OGDEN — By water, by land, and now by snow, a local company is evolving from its California surfing roots and foraging into the realm of snowboarding with a new product that embraces Ogden’s snow culture while paying homage to other board sports.
Ogden-based Kahuna Creations, which broke into the market several years ago with its sleek longboard skateboards and patented land paddle known as the Big Stick, has adapted the stick for use on the slopes. Kahuna has taken the basic design of the Big Stick, which is built from everything from bamboo to reinforced carbon composite materials, and added a new attachment designed specifically for use on the snow.
“We’ve sold over 10,000 Big Sticks all over the world,” said Steve McBride, founder and owner of the company. “We’ve done well with the stand-up paddle trend, so the last couple of years, we’ve been thinking of ways to adapt it to snowboarding.”
Being that his company is based in Ogden and so close to world-class ski and snowboard resorts, McBride said it was the next logical step to take. The latest version of the Kahuna Snow Stick was first tested on the north-facing slopes of Ben Lomond Peak last summer, and has been tested more recently at Snowbasin and Powder Mountain.
The Snow Stick comes in both fixed and adjustable lengths ranging from three and a half to six feet long. Its main benefits are helping snowboarders move across flat terrain, and it helps with balance during steeper turns, said Dylan Johns, account manager for Kahuna.
“It’s great for staying high on traverses, accessing sidecountry, and using cat tracks to get back to the lift,” Johns said. “It’s really good for Powder Mountain, where you have some long and less steep runs.”
McBride said he hopes local snowboard instruction schools will adopt the Snow Stick and give lessons for using it, and said ski patrollers he has talked with believe the product has promise.
“It could be helpful for newbies who are just getting the feel for it, so maybe they won’t spend the entire day on their butts,” he said. “It provides an extra level of comfort.”
And, he said, it could be useful for skiers who are considering trying a snowboard for the first time.
“Skiers like having poles in their hands,” he said. “It’s attractive to skiers who want to try snowboarding.”
The reaction has been mostly positive, although the Snow Stick has drawn a few puzzled looks.
“At first, people don’t get it,” Johns said. “They just have to try it.”
The concept grew from the burgeoning sport of stand-up paddling, where people stand on their surfboards in the ocean (or on a lake) and use an oar to move around the water. Kahuna took the concept to land with the Big Stick and longboarding, and the Snow Stick brings the idea full circle in the heart of the Wasatch Mountains.
Kahuna has been around for 7.5 years now, and McBride said the company shows no signs of slowing.
“We’re growing in popularity, even in a bad economy,” he said.
That might be because rather than spend hundreds of dollars on that new snowboard, some riders are looking for a slightly less expensive way to enhance their riding experience. For those who already have a Big Stick, the interchangeable Snow Stick attachment costs $39.
“People want something new, and this is a good price point for them,” McBride said. “We really just try to stay on the cutting edge. I think that’s what people really find attractive about us.”