Eco-Shred: How Arbor Collective Brought Sustainability to Snowboards

This is the story of how sustainably crafted snowboards first emerged 25 years ago.

“If you care about what you’re making, you can succeed.” It’s a pretty simple statement. But it makes for a pretty daunting business model — one that the Arbor Collective set out to embrace.

This film explores how Arbor’s founders launched the company, what first steps they had to take, and, of course, celebrates the brand’s 25th anniversary.

It follows Arbor through its struggles to find financial footing in the industry. It talks about all the trials and errors it took to create its first product and how the brand eventually earned its place as an “innovative and enduring” snowboard brand.

In Arbor’s words, it’s a tale about what it takes to leave a positive mark on the surf/skate/snow industry.

Arbor Collective: The Beginning

Arbor Collective first snowboard
Arbor’s first Koa wood snowboard, circa 1995

In 1995, two friends — Bob Carlson and Chris Jensen — launched Arbor. Their goal was to make sustainability the guiding principle in the production of their products.

“They would be the first traditional action sports brand to do so, while also being the first to formally commit to donating a portion of sales to the conservation of the environment,” the Arbor team wrote in a press release.

In the mid-1990s, Arbor entered the market with a line of snowboards made with sustainably sourced wood tops and cores, a reduction in plastic, and a commitment to the preservation of forests.

“We were like foreigners in our own industry. Different enough to cut through the noise in the mid-’90s, but not cool enough to hang on as the industry consolidated at the end of the decade,” Arbor co-founder Carlson said.

Over the next month, the brand will be rolling out special-edition boards, films, and more to celebrate 25 years of Arbor.

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Mary Murphy

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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