words: Mike Basher
MARK CARTER IS LIKE A FINE WINE. Actually, more like a whiskey. He’s bold, full of character, pairs well with beef, and he’s gotten better with age. He’s the true definition of an everyman’s snowboarder. I don’t care what you do, he works harder than anyone in the off-season and is no different come wintertime. He’s one hell of a fisherman, tells a tale with the best of ‘em, has a mean roast beef, roasts a mean beef, and is a beast in the backcountry.
Odds are, you’ve never been to Carter’s hometown of Ten Sleep, Wyoming. Few have. It’s a little dot in the foothills of northern central-ish, but-kind-of-eastern Wyoming. Lost already? Yeah, it’s that remote. The good folk of Ten Sleep are part of a hearty, tight-knit community of about 271 people, last I checked. They’re an honest bunch who help their fellow neighbors and pour their hearts into everything they do. This pretty much sums up Mark Carter.
That being said, the character of his roots is also the character of Mark Carter’s pro model offerings, the Arbor Clovis board and Cypress binding. The Clovis is a workhorse of a snowboard that has been in the Arbor line for six years. Taking design notes from the indigenous people of central Wyoming, the Clovis’ spearhead-like shape slices through the deep stuff and groomers, alike. “When I went to design a board, I wanted a story behind it,” says Carter. “I’m really into the ancient hunters, and the ancients here were the Clovis people, the namesake for my board. They hunted mastodons by launching spears from atlatl [a tool used to achieve greater velocity when throwing a spear]. They would meticulously shape the spear tips out of materials like chert or jasper, as far back as 13,000 years ago. I took the influence from my roots in Ten Sleep into my Clovis snowboard. The beautiful, ancient tool was the inspiration for my modern-day tool.”
Since the chaps always must complement the boots, Carter also has a pro model binding with Arbor, the Cypress. He’s added the same earthy graphics featured on the Clovis to the Cypress, which he worked on with friend and artist Jess Mudgett. “Jess is a good friend who came to Ten Sleep to work on the ranch for a few years,” says Carter. “The graphics are all a nod to ranch life—the raven, wire pliers, and horseshoe all built into a red clay color palette.”
Technically speaking, the Clovis’ topsheet is American black walnut. “I really like the grain and the unique patterns,” Carter explains. “I’ve always used black walnut on my pro model. There are Uprise Fenders, 3 degrees in front and 1.5 in the tail, which help it ride everywhere. With the Fenders, you don’t have to detune your edges, and they help with float and landing switch. My board rides switch in powder really well. I wanted it to be an all-mountain board, one anyone can ride anywhere. It’s awesome.”
Having helped develop the Cypress binding, it was only natural for Carter to use it for his pro model. “The Cypress bindings are so comfortable and bomber. The heel straps and ladders almost auto-feed, which makes strapping in so easy,” he adds. “Arbor took something that’s been done over and over, and made it even better. It’s pretty inventive.”
Carter’s entire setup is made as sustainably as possible, an ideal Arbor has maintained and expanded on since its inception twenty-six years ago. It’s a like-minded approach to what the Wyoming-born rider takes to the land he ranches and mountains he spends his winters in, conscious of the environment around him and how he interacts with it. The Clovis and the Cypress, in design, performance, and aesthetic, pay homage to just that.