Snowboarding has a pretty rich history when it comes to snowboard brands. From pioneering snowboard companies to hipster garage startups.
Of course, some have been more successful than others.
In this article, I’ll go through the worst snowboard brands of all time. Strap in, it’s going to get messy!
Disclaimer: The brands on this list are the ones with the most negative press. However, everything is subjective. Some riders will have had wonderful experiences with brands, despite their reputation.
1. Lamar Snowboards
Lamar Snowboards was founded in the late 1980s.
It was the brainchild of pro snowboarder Mike Ranquet and Tom Sims, who also started Sims Snowboards. In the early days of the company, Lamar became quite popular.
Unfortunately they soon ran into issues when trying to establish itself as a leading brand in the industry.
Riders who bought Lamar snowboards often encountered quality and performance issues. Many snowboarders considered Lamar snowboards’ craftsmanship, durability, and performance to fall a long way short of the higher-end brands.
These issues often came from subpar construction techniques and materials. Some rider’s reported their edges splitting on the very first day!
Lamar Snowboards also found it challenging to keep up with the innovations of other brands. They didn’t seem to advance at the same rate as other snowboard companies, which is also what happened to Sims snowboards.
Over time, the perception of the brand became tarnished. This stemmed from the issues above, but Lamar also lacked in its marketing efforts. They were therefore left behind by the companies that were more switched on.
Having said all this, Lamar Snowboards still has a loyal customer base. The brand is known for its affordability and value for money, which makes the sport more accessible.
2. Avalanche Snowboards
Avalanche Snowboards is certainly one of the worst snowboard brands. It was launched in the late 1990’s. But so were a huge number of other brands, so why wasn’t Avalanche as successful?
The first reason is that Avalanche snowboards were inconsistent regarding quality.
Many riders felt that avalanche snowboards were not as reliable or as durable as their competitors. They also had a limited product range compared to other brands.
Their products focused mainly on entry-level boards and lower-priced models. This meant that it limited its market as it didn’t offer products for more advanced riders.
This excluded the die-hard snowboard fans – which is a huge mistake for any growing brand!
3. Silence Snowboards
Silence Snowboards was founded in the 1990’s by Trent Smith and B.K. Norman.
It was then bought by A-Sport Inc and became more prominent when it was purchased (along with Avalanche Snowboards) by investment firm KBEI / San Clemente Enterprises in 2001.
At first, it looked promising. They were being funded by a well-capitalized company with vast experience in promoting brands. They started off focusing on their products and their price.
The plan was to direct their efforts to the mainstream snowboarder, looking for a quality board at an affordable price.
The company put lots of money into marketing, but unfortunately, they didn’t sell as many boards as expected.
People considered Silent Snowboards to be mediocre, even at their affordable prices. At the time, you could spend a little bit more money and buy a snowboard with better quality and performance.
The company’s marketing efforts were also not as effective as they had hoped. This resulted in poor brand recognition and other snowboard brands staying way ahead of the curve. This lead to the slow (and silent) demise of Silence Snowboard.
Option was a Canadian snowboard brand that ran from the late nineties to the early 2000s.
During the early days, the brand was reputable, but it faced some challenges which affected its products.
Firstly, Option’s pro team was taken over by rival brand Endeavor. This had a significant effect on brand perception and marketing.
The next issue they faced was more troublesome. The brand’s manufacturing capacity took a major hit when the factory closed down. This had a knock-on effect when supplying their products.
Industry experts suggest the brand spent too much money on gimmicky features – rather than functional tech.
All these factors combined resulting in a decline in popularity during the early 2000’s.
Option’s difficulties caused massive financial problems, and it struggled to compete in the now highly competitive snowboard market. Unfortunately, option snowboards soon stopped operating. Another relic in snowboarding folklore.
5. Morrow Snowboards
Another of the worst snowboard brands is Morrow Snowboards.
But this wasn’t always the case.
Morrow was founded in 1989 by enthusiastic 19-year old Rob Morrow, alongside his cousin Neil Morrow. The youngsters spent hours researching manufacturing methods. And it worked! Some of their first boards were pretty ground breaking (at the time).
They used new materials, new pressing techniques and even new shapes. They soon grew from 2 employees to over 200, sizing up to a huge snowboarding factory!
Sadly, this is where the story changes.
They soon struggled with scaling and marketing. They succumbed to a buyout by the K2 corporation and the quality of their products dive-bombed.
Rider’s soon complained of limp, lifeless boards with shoddy manufacturing. And just like that, a once great brand, was dead.
So Which Brands Should You Choose?
These are just a few of “the worst snowboard brands of all time”.
But many of the issues these brands faced were beyond their control.
While these brands have faced criticism, some riders found value in their products. Many of us even started our snowboarding careers on these boards (myself included) and will hold them forever in our memories.
Success in the snowboard industry is ultimately affected by timing, market trends, innovation, and brands perception. Sadly, not all brands will survive.
But what do you think?
Have I missed any infamous brands?
Let me know in the comments.