The Commission: Core shops fight for the soul of snowboarding

The importance of local shops to snowboarding cannot be understated; these are the spots that have carried riders and the industry as a whole since day one, and they are imperative in the fight to keep the snowboarder’s lifestyle alive, and to keep the industry growing in a positive way.

Season over season, core shops around the country- where snowboarding was born and bred- began to notice a severe disconnect between retailers and brands, a gap that left many shops fighting to keep up with big box corporations who stomped into the market once profit margins seemed promising enough. Brought together by Eastern Boarder’s Herb Grignon at the 2013 edition of SIA, these shops realized that the issues they were dealing with weren’t unique, and that local retailers across the country were fighting the same battles.

“Our goal is help snowboarding grow…the right way.”

Rallied behind the fact that their presence is vital to snowboarding as a whole, these shop owners decided it was about time they stood up and demanded a change. Enter: The Commission. Twelve of the most rooted shops in snowboarding came together to create a group that is focused on put snowboarding back on track; reconnecting brands, manufacturers, and retailers to work together and support one another. To begin getting their message out, The Commission began creating collab products with the brands that they feel positively impact snowboarding; products that highlight The Commission’s goals.

Raul Pinto, co-owner of Satellite Boardshop in Boulder, Colorado, is a founding member of The Commission, and his passion for this mission is evident. He gave us the rundown on the who, what, and why behind the creation of The Commission.

the commission snowboarding snowboard shops

What sparked the creation of The Commission? Why is it necessary?
Herb at Eastern Boarder wanted to have a few of the best shops meet up at SIA, after a lot of the retailers saw that we were all saying and experiencing the same issues at the retail level, and we started to look around and realize not only how important the local shop is to snowboarding’s lifestyle, but that we weren’t alone. But really it was Herb that asked us to meet up in person to see what we could do to help snowboarding grow in a healthy way.

What are your long term plans to achieve this goal? What would you like The Commission to develop into?
There are too many directions at this point, but for now we are just able to voice our opinions collectively to the brands and help steer the industry in a positive direction.
What steps have you taken so far?
Formed a solid group of 12 shops from each region of the country…developed some products that are only available in those shops, and created a large list of items we would like to tackle. The problem is narrowing that list to what we can really tackle each year, but I know we want to work closer with media and the resorts that really support snowboarding.

Why do you feel this is an important step for retailers, brands, or snowboarding in general?
The only way for snowboarding to prosper is by its own hands and through it own culture and lifestyle. I think surfing and skating have developed into solid cultures that are bought, manufactured and sold through their riders, not by outside forces. If you moved to the coast with your family you would go to a surf shop to buy a surfboard, and a surfer would tell you what break to go ride (or not ride) and what board to start out on. Snowboarding should be the same.

How long has The Commission been around? When did it officially get off the ground?
One year. Our first official meeting was at SIA last year.

What is the ‘Super’ project all about?
As a group we felt like a few brands might help get this message out by building some collab pieces to highlight The Commission’s goals. Super was a word we wanted to add to products that were already in the brand’s line, but with added features, but it comes down to our collective ideals; super service, super products. Super shops… an adjective to describe everything we want in snowboarding.

Which brands are you collaborating with?
Year one we kept it simple; a Burton boot – the Super Rampant, a Union binding – the Super Force, and a Lib Tech board – the Super Banana.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 9.40.33 AM Union X The Commission Super Force binding

How many products, and what type of products, will The Commission be releasing?
Just the 3 above, which are only available at The Commission shops.

Have you seen any results so far? Are you gaining traction with the brands?
The brands have all been very receptive and I think they all are well aware of the local shop’s role in developing snowboarding and the lifestyle.

As far as the retailers that are involved are concerned- what do they have in common? What brought these particular shops together?
They are all very passionate about snowboarding and participate in it, so they really care about its future.

Have you seen the relationship between brands and shops go downhill since you first opened Satellite, or has there always been a tension between the two?
I think we have always worked at our brand/business relationships and we have dedicated a lot of time to the growth of snowboarding and the brands have been respectful of that effort and helped us along the way.

Meet The Commission: Youth Shelter Supply | Cal Surf | Surfside | Darkside | Satellite | Wave Rave | Pit Crew | SnoCon | Milo Sport | Eastern Boarder | Salty Peaks | World Boards

In your opinion, how could shops and brands work together and support each other? What does that look like?
Communication is everything; having a plan and preparing for what’s next. We all need each other to survive, so time needs to be invested in each part of that equation.

It’s just a younger sport/ lifestyle and it has lost its way a bit. The Commission intends to help put it back on track.

What is “The Golden Brick” about? Can you explain the concept behind it?
Well this is still in the works, but the idea is to create another system by which riders can find out about superior products; just like Platinum Picks or Good Wood, the Golden Brick is meant to be a way of highlighting the products many local shops are backing.

Many of the magazines are looking for ways to add authenticity to premium picks and what better way than to connect it back to the retailer. Just like the customer, we have to buy all of the products on our walls, so we are very critical and thorough when it comes to making selections.

Check out The Commission shops:

Satellite Boardshop
Eastern Boarder
Youth Shelter Supply
Wave Rave
Pit Crew
Salty Peaks
World Boards


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