Created: 30 October 2020

The hand built, custom crafted Winterstick line up shines below the vintage Winterstick classics of the 1980s.
Photo: Courtesy of Winterstick.

Winterstick Snowboards has a long legacy in the history of snowboarding. In the mid-1970s before snowboarding became mainstream or was much more than a kids’ toy, Dimitrije Milovich dropped out of Cornell University, moved to Utah, and started Winterstick. This was 5 years before Jake Burton Carpenter launched Burton Snowboards, making Winterstick the first snowboard company in history.

In the nearly 50 years since its inception, Winterstick and snowboarding have weathered my changes, but the dedication to building perfectly crafted boards that Dimitrije fostered is still at the heart of Winterstick. Today, Winterstick has returned to its roots of making custom-built snowboards for every rider on the mountain swapping its Utah home for a Maine mountain factory at the base of Sugarloaf. Winterstick hand presses every board in Maine, contrary to the industry trend of outsourcing to other countries.

“Making a handmade snowboard is like making a panini with multiple layers of materials and epoxy,” Rob Lu, Winterstick’s Head Engineer, and President explains, “big companies make molds overseas but since we’re not limited by a one-size-fits-most molds or size runs we can change our press for every single board we do.”

Winterstick's head engineer and president, Rob Lu, doing a little backcountry research and board testing.

Lu, who spent six years working on nuclear submarines before landing his dream job at Winterstick, knows the ins and outs of hand-crafted snowboards and takes pride in knowing that Winterstick can offer every rider the board of their dreams. Literally. “We can build boards from cocktail napkin sketches or old specs from boards no longer in production.” Rob says, “It’s fun to see people’s dreams come through and build them into a reality that they love to ride.”

Where dreams are made. The Winterstick factory in Sugarloaf, ME. 

Most customers aren’t sending in napkin doodles thanks to Winterstick’s Demo to Build Program which allows riders to demo any of Winterstick’s stock boards anywhere in the world. The way it works is, Winterstick sends a customer boards to test, and then Rob and his team work with them to tweak the flex, sidecut, shape, etc. based on their feedback creating a custom board suited for each customer's specific needs. Which is essentially what Winterstick has been doing for their pro and paralympic athletes from the beginning.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and Sugarloaf hometown hero, Seth Wescott, is one of the owners of Winterstick and has been instrumental in the drive to offer all riders a board that works for their needs. At 6’1 with size 11 feet, Wescott spent his competitive snowboarding career squeezing his feet into smaller boots to reduce toe-drag on the one-size-fits-all snowboards of his time. Thanks to collaborating with riders like Wescott, Winterstick now offers all their boards in any width, meaning that toe-drag is a thing of the past. Lu and Seth also collaborated to make the Winterstick Wescott pro model which is one of their top-selling boards and has landed Seth on top of the podium two years running at the Legendary Banked Slalom at Mt. Baker, WA.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and one of Winterstick's owners, Seth Wescott maximizing the banks and product testing his Wescott Pro Model.

Along with Wescott, Winterstick is proud to be creating boards for para-athletes like Noah Elliott. “We’re able to make fine-tuned boards for the US Paralympic Team to enable them to put as much power to the ground based on their unique set of needs.” Lu said, “It’s been so fun and so rewarding to work with para-athletes to truly customize their experience and give them exactly what they need.”

“The opportunities are endless, which is what I love about my job” Lu continues, “USASA coaches come to us, with specific needs for their athletes, and we work with them to design a board for the way they ride. Looking at a rider’s video and getting feedback from the rider and the coach.”

Endless opportunities are a welcome attitude in the uncertain times of COVID-19 and Winterstick is poised and ready to deliver. Every board they make can be made into a splitboard so whether you’re riding lifts or skinning up Rob Lu and the Winterstick team are ready to make snowboard dreams become a reality.

Click here to learn more about Winterstick and shop their entire collection here.

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