The Valley's Homegrown Snowboard Brand Ditches Brick and Mortar for a Rolling Retail Experience
As Minturn’s homegrown snowboard brand prepares to go big, it’s also going small—via a 300-square-foot tiny home repurposed as a mobile Weston store that represents both a departure and a new arrival in the ski industry retail scene in the Vail Valley, Summit County, and beyond. It’s also an integral element of realizing what co-owner Mason Davey describes as his longtime dream of taking Weston’s award-winning snowboards—feted by magazines like Transworld Snowboarding and Backcountry as best-in-class products—directly to the people.
"We can’t just sit in Minturn and expect snowboarders to find us, we have to go out to them.” – Mason Davey, Weston Snowboards co-founder
The idea was born not long after Davey and co-owner Leo Tsuo purchased the business from founder Barry Clark (who relocated to California) and strategized about how to grow the brand beyond the venerable railroad town of Minturn. They knew they’d need to move the business to Denver, but they wanted to maintain a presence in the Valley. So they plowed the rent they would have paid on Weston’s leased birthplace into the buildout of a mobile store they could park at the base of ski areas where snowboarders hang out, at backcountry riding festivals or other events, or idle in Davey’s Minturn driveway.
“We realized we had to get our showroom on wheels,” he says. “Really not only to bring our boards out to the people where they are doing their riding but also to realize our dreams. Traveling ski area to ski area, it’s a dream come true.
“To get all these amazing reviews, we can’t just sit in Minturn and expect snowboarders to find us,” adds Davey. “We have to go out to them.”
Hence the tiny home.
With it, the Weston crew now can hit the road like evangelists, spreading the good word about riding backcountry powder and their environmentally friendly production methods of making their boards, a green approach that shaped the design of their new mobile showroom as well.
“Right off the bat our initial boards started with beetle kill pine, so this was going to be part of the build,” says Davey. “The exterior is beetle kill, the interior is beetle kill, the ceiling is tongue and groove beetle kill; it was the first material that was part of our thought process.”
The rest of the structure takes a similar approach, with eco-friendly materials used throughout, including shredded blue jeans as insula-tion; a portable solar array; shingles of recycled cardboard, asphalt, and paper; maple flooring leftovers (which a builder traded for Weston skis); and a fire box for a high-efficiency wood stove created from old snowboard molds Davey found in his garage.
With their new mobile tiny home showroom, a distribution deal with REI (which is carrying Weston’s boards online and in its Denver flagship, where the tiny home will make house calls), a Denver headquarters office (in the same building as ski maker Icelantic), and plans for another tiny home in the works, Davey and his team have stumbled on a small idea with big potential. Whether or not the Weston tiny home showroom will revolutionize retail remains to be seen, but right now there’s no doubt that Minturn’s homegrown snowboard manufacturer is going places.