Origins of 'Board 4 Life' i...
Board 4 Life started as a company in 2003. However it's formation began way before that and in fact, in the way of many good things, started in a pub....
It was '98 when a mate of mine came up with the idea of going snowboarding. At the time I had little clue what it was, thought the boards were skateboard size and was sure skiing would be a better idea! Little did I realise what I had let myself in for, an addiction had started (the tale of how that addiction grew can be read in DCMT Snowboard #10, this 'new' sport had inspired me to write about it to a magazine).
Anyway, in '99 two more soon to be boarders
joined our ranks. One of them a friend of mine since my earliest memories was
one Ian Carter. He soon surpassed me with his boarding talent and it became
abundantly clear that he too was addicted. So much so that he created a web site
to tell the world about this new, life stealing, hobby. Originally under the
name of 'Abingdon Boarding Crew' (ABC y'see - geddit') after the local town we
hail from. When proper hosting became available the webs sites name later
changed to 'Board4Life.co.uk'
It was around this point that I first had the idea of clothing, with a snowboard slant (although the ideas I had at the time would have required a professional snowboarder and photographer to pull
off, maybe one day!) I took over the running of the website - as Ian had not updated it for a good many months. After a flurry of activity I then... promptly ceased to update it for a good many months (OK years!). During this time a whole number of other people, old friends and new had joined us on our now twice or thrice yearly trips to the mountains. One of these was and is Phillip Evans (known to virtually all of the world as 'Taff'). He also quickly became addicted.
I had now 'become' a boarder. By that I mean boarding is what I live, sleep and talk. I'm never going to reach the heady heights of 'pro' (too large a fear gland!) but the experience of being on that board is literally like a drug. I had now; told the world in a national magazine about my addiction, been to the Livigno Burton European Open
where I've watched world class pro-riders, ridden with Hamish Duncan, Juliet Elliot and Neil McNab in Chamonix (www.kommunity.com) and done a few pages of HTML to try to let others know of the places I'd been. I'd also (via www.theboarder.co.uk) joined a rapidly growing number of boarders who posted about there love of the sport on the
unofficial UK Snowboard forum.
Now, although as I mentioned before, my first ideas of t-shirts came around the turn of the millenium two companies got there first. Both of them came to my attention via the web forum and I guess if they hadn't have existed I may not have thought getting 'Board 4 Life' off the ground was feasible. The
companies in question are Dense and Stinkyfish. All credit to them for the good feedback they get and the
laid-back but business like approach they take - an ethos we intend to follow as well.
And the final piece to push me towards creation of the company was indirectly when I brought my latest board in '02. Aiming to personalise it I whacked on what stickers I could get, even though some of these were paper ones (I know, I know!), unsurprisingly after a slushy week in Risoul these had come off. So, when Ian suggested getting some stickers printed up, for our 'crew' of boarders, I promptly set about designing some. This lead me back to my T-shirt idea from years earlier and my designs started to be geared in that direction. Net result, a snowboard clothing company and plenty of stickers for my board!
The new year saw our return to that white stuff we all
love. All of the Board 4 Life crew hit Val D'Isere in the first week of
February. Then in the first week of March me (that's D) and Taff headed to
Courchevel. In August we sponsored our first event; High & Dry 2004. As we
approached the launch of the season we started getting into the swing of things
by heading to the Dropstitch premiere and the SCUK launch.
The start of the year again saw me and Taff head for Courchevel. The snow
wasn't that great but we still had a quality time and made some new mates.
Clothing wise we added our first girls hoody to our range as well. Come the end
of Feb we all headed for Sauze D'Oulx for mine and Carvers third time. Somehow
the snow seemed to had missed the Milky Way... but fortunately we had a dusting
when we got there and a half decent dump midweek meant some off-piste action and
plenty of tree riding. We have also made the snowboard press now. Board 4 Life
was featured in the 'homegrown' article of Whitelines issue 60, sweet! The
trip to Riksgransen never happened - instead we've created a load more girls
snowboard designs! These became available in the Summer, during which time we
also sponsored the 'Mushroom Jib Jam.' We finished the year off with an early
season December trip to Serre Chevalier, staying at The Riders Retreat.
Another year and more snow to be hit. I saw the new year in at Passo
Tonale and both myself and Taff (AKA bender) headed back to Courchevel in Feb
for another great week at Pleisure holidays chalet. It really did dump it down.
We rounded of the year with a trip to Scotland for a Easter weekender, hitting
Glencoe and then Aviemore at the same time that Lesley McKenna et al were up
there. Carver completed his instructor course as well and so is now BASI
qualified. In the summer we brought out a host of new guys and girls snowboard
designs, continuing to expand what we have to other to you, our fellow riders,
out there. We also joined the Myspace trend some additional blurb and pictures
can be found at; www.myspace.com/board4life_uk. Current plans for next year are Bansko in Bulgaria, hopefully for a spot of
heli-boarding! Also sounds likely that we'll be revisiting Sauze.
As the years race by we continue adding new designs to our stock, our
girls gear, snowboard t-shirts, snowboard hoodies and beanies have all been
boosted in '07. The snow for the year was a bit disappointing which meant no
heli-boarding in Bansko. We did have a great stag-do for Speeds in Slovenia
though. Staying in Ljubljana and touring the local resorts was wicked, Vogel
being a particular fave. Our biggest expansion of snowboarder t-shirts since we
started happened in the summer when we added six new designs. The end of the
year saw a return to Slovenia and another great trip even if the snow wasn't as
good as it had been back in March.
Snowboarding wise it was St Anton and Courchevel. Clothing wise 2008 sees
a major shakeup in how Board 4 Life is run. With the departure of two of our
members it has no longer been possible to run Board 4 Life in the same way as we
had done previously and so we are starting the process of diversifying. The name
Board 4 Life will very much remain but all of the existing designs will
gradually be shifted to sub labels. Board 4 Life will remain our website and
shop front. Many of these items will be shipped by our partner spreadshirt and
the first of these labels comes into fruition in the guise of Epic Apparel. We
hope that all who have supported us will continue to do so and we think this
gives us the chance to expand our range much more than we were previously able
to do. Saw in the new season with several days in Avoriaz.
Well speaking personally I finally managed to finally achieve my goal of going
heli boarding on the third attempt, in fact not only heliboarding but cat
boarding as well in a 'f*ck the credit crunch' fortnight in Whistler. Europe saw
some awesome snowfall and in Europe we should include England. Another
achievement was being able to ride at my 'local' hill - White Horse Hill in
Uffington, Oxfordshire! Company wise our diversification has started to gain
pace stocking Snowsphere and Boax clothing as well as the kooky ChuckBuddies! In
the summer we sponsored and attended a fund raising snow jam at MK Xscape for
Marwell zoo. This year also saw the arrival of our first Aspect Snow t-shirts as
part of the new brand. Taking previous Board 4 Life designs we now sell them in
more colour combinations than ever before, with new designs to follow in 2010.
The tail end of 2009 saw a return to St Anton for more snow shenanigans and
travel involving car to airport, Easyjet to Innsbruck, local bus to the railway
station and then a train from Innsbruck to St Anton followed by a taxi trip to
the pension (B&B) we were staying at. Most of that was booked up in an
afternoon of internet browsing - not easy but I'm sure it would have been a lot
more complicated ten years or so ago; when I was just starting out snowboarding
and the internet was not as prolific as it is these days. The return journey was
pretty much the same expect snow had hit the UK and we were diverted to land in
Manchester rather than Gatwick!
The snow of December 2009 in the UK was just a precursor to what was to drop in
January 2010, in what the media would term the big freeze. So for the second
year running I was able to ride snow in Oxfordshire, taking in the White Horse
Hill, Wittenham Clumps, Boars Hill (which days after gained notoriety from local
police officers doing the same on their riot shields!) and some of the Ridgeway.
At the time of writing (January 17th) the yeat is still young but we've added
the Drunk snowboard design to our Aspect Snow t-shirt range. Again in colours
which were not previously available. I've no definite snow trips planned
although I'm hoping to check out Mayrhofen and maybe Riksgransen later in the
but Mayrhofen did. Twice in fact! Our main focus has been getting Aspect
Snow up and running.
Board 4 Life
was created and is run by;
Dave 'D' Horlock
Ian 'Carver' Carter
Phillip 'Taff' Evans
In 2006 Andy 'Speeds' Martin also joined
D's shout outs:
To everyone I've ever ridden with (in no particular order!); Tipper, Andy Martin
(Speeds), Nick Scraggs, Ian Carter, Andrew Hirst (2pint), Colin Nicholls, Greg
Tinker, Paul Grant, James Corbett (Choz), Taff, Rob Evans (Bob Cam!), Wef, Frankie
(Mrs Speeds), Pie (my bro), Jacko, Rich (where's Joel?) Jen, Dan Westlake,
'Detroit' Dave, Colesy, Goldie, Gareth 'superman' Richards, Elle the mentalist
;), Eric & Earnie. Also Andy, Jen, AKI (ASBO), Del, Pete/Vin, Russ-e, Joel and Andy
Fox from the Ad Trip forum, Steve Hayter, Nic & Vic, Mario from Borovets, Will, Johnny and Tom from Livigno
(Millenium), Bill and Ben from Cham freeride Kommunity trip. Ash (formerly of DCMT
Snowboard) for getting us in the listings and also for being an excellent host
in Serre Chevalier, along with Kim, Pea and Lucy Passmore. Hamish Duncan, Juliet Elliot, Neil McNab and Keith
(RIP) for teaching us at Kommunity, Pete, Claire, Dave, Gav, Cherie, Mouse, Toria, Mark, Megan, Scott, Jess and Nelly from Pleisure
past and present plus the RTM guys. Big, Bald and Beautiful at Bar Cuba in St
Anton. Haze for having put up with all the time I spent on this while we were
together (and for coming on a third boarding trip despite broken ribs and a
ruptured tendon on the first two! Plus anyone else I've forgotten!
Carver's shout outs:
my brother Andy, and well, oh that'll do!
Babe Top 2005
Cannon T-Shirt 2007
Graffiti Hoody 2008
Four Riders Hoody 2009
Snow Drunk t-Shirt 2010