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.
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.
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: www.shannaduncanart.com.
LIMITED EDITION SHAPE SHACK RELEASE: THE SNOWY OWL
SHAPER: JOHAN OLOFSSON | ARTIST: SHANNA DUNCAN
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 www.venturesnowboards.com.
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
- 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.”
ABOUT THE SHAPE SHACK
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!
THE SHAPE SHACK
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!
ODE TO SILVERTON
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 SECRET SAUCE
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.
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.
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 Snowboards and Sledchile Backcountry Adventures have teamed up to open a South American demo center in Malalcahuello, Chile.
The demo center, called Freeride, is located at the base of the Lonquimay Volcano and Corralco Ski Resort. Freeride will maintain a fleet of Venture’s solid boards, splitboards and powder surfers, as well as a few pairs of Icelantic skis.
Sledchile is run by Chilean national Cesar Gibert. The company has been offering custom tours of the Araucania backcountry in the Southern Andes and Patagonia since 2007, when Gibert started Sledchile as a way to combine his passions for snowboarding and Motocross racing. Clients can choose to explore via snowmobiles, splitboards, or a combination of both.
“We are very excited to be working with Venture. I was able to ride the Zelix 163/26 for a few weeks this past season in Colorado and since we started riding here in early June, it has been my board of choice,” says Gibert. “Being able to offer a touring option to our customers is awesome, as the zones we access during storms are below tree line and wind sheltered. There are good options up here for tree riding, and splitboards are a great tool to access those lines. As we are exploring new terrain the combination of the snowmobiles and the touring equipment allows us to reach even further.”
Venture’s Sales Manager Jerome Boulay, who spends three months a year south of the equator, is also enthusiastic about the partnership. “Given our focus on producing high quality freeride boards, collaborating with Sledchile is a natural. The terrain they are accessing in and around Malalcahuello is exactly what our boards are designed for – steep, deep, and wide open bowls. Together we can offer a superior experience to riders seeking the never ending winter.”
Check out all that Sledchile has to offer at www.sledchile.com.
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 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.
YOU COULD WIN THIS BOARD!!