News from 9,318' | Venture Snowboards Blog

News From 9,318' is a forum for Venture Snowboards to share company news and happenings. We'll post pics from recent backcountry trips, give you the skinny on our different board models, announce events and contests, tell tall tales, and connect with fellow Venture owners. We look forward to sharing the stoke with you...

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Spring Fling Party in Silverton - April 5th


Come celebrate the return of the unguided season at Silverton Mountain with the Venture Snowboards crew on April 5th!  We'll shred all day and then party all night at our annual Spring Fling party!  Drink specials, live music from The Johnny Kongo All-Star Show, and a raffle for some awesome prizes including a Zelix snowboard!  The party gets rocking at 7 pm at Silverton's Grand Imperial Hotel, 1219 Greene Street.  $4 cover, 21+ only.  Raffle to benefit the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.  We hope to see you there!


Venture Snowboards Spring Fling


Venture's new Shape Shack board, the Snowy Owl, was released last week.  Like every Shape Shack project, this limited edition splitboard is the fruit of a collaboration between a guest shaper and a guest artist. For the board shape, Venture worked with resident shaper Johan Olofsson.  For the Snowy Owl graphic, Venture commissioned original work from Washington State artist Shanna Duncan, who has created graphics for such notables as The Levitation Project, Queensryche and Fender Guitars. We caught up with Shanna to get an inside look at her inspiration, creative process, and involvement with this project. 

        Snowy Owl Sketch














VS:   Your marching orders were to create a graphic with an owl (per Johan Olofsson's request), but did you have other inspiration at work in creating the graphics for this snowboard? 

SD:  Being a Pacific Northwest native, I get a lot of inspiration just walking out of my house.  I live on the outskirts of a mountain and it's easy to immerse yourself in the beauty of this area.  When Klem gave me the idea of the owl, he just told me to "run with it."  That gave me a lot of room to work with and I just dove into the work.  After doing some research I started working on the graphics and came up with the artwork for this board.  It was a fun process and I'm really happy with the result.  If anyone is familiar with my work, it can get pretty dark, garish and downright gruesome.  The owl takes a pretty different approach.  I appreciate the beauty and movement of this bird.  I really like the simplicity of the color palette as well.  It made me think about the fact that I live in and absolutely love the Pacific Northwest. 

Snowy Owl - Full Graphic                 Snowy Owl


VS:  Do the graphics have some special significance for you?  What do you like most about them?

SD: Every piece of work I create has a special meaning to me.  When I do the graphics for a board, the best thing about it is knowing that that piece of work is going to go on an adventure with someone, somewhere really special.  That same train of thought applies to this owl.  When I'm working on another peice of artwork or doodling in a sketchbook, he'll be spreading his wings on some mountain with someone who really loves being in his or her own element.  I feel like that ties me to that moment in a way.  It's a pretty cool feeling.  And as an artist, it makes you even prouder of the work you created.  Someone relates to it as much as you do and is willing to take it with them on his/her own adventure. 


VS: Tell us a little about your background as an artist.   What's your favorite part of the creative process?

SD: I have been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil.  My father was the biggest influence in my pursuing a career as an artist.  I think that if he were alive today, he'd be very proud.  As for my creative process, it's pretty all over the map.  I get ideas from co-workers, family and friends.  Or I'll be drinking coffee and will get a random thought.  My favorite part is getting to the final product.  It's amazing to see an initial idea evolve into a body of work.  A lot like a science experiment with ink and paper.

VS: What are your thoughts on Venture Snowboards' Shape Shack?

SD: I think the Shape Shack is great.  Life is about changing and snowboarding is one of those sports that takes things to the next level.  Experimenting with shape, artwork and more keeps things interesting and the movement flowing within this industry.  I see great things coming out of the Shape Shack and I'm excited to see what Venture has in store for the future.

The Snowy Owl splitboard is available through select Venture dealers as well as Venture's online store.  Check it out here.  To learn more about Shanna and her art, visit her website:

Shanna Duncan Portrait














The Snowy Owk                                               

Venture’s Shape Shack Division releases the pinnacle board in powsurfing: Johan Olofsson’s Snowy Owl Splitsurfer. Olofsson’s limited edition, one-of-a-kind snowboard is handcrafted in Silverton, Colo. by snowboarders. The splitsurfer features the amazing artwork of Shanna Duncan, who has collaborated with Venture on multiple Shape Shack projects. The Snowy Owl is now available through select Venture dealers and Venture’s online store at


The Snowy Owl swoops down powder lines like a bird hunting its prey. A third-generation splitsurfer with reverse sidecut, a 33 cm waist, “bat wing” tail, and generous helping of straight-line rocker, the Owl is the ideal deck for powsurfers looking to expand their reach deeper into the backcountry. This board has no edges, and there are inserts for touring brackets only.  The insert pattern is also flipped for greater ease while skinning.  According to Olofsson, “The Owl was made for quick and shuffling turns, especially in the trees. Compared to the Euphoria it is more in the groove with fatter riding, longer arcing turns and has a solid grip from its fishtail. I would [describe] this board as more ‘tree jazzy’ than the Euphoria, which is slightly ‘alpine metal.’”


  • Colorado Core
  • Seamless Split Technology
  • Straight-Line Rocker
  • Sintered P-Tex Sidewall & Base
  • Edgeless
  • Touring Bracket Inserts Only


  • Length: 156 cm
  • Width: 33 cm
  • MSRP: $895 USD



Each Shape Shack project is also emblazoned with the creative vision of a guest artist. For the Snowy Owl, Venture commissioned original work from Washington State artist Shanna Duncan. Duncan is a revered artist in many circles for her work with the likes of The Levitation Project, Queensryche and Fender Guitars. “If anyone is familiar with my work, it can get pretty dark, garish and downright gruesome,” says Duncan. “This owl takes a pretty different approach. I appreciate the beauty and movement of this bird.” But Duncan also appreciates the bridge that art can build between the artist and the end user. “When I do the graphics for a board, the best thing about it is knowing that that piece of work is going to go on an adventure with someone, somewhere really special.  That same train of thought applies to this owl…he'll be spreading his wings on some mountain with someone who really loves being in his or her own element.  I feel like that ties me to that moment in a way…and as an artist, it makes you even prouder of the work you created.”  



The Shape Shack is Venture’s experimental division, charged with creating new and innovative board shapes. Each project has a guest shaper and a guest artist, who work together to create a unique, limited edition design. “You never know where a good idea is going to come from, so inviting new perspectives into the mix is a great way to spark the creative process,” says Klemens Branner, Venture’s owner and engineer. “Taking a new Shape Shack design from concept to reality brings our whole team together. And because we own our own factory we can produce pretty much anything that we can dream up, and then walk out the front door and ride it in some of the most badass mountains in the Lower 48.  It's an ideal setup for experimentation without boundaries.” For Olofsson, the appeal lies in helping create new shapes that may be a departure from the norm. “The powsurfing aspect that I´ve been working on is a blast, and having the ability to work on a few new rides every year apart from traditionally shaped snowboards is awesome.”


The Snowy Owl is now available for purchase in Venture's online store.  Order yours before they fly away!



In our final installment of "Your Venture Starts Here" we take a peek inside the Shape Shack - Venture's experimental division.  Stay tuned for new Shape Shack designs dropping later this month!





The third video in our four part series captures the magic of life in Silverton, and what's so special about our home town.  Plus it features riding footage from the San Juan backcountry and Silverton Mountain's heli op.



The second video in our four parts series "Your Venture Starts Here" goes behind the scenes in the factory, to reveal the secret ingredient in our handcrafted snowboards.

Skylar Special: Best Snowboard of 2014


The Skylar Special In Action
Self portrait: Skylar getting ready to drop in on his Skylar.

The Skylar Special - a Shape Shack creation by guest shaper Skylar Holgate and artist Shanna Duncan - has been named a "Best Snowboard of 2014" by Outside Magazine.  And boy are we stoked!

The Shape Shack is Venture's experimental division, charged with dreaming up new and innovative board designs.  Our resident shaper is the one and only Johan Olofsson, but from time to time we invite other high profile, creative minded riders to contribute their ideas to the mix.

Anyone who's ridden at Silverton Mountain, stayed at the Bonnie Belle Cabin, or spent some time in Argentina with SASS Global Travel has probably crossed paths with the inimitable Skylar Holgate.  A mountain guide extraordinaire, incredible ripper, and the most down to earth guy you'll ever meet, Skylar spends the majority of the year on snow, and has been putting Venture boards through their paces both north and south of the Equator for many years.  He is always willing to try out new shapes and give us feedback, so it was a no brainer to ask him to get involved with the Shape Shack.  Skylar worked with Klemens Branner, Venture's founder and design engineer, to develop the shape.  "For me, the coolest part of the process was how easily Klem was able to translate what I wanted into the design itself.  I could tell him how I wanted it to feel when I laid into a turn, and he knew exactly how to tweak the flex or change the core profile to get that performance and that feeling," says Skylar.

The Skylar Special is a big mountain twin designed just for the way he rides.  It's beefy enough to handle a day in the life of a mountain guide, but has a true twin shape and slightly softer flex that make it super fun and playful.  Recently named a "Best Snowboard of 2014" by Outside Magazine, testers commented that the Skylar Special's "supple torsional flex allows for nimble edge-to-edge transfers and quick turn initiation, but the flex pattern and sidecut make it smooth and stable in all types of terrain." Check out the full review at Outside Online.   

Since Skylar also rides for the Levitation Project, he collaborated with their chief artist, Shanna Duncan, to create a unique graphic for this deck.  "Shanna was great to work with," says Skylar.  "All I had to do was tell her about the vibe of Venture, what our graphic themes have looked like in the past, and some elements I wanted on the board and she was able to whip out something amazing in just a couple of days.  I'm totally stoked with the result."  You can check out more of Shanna's work in this season's Kronicle, which features a full length interview with her.

Shanna's interview and the Skylar Special graphic in Kronicle.

For more detailed info on the Skylar Special, or to purchase one of the limited edition decks, you can visit Venture's online store here.

9th Annual Season Kickoff Party!



Venture/Ska Custom Board 2013



Venture Snowboards and Ska Brewing are once again teaming up to welcome winter in style with our 9th Annual Season Kickoff Party scheduled for Saturday, December 21st (Silverton Mountain's opening day).

For the ninth year running, the two homegrown Colorado companies are producing a small run of custom graphics boards and a special winter brew, both of which will be unveiled at the bash. 

This year's Season Kickoff features live music from Farmington Hill and The Crags, Ska drink specials, and tons of product giveaways from a host of different sponsors.     

The highlight of the evening will be the raffle for a coveted limited edition Ska/Venture custom snowboard. This year's deck features a graphic with several of Ska's zany comic characters, and is destined to become a collector's item for beer and snow lovers alike.

The Season Kickoff Party gets rockin' at 8 pm at Silverton's Grand Imperial Hotel (1219 Greene Street). Cover charge is $6 and this is a 21+ event. Proceeds will benefit the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies in Silverton. For more information call 970.387.5078. 

Your Venture Starts Here


Go deep behind-the-scenes—and into the mountains—with Venture.  This short video features some sick pow surfing by Johan Olofsson, behind the scenes footage from the factory, and more.

Zelix Splitboard Wins Editors' Choice

Zelix Splitboard


We're stoked to announce that the newest model in our line, the Zelix, has been named a a Backcountry Magazine Editors' Choice for 2014!

A directional twin with an identical nose and tail shape, the Zelix also has 20 mm of stance offset, giving you the best of both worlds: awesome floatation alongside effortless switch riding. Originally an experimental Shape Shack design, this deck received so much incredible feedback from our staff and customers alike that we decided to add it to the 13/14 line.  

The Zelix will replace two other boards in the Venture line - the Helix (a true twin shape), and the Zephyr (an all mountain shape and Editors' Choice winner in 2011).  When asked how the idea for this board came about, Venture's owner and design engineer Klemens Branner explained: "We noticed that most people who were riding our Helix were setting their bindings back, so they were not in the sweet spot of the sidecut and were losing out on performance.  At the same time, people were asking us to make our Zelix more playful and flexy.  Combining the best features of those two decks into a single board seemed like a good way to solve both of those problems.  After riding the first prototypes it found it was really fun while still maintaining the high performance aspect we are known for."

Clearly the folks at Backcountry Magazine agreed.  Testers called the Zelix an "all-mountain badass," and "a sports car of a splitboard." Here are some other choice quotes about the board:

"Surprisingly nimble and agile."

"Great float for a twin."

"A powerful directional twin that's playful in mellow terrain and steps it up in the steeps."

For the 13/14 winter season the Zelix is available in both solid and splitboard versions.  For detailed specs and more information you can visit the Zelix page on our website or check out the videos below.






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