Atlantis Snowboards has moved production of its ’98/99 line to Option Snowboards, based in Vancouver, Canada.
“We asked retailers, raw-material suppliers-even our competitors-and everyone had nothing but respect for Option and the snowboards it builds,” says Rob Valente, co-owner of Atlantis Snowboards. “Once we had a chance to actually go out and ride their boards, every other OEM company fell by the wayside.”
Valente says he’s incredibly impressed with how quickly and successfully Option was able to manage the transition. The ability to deliver on time was definitely a consideration when choosing a manufacturer. In early July the company had already shipped to Japan and expects to also ship to its domestic accounts on time and in full.
It’s been a tough couple of months for Atlantis Owners Valente and Mark Tanabe. According to Valente, the company’s previous OEM relationship cratered in a profit-shredding explosion of lost deposits, crappy samples, muddy graphics, and trade shows without product to show. “We figured we were done,” says Valente. Indeed, the huge hit to the bottom-line would’ve killed many companies.
However, even though the product Atlantis brought to the Vegas SIA trade show was not the quality the company wanted, retailers still placed orders based on their confidence in Valente, Tanabe, and the Atlantis name. “We’ve built something that has a following and is respected by knowledgeable, experienced snowboarders,” says Valente. “We told retailers that this wasn’t the quality of the product we’d be shipping, and many of them trusted us to get our act together in time for next season.”
According to Option President Geoff Power, “They sent us a board and we copied it as best as we could. By this time they were past the trade-show sampling process, so that really put them behind the eight-ball. Luckily, they really liked our samples. Not to sound immodest, but we’re really good at sandwich construction. So, getting production up to speed was not a problem.”
What was less certain was how Atlantis’ sublimated graphics would reproduce with Option’s four-color silkscreening process. However, both companies are happy with the results. “We impressed ourselves,” says Power. “I think the graphics turned out even better than we expected.”
Option is currently running two shifts to make sure boards ship on time. However, the factory has the capability to do at least double its current production.
In the tough world of OEM snowboard manufacturing, Option seems to beholding its own-despite the loss of one of its large OEM accounts last year. “The demise of Shorty’s had a material impact on us,” says Power. “However, we’ve replaced that business with other OEM customers. Given the rate that snowboard companies are closing their doors, I think we’re in remarkably good condition. Of course, it would have been great to keep that account while picking up these new ones.”
Atlantis is excited about the performance of the Canadian-made boards. “The quality of Canadian woodcores, the pre-cure-fiberglass construction, and the expertise of Option will all combine to make Atlantis boards even better this year,” says Tanabe. “And although pre-cure fiberglass can be difficult to work with, it provides a feel and liveliness to the board that nothing can match.” Fortunately, Option is well-versed on pre-cure construction. “A pre-cure snowboard is very friendly board for beginners and yet it still allows experts to reach their full potential,” asserts Tanabe.
It was this quality that attracted some of the best snowboarders to the Atlantis name, he continues. “We never tried to make a company that was all about pro riders, but along the way that was what happened. However, we never lost our commitment to quality product or being a company dedicated to snowboarding-that was the reason the pros wanted to ride Atlantis in the first place.
While some retailers have reported that Daniel Franck’s departure from the team hurt sales, Tanabe and Valente say the new team structure will ultimately benefit the company. (Riders include Ingemar Backman, Jacob Soderqvist, and Patrik Karlsson, among others.) “We’ve been able to distribute the burden a little more among all of our riders,” says Valente. “We don’t want anyone on our team to feel like they have to carry the whole company. We also don’t want to be in the position where our retailer’s sales are affected if one of our teams riders gets hurt or leaves.”
Ever since leaving Type A and starting Atlantis in February 1995, Valente and Tanabe say they made important decisions by “doing what feels right.” Atlantis was named after the mythical home of gods and heroes in the book Atlas Shrugged, a place for people who don’t compromise in life. “It’s a place where everything is done right,” said Tanabe in a 1996 interview. With the move to Option, Atlantis hopes to maintain their search for quality and integrity.