WHITEFISH – Brittan Ellingson is confident his line of custom snowboards will turn heads and prompt plenty of chairlift chatter this winter as locals take notice of his handcrafted, Whitefish-based wares.
In his second season, he’s been manufacturing a growing surfeit of the custom boards, sending the hyper-local products into the community and onto the slopes.
The reason for his certitude is simple – there’s nothing quite like Notice Snowboards on the market, and the athletes who are testing the boards are delivering high praise as they ride a product that is tailor-made for their needs, wants and talents.
Ellingson, 35, and his wife, Lauren, started Notice Snowboards in 2012, forging the boards to meet the desires of locals and adapt to the unique features of Big Mountain’s Whitefish Mountain Resort, as well as to the slopes in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where Ellingson previously worked in video production for Teton Gravity Research.
In Denver, Colo., he worked for Never Summer Industries, cutting his teeth repairing boards and learning the building process from top to bottom.
Ellingson’s designs are composed of customized elements every step of the way – from the shape and size of the board to the rocker and camber profile, as well as the materials, art and graphics, which are all locally produced.
“We’re trying to keep it super local. I’ve got a lot of really talented friends helping me out with art, design and product testing,” Ellingson said. “Any rocker and camber profile you can come up with we can make. There are limitless possibilities.”
His line of boards includes the “AuroraBoardRealis,” which features a whirling vortex of greens, blues and purples, a familiar sight to anyone who’s seen the northern lights. His quiver of recent boards also includes a custom Star Wars-themed board, and a Montana-Wyoming tribute board that blends motifs from ski cultures in both states.
In Jackson Hole, prominent riders are sponsored by Notice Snowboards, including Jeff Moran, Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club’s freeride program director.
“I like to maintain a presence in Jackson Hole and Whistler (British Columbia) but Whitefish is my base. It’s a great town to build a custom snowboard company,” Ellingson said.
The beta he receives from his fleet of product testers, friends and customers has helped inform his designs, Ellingson said, and he’s constantly experimenting with new materials and shapes.
“Their feedback is super helpful. They ride hard 100 days a year and they trash snowboards, so their input and the wear and tear they put on the boards is invaluable,” Ellingson said.
A native Montanan, Ellingson has been snowboarding for more than two decades. He understands how to meet the needs of experienced snowboarders who want something stiff and aggressive, or a side-cut noodle for the terrain park. If someone asks for something fast, he’ll design a mountain charger to accomplish the task.
He also offers a suite of unique designs that he can tweak. A few favorites include the Shovel Gunn, with a pointed shovel-head and tapered nose-to-tail design; the Standard, Notice’s go-to board; and the uber-light Park Avenue.
Ellingson uses a blend of poplar, aspen and pine to create his wood cores, woven fiberglass or carbon fibers, custom-formed sidewalls, vibration dampening elastometric foil and custom camber and rocker profiles.
Every element of a Notice Snowboard can be customized – shape, size, profile, materials and graphics. That includes the rocker and camber profile, the edge and rail design, the stiffness and flexibility, as well as custom graphics on the top and bottom.
Several boards in his shop feature photographs and designs by friends like Whitefish native Canyon Florey and graphic designer Dersu Rhodes, who has worked for Reef apparel.
Notice Snowboards is developing a line of split boards and experimenting with different carbon fiber weaves that could make a board 40-60 percent lighter than anything currently available, he sad.
“This could be a game changer,” Ellingson said.
Last year, Ellingson turned out about 60 snowboards, each of which require around 20 hours to build. With the rapid growth of his company, he has hired interns and two part-time employees to help with design and construction.
“I’m trying to support the locals as much as I can,” he said. “I want this company to be loyal to the people and community that support me.”
To learn more about Notice Snowboards visit Ellingson’s website at www.noticesnowboards.com or follow the company on Facebook.