TAHOE CITY, Calif. - Two Tahoe locals have recently combined forces to create the newest ski and snowboard shop in the basin, with 100 percent handmade hard goods.
Tahoe Snow Lab, a manufacturing space for Slant Skis and Actual Snowboards, has recently opened its doors to the public for tuning and mounting services.
Josh Bennet, founder of Slant Skis, and Chris White, founder of Actual Snowboards, began making their respective products under the same roof last year, and last month started a tuning business as well. Tahoe Snow Lab ties the two companies together, offering tuning services as well as a retail space for Slant and Actual.
"We're kind of like roommates," Bennet said.
Tahoe Snow Lab allows snow enthusiasts to buy their skis straight from the manufacturer while buying local at the same time. The two companies share a work space, building all of their boards in house.
Walking into the Snow Lab, customers can see exactly where and how their boards were made, along with meeting the people who designed and built the skis, from the picking out the materials for the core, to designing the top sheet.
"(We) can get people into how their gear is made," White explained.
Bennet began making skis in 2007 in his garage in Truckee, while White started building snowboards in 2010. The pair explained that it's taken quite a bit of trial and error to make the boards they do today. White added that one of the hardest parts of starting to make his own snowboards is finding the proper materials.
Both companies use sustainable materials, including bamboo cores.
"(We're) experimenting with as many green products as possible," Bennet said.
"Bamboo is durable and sustainable," White added.
Bennet explained that bamboo is cut down when it's 5 years old, as opposed to other materials that are cut down at 45 years. Bamboo also continues to grow after it's cut down, adding to its sustainability.
"It's incredible light and strong," Bennet said.
Tahoe Snow Lab offers some of the lowest prices on tunes, starting with a basic machine wax at $5.
"Who better to tune your equipment than the people who make it?" White added.
Tuning services range from a simple machine or iron wax, to the "Super Duper Deluxe" tune, with a diamond polish edge finish and fluorinated wax. Most tunes can be done while waiting, or in busier times, overnight, Bennett added.
The factory doubles as a retail space, giving Slant Skis and Actual Snowboards a showroom where Bennet and White can explain their creations to customers.
"(We want to) work with the customer as much as possible, to get them what they want," Bennet said.
Both companies will be offering demos this winter out of the Snow Lab. The Tahoe Snow Lab invites the public to come check out the shop on Saturday, Dec. 15, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., to meet the manufacturers and take advantage of 2 for 1 tunes and snacks.