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How These Japanese Artisans Make Some of the World’s Best Snowboards

Offshore Snow Shapes crafts some of the fastest, coolest—and most beautiful—equipment on the slopes.

Offshore Snow Shapes snowboard Aaron Jamieson

In the beech woods of Japan’s northernmost island, you’ll find a small workshop often buried in more than six feet of snow. The white stuff is the legendary “Champagne” powder that has made Niseko, Hokkaido, a must-visit for skiers and snowboarders from all over the world. It was here, in 2013, that Josh Monin, a devotee from Australia, established Offshore Snow Shapes to create boards of uncompromising quality.

Ranging in price from about $900 for basic models to $3,770 for custom creations, Offshore boards are handmade and about the furthest thing from a mass-produced factory board on the market.

“Building a snowboard from start to finish gives me a special bond with it,” says Offshore master craftsman Tomohito Yamazaki. “The snowboard becomes a piece of art, something with soul. Something for the rider to express themselves on.”

Aside from its handmade advantage, Offshore’s appeal lies in its components, sourced both domestically and from abroad. “I don’t sacrifice material quality for ease of location, or for marketing, to say it’s Japanese—the German steel we use for edges, for instance, is unmatched,” says Monin, who in the beginning did everything from manufacturing to sales himself but now has three others on staff. “Every single component that goes into my boards is the best.”

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