MADE IN NEVADA: Smokin Snowboards

Published: Jan. 23, 2018 at 3:45 PM PST
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Did you know one of the snowboard makers recognized as best in the world is in Northern Nevada? Online professional magazines consistently rank

at the top.

The snowboard making company has earned awards like "best park board."

The company started because of one man who moved from the east coast to snowboard.

"I moved out to Lake Tahoe in 1990. I was one of the first pro riders to move out west and that's what got me into snowboarding," said President and CEO of Smokin Snowboards Jay Quintin.

His passion for sliding down the mountain turned into an obsession to make the best snowboard possible. His dream became a reality when he started his company 23 years ago in his garage and now he's selling boards in 23 countries.

If you walk into Smokin Snowboards today at 895 Marietta Way in Sparks, you'll see workers using extreme focus to craft personalized boards.

Smokin Snowbords uses a proprietary blend of genetically-altered wood developed over the past two decades. Jay would reveal that at least one wood used to make his boards comes from the Pacific Northwest.

"It's really flexible. It's really strong. It's really light," Jay said. "We need to cut it up into the shape of the board so we take it into our CNC room, which is the brains of our operation. It's all computer controlled."

Programmed computers give the boards a precise cut.

"If you look close, it's thin in the tip and tail of the board, and then it gets a little bit thicker in the middle," said Jay as he held one of the freshly cut boards in his hands.

One of the hardest jobs in the board-making process is to shape the edges, because they have a huge impact on how it cuts through snow and ice down a mountain, but he claims one of his workers is ranked as one of the very best in the world.

Jay says most of his competitors use a high-quality epoxy, which costs $3 a jar. Jay says his epoxy is even better and costs about $6 a jar. This is one of the reasons he says his boards have a 3-year warranty. He says most of his competitors give their customers a one-year warranty.

The wooden body of the board is layered with fiberglass, epoxy, and rubber strips to give the board a strong flexible structure that can cushion the riders' legs as he or she glides through the snow.

Another special feature on select Smokin Snowboards is hemp fibers in the board's structure. They're stretched into an x shape at each end of the board. "Helps give more snap and power to the edge from the binding and it's going to give you a little more spring and snappiness in the board. This is available on all our high-end models," Jay said.

Finally, the board is put into a press. It puts 10,000 pounds of pressure on the board for at least 37 minutes and it's heated to a high temperature of 175 degrees Fahrenheit to help all the materials come together.

Jay says his employees produce about 15 snowboards a day seven days a week.