There’s nothing better than standing at the top of the mountain with your board on a bright sunny day, where the reflection off the snow is blinding and the sky is clear and blue. It’s just that kind of experience that led Bob Carlson to co-found Arbor in 1995, after coming to the conclusion that those that enjoy what the planet has to offer also have a duty to protect her. The company began making snowboards, later adding skateboards and surfboards, in the most environmentally friendly way possible. Now, 15 years later, Arbor’s commitment to making green sporting equipment and apparel is stronger than ever, and even extends beyond the company itself with 5% of profits donated to environmental groups.
The first thing you may notice about an Arbor snowboard is that it looks more like a work of art than something you will end up standing on. Each board is beautifully crafted and features artwork from one of Arbor’s talented artists. Some are brightly colored and feature paintings that bring to mind rock n’ roll. Others are natural wood with simple graphic designs of water, trees and roots. Even more beautiful is the fact that these snowboards are crafted out of materials that are carefully selected for their environmental friendliness and are often sustainable materials that replace the environmentally harmful ones once widely used in sporting equipment.
The team behind Arbor snowboards doesn’t only know eye-catching art and green materials. They also know snowboards. “The System” is Arbor’s answer to pleas from snowboarders around the globe to companies to create the perfect board. Arbor makes both the edgier rocker and traditional camber snowboards, plus with Arbor’s Jib, Park or Mountain Systems, riders have a choice of design and board technology that best suits their individual styles. In addition, snowboarders can choose from the Griptech or Parabolic Rocker technologies, depending on their own individual style of riding. It just goes to show that going green doesn’t mean sacrificing style, technology or that all-important perfect ride that every boarder seeks. In fact, with an Arbor board, you have the best of both worlds as these boards provide a fusion of thoughtful design and ecologically sound materials.
In becoming an environmentally minded company, Arbor based their company’s values on the belief that going green isn’t just something you say. For Arbor, their status as a green company has to be based on what they do to create the clean and beautiful world that so many people want to board, skate and surf in. In donating a percentage of their profits, Arbor has had the chance to support and work with The Nature Conservancy, The Rainforest Action Network and, recently, True Offsets. This is a group that works to restore Hawaii’s forests and has allowed Arbor to become a company that offsets more carbon than they produce. Arbor also strives to bring the green focus to everyday tasks, including using recycled paper and soy-based inks, recycling, and use recycled or sustainable materials wherever possible.
In order to enjoy the view from a mountaintop in the middle of winter, or even to just know it is there as you go whizzing by, it is necessary to take care of the earth that sustains those mountaintops. It is increasingly up to individuals and companies to work together to ensure that the world we see now is the same world we can enjoy as we take our children up that mountain. Arbor recognized this back in 1995 and has worked ever since toward a day when it will be possible to make totally green products that support a bright future for our planet. Until then, Arbor will continue to produce snow, skate and surf boards made out of the best materials available and apparel made from sustainable bamboo. And snowboarders will continue to shred it down the mountainside, riding on a carefully designed piece of art.