Introducing the AIRSTREAM x MTN LOCAL Snowboard. Built by hand in Essex, Vermont (which we discovered on our recent Round Trip journey to the Stowe, Vermont area), this beautiful board is made for gliding through fresh, deep powder and carving up groomed corduroy. The design is inspired by elements taken from the design of Airstream’s Basecamp Travel Trailer. MTN Local’s founder, Max Holzman designed this board in collaboration with Airstream and builds each board to order in his Vermont workshop.
“My shapes are non-traditional shapes and functional, but with a very different look,” says Max of his design approach. “They’re conversation starters when you’re on the lift.”
Working with the team from Airstream, Max adapted one of his own custom swallowtail snowboard designs to make a truly original snowboard. The design of the board tip – as well as the swallowtail – draw inspiration from Basecamp’s angled roofline.
“The theory with the swallowtail design is that when the tail sinks down you can ride really fast in deep snow,” says Max. “It was cool to work in the angles from the Basecamp. I try to incorporate different shapes like this when I’m working on each new project.”
A snowboarder since the sport first took hold in the early 80s, Max worked for one of the leading snowboard brands for almost a decade. Working primarily with warranty claims on damaged snowboards, Max got to see the reality of what happens to a snowboard during its life on the mountain. He also learned the business side of the winter sports industry. These experiences served him well as he developed his own snowboard brand.
Eventually he left the snowboard business, got trained in welding, and worked building plow trucks for the state of Vermont. “I wanted to start a welding business,” he remembers, “but I didn’t want to just do repairs for people. I wanted to make art.” Max also spent a season operating a Snowcat at Vermont’s Stowe mountain resort, and knew he wanted a career that combined his passion for snowboarding with his desire for hands-on, creative work.
It was then that Max started experimenting with wood lamination and snowboard construction.
“I grew up in NYC and I used a skateboard for transportation,” he says. “I started thinking about how the skateboard construction method and technology could translate to snow.”
Typically, mass-produced snowboards are composed of a wood core sandwiched between layers of plastic. “I wanted to do something different,” he says. “I was constantly trying to figure out a better alternative.”
One of his experiments involved vacuum forming a snowboard, after applying glue to many layers of wood veneer. “I’d glue all the layers, stack them like a sandwich, align everything and stick them in the plastic vacuum bag,” he laughs. “I would then seal off the end and suck out the air with a vacuum pump. The vacuum created a couple thousand pounds of pressure and squeezed the layers together. It wasn’t scientific in any way. It was experimental.”
Max started experimenting with all-wood lamination prototypes that eventually formed the basis of MTN Local snowboards. MTN Local uses Entropy brand resins to glue the components together – a plant-based epoxy that’s both durable and environmentally friendly.
Eventually, Max built his own industrial-grade, 2000-pound steel I-beam snowboard press from scratch in his shop. The result: MTN Local is creating some of the most original, eco-conscious, and creative snowboards on the market.
“My boards are closer to being a tree than a traditional snowboard is,” he says. “They’re all wood with minimal plastic – you definitely can see and feel the character from the wood itself.”
Traditional production snowboards are constructed with a wood core surrounded by multiple plastic components. They are prone to damage due to this construction method. “With my boards, the whole board is the core,” he points out. “This type of construction increases their strength and durability.”
“All our boards are horizontally laminated, similar to traditional skateboard construction,” he adds. “This gives them strength. We reinforce our boards with fiberglass for durability and to provide consistent flex characteristics.”
Each board is one of a kind and built to order. This process takes 3-4 weeks.