couple grand.

As the reality of a blown head gasket sets in, it looks like another year of gear from last century.

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Hello from a fellow chef.

I agree with most of what you said. I strongly disagree with this,

they could also hire a chef from Mc Donald

There are no chefs in a Mcdonalds. :)

Many people have no idea what is needed to run a business.

I am often approached by people to offer a lower cost menu than I can afford to do. Technically I could just by cheaper product and cater to them but that's not what I do. I don't want to dumb down what I offer our guests. On the other side, I just recently had an inquiry on a dinner in which the guests wanted local beef tenderloin, wild mushrooms, artisanal cheeses, foraged wild produce, local duck etc. etc. catered, 150 guests off premise on a Sat. night during the height of our busy season. When they saw the price tag they backpedaled furiously to get less expensive foods.

Some people want high end for much less than it is worth. Some people know what it is worth and will pay for it.

Some people can afford to pay for high end but will not because they don't believe that it is worth it. Some people can't afford high end but know what it is worth and accept that they can't afford it.

One persons opinion

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Some people want high end for much less than it is worth. Some people know what it is worth and will pay for it.

Some people can afford to pay for high end but will not because they don't believe that it is worth it. Some people can't afford high end but know what it is worth and accept that they can't afford it.

Another aspect of this is people who know the worth AND can afford it but just choose to spend their $ in other ways. This is usually how people of modest means become wealthy.

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I'm no majician on the snow although I can tell the difference between a made-4-you item and made-for-everyone product....everyday I ride my Coiler, I love it more and more. I play with the angles and canting and I get something new. Yeah... I might not ride great all day but when I have 2-3 runs that feel ohhhhhhh so goooood.... I'll take that. The board surprises me all day long and I know I cant say that about stuff I've ridden before, regardless of where I'm at as a hardbooter...and that makes me even more excited for my next day on the snow.

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