On Saturday, November 21st, 2015, CAPiTA held the grand opening the the world’s newest, most advanced snowboard manufacturing facility in the world. The Mothership is a manifestation of Blue Montgomery’s vision for the future, one where snowboarding is not just alive, but thriving. Below is a story I wrote about The Mothership for The Product Collection, and it as timely as ever.
The Mothership under construction during the summer of 2015. Photo courtesy of Blue Montgomery
To accomplish extraordinary feats, there must be a vision: an unshakable idea that will set the foundation for a future that benefits not just the few, but the many. This type of thinking is now needed more than ever as snowboarding seeks guidance through its journey to adulthood. In the mountains of Austria, CAPiTA’s Blue Montgomery has set a vision into motion with The Mothership — a factory that is destined to be the most high tech, sustainable and badass snowboard manufacturing facility the world has ever seen.
The Mothership arose out of a need to take charge of CAPiTA’s own destiny in a volatile and unforgiving marketplace. For Blue, that need was all based on product. “It’s the answer that repeatedly came up with all of the questions we were asking,” he explains. “Product seemed to be the common theme, and to truly control your product is to simply to make it yourself.”
Every step of the manufacturing process will happen there. In fact, the only outsourcing at The Mothership will happen at either a rope-tow fed test slope located, quite literally, across the road or at the nearby resort, Nassfeld, where CAPiTA’s bold new creations have over 4,500 vertical feet of terrain to be unleashed upon. “I was really inspired in the early days by Ken Block and the DC Mtn. Lab,” Montgomery explains. “What we have in Austria is an integrated product testing environment on a much larger scale.”
Here’s why the sustainability is real. Zero carbon emission is achieved through powering the 52,000 square foot facility entirely with hydroelectric energy. The NH3 natural gas heating system has an ozone depletion potential and global warming potential of zero. A coefficient of performance rating of five means the electricity from the hydro power yields fi ve times higher output in cooling and heating. Lighting is either natural or LED, inks are water-based, finishing is completely solvent-free, and all are no bullshit measures for a better tomorrow.
This unprecedented effort affects far more than CAPiTA. It involves the people that handcraft their boards, the neighboring village that will receive renewable energy, retailers that will carry a higher quality product, and ultimately the customer purchasing a new Charlie Slasher knowing that the board was built to order under the best conditions possible. The Mothership is a manifestation of good intention. It is proving that we, as snowboarders, can steer our fate towards safe harbor and away from unsustainable practices of our present reality.
“For all of us that love snowboarding, it’s our time to step it up to help shape and mold snowboarding to be what it is and what we want it to be,” Montgomery says.
The Mothership is more than a factory. It’s a symbol of the solemn duty to be guardians of our environment, culture and the progression of innovative products. It attracts people young or old, beginner or veteran to a lifestyle that people like Blue Montgomery have dedicated themselves to. Without his vision to take the necessary steps toward a new standard in snowboard production, those that talk the talk would overshadow true action. And if that isn’t reason enough to be convinced that Blue and CAPiTA are the captains of this ship, then this most certainly should be:
“We believe in snowboarding. Period.”
Originally featured in Snowboard Magazine 12.1: The Product Collection