We hit up Stefen Grandi, one of the engineers behind Ride Snowboards, for a bit more info into the field of designing snowboard products. Alongside the quick look at the ARC video above, Stefen talks about his day-to-day working on the boot line, how he got there, and what he enjoys about working behind the scenes for Ride. Check out a few questions from our text correspondence below (and a look at the soon to be released boot). – Mark Clavin
How many years have you been working at RIDE?
What is your title?
Senior Design Engineer, RIDE Snowboard Boots.
What/where did you study to get to that position?
Cal Poly, SLO got my Bachelor of Science in Materials Engineering.
How long have you been snowboarding?
Do you have to snowboard to be a good engineer for snowboarding?
Absolutely. Engineering can only get you so far in development.
Did you work in any other field before transitioning into snowboarding?
I worked for five years prior to RIDE at a small R&D aerospace company in Southern California where I was a process engineer and made ultra high temperature composites.
How is it having the ARC at your disposal?
The ARC is honestly my dream shop with anything and everything you need for R&D. I spend a lot of time here for both work and personal projects. It is the Fantasy Factory for an engineer.
What personal projects have you done in there?
I have been deeply involved with a couple other employees making pow surf boards as a side project at the ARC. We have come a long way in terms of design, layup, and manufacturability for the past few years. We continue to iterate and improve the performance of these pow surfs. I can’t tell you how much fun I have pow surfing. It’s like I’m a kid again learning and pushing the limits of riding.
I also have worked on a number of small van projects from retrofitting a wood stove and installing solar panels for off grid camping. I’m currently doing a diesel motor swap on my van and have plans to eventually run it on bio-diesel. All this is made possible by having the ARC facility.
How big of a crew are you working with?
I work with eight people in-house at Ride and a handful of machine shop guys at the ARC. The crew has been solid for a number of years. We all share the same passion for snowboarding and know how to get shit done.
What are your favorite products in the line to ride?
I rarely am riding production product and always testing something new. If I had to choose, the daily would be the new Deadbolt boot (releases 24-25 season) or the Lasso Pro, A-10 bindings, and the 159 MTN PIG. For park days, it would be new Deadbolt or Lasso Pro, C-8 bindings, and the 155 Burnout or 155 Kink.
And what is your favorite product you have helped design?
The Torrent boot is one of my favorite products I designed. This boot really opened the door for Ride to develop and use more sustainable materials. It also allowed me to refine boot fit by designing a new internal lacing system coupled with floating tongue.
In the age of remote work, how often are you in the lab?
I am in the lab about three days a week. I’ve got a good amount of flexibility to work from home, but I choose to work from the lab for the collaborations and tinkering that I enjoy doing.
What makes Ride gear different from the rest in your eyes?
The thought and engineering that goes into every single product.
Any exciting project you are working on now that you can talk about?
The new Deadbolt and Karmyn boots releasing 24/25. A refined fit with a new set of tech, materials, and lacing that pulls from the Torrent boot. This is a mid-stiff zonal lacing boot with improved heel hold for response over the current model. This is the boot I want to ride.