silverton | 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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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.

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.






Venture's Limited Edition Shape Shack Boards Are Here!

Venture Shape Shack


As a company on the leading edge of design and innovation, it’s no surprise that Venture Snowboards is once again pushing the envelope with the Shape Shack, an experimental division charged with dreaming up new and innovative board shapes. 

“Pushing boundaries and trying new things is built into the DNA of snowboarding,” says Klemens Branner, Venture’s founder and design engineer, who is heading up the effort with creative input from big mountain legend Johan Olofsson and select guest shapers.  “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.” 

Shape Shack boards are produced in small, limited edition runs and made available to the public through choice retailers and Venture’s online store.  For 12/13, the three new Shape Shack designs are limited edition collector's items, with only 25 of each design produced.

What does Branner enjoy most about the Shape Shack?  “Of course riding the finished product is the best part!  But bringing a new board shape from concept to reality in a short period of time is extremely gratifying.  It brings our whole team together, and because we own our own factory we have control over that process from start to finish.  We can produce pretty much anything that we can dream up, and then walk out the front door and ride it right here in our backyard.  It's an ideal setup for experimentation without boundaries.”

Here's the skinny on the different shapes, available for purchase now through Venture's online store:



Resident Shaper & Graphic Artist: Johan Olofsson

The Powder Pig is the second powder specific shape dreamed up by big mountain legend and pow surfing pioneer Johan Olofsson. Available in a 156 cm length, it has no edges and only two inserts - one near the tip and one near the tail - for attaching a rope. The flat “bat tail,” mellow rocker, and 33 cm width provide uncanny floatation. A true pow surfer’s dream. Say oink as you gorge on the deep stuff!



Guest Shaper: Skylar Holgate, Graphic Artist: Shanna Duncan

The Skylar Special is a big mountain twin designed by infamous Silverton Mountain guide Skylar Holgate. Available in a 160 cm length and 25 cm waist, with a true twin shape that offers greater maneuverability and effortless switch riding. While this deck’s slightly softer flex makes it fun and playful, quadratics still give it plenty of bite and grip for less forgiving conditions.



Guest Shaper: Aaron Brill

The Swallowtail Bomber is a classic swallowtail shape designed by Silverton Mountain’s founder and owner Aaron Brill. Lots of length for charging big lines and an elongated rocker profile for effortless float in the deep stuff. 180 cm length and 26 cm width.  Go big or go home.


Photo above, from left to right: Powder Pig, Skylar Special, Swallowtail Bomber

Venture/Ska 8th Annual Season Kickoff Party!

Season Kickoff - Euphoria

Venture Snowboards and Ska Brewing are once again teaming up to welcome winter in style with their 8th Annual Season Kickoff Party scheduled for Saturday, December 15th (Silverton Mountain's opening day).

For the eighth 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. 

The partnership between Venture and Ska started nearly a decade ago when the two businesses came together to talk about how they could collaborate.  "We jokingly refer to ourselves as the microbrew of snowboards because we build high quality boards from scratch," explains Venture's Lisa Branner.  "Ska takes the same approach in crafting their beer, so teaming up seemed like a natural." 

This year's Season Kickoff features live music, 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 the Mole Stout graphic, 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 970.387.5527. 


Ska Mole Stout Topsheet

Sneak Peek at Venture's 2012/2013 Line!

Just back from the SIA SnowShow in Denver, and wanted to share a little preview of Venture's 2012/2013 line with you all.  Still staying true to our focus on big mountain freeride boards.  Don't they look dreamy??


Venture 2011/2012 lineup

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