Our story began in the winter of 1990-91. We were living in a 120 year old farmhouse (pic on left) seven miles from the base of the Wellsvilles on the west and the Bear River Range on the east. Thirty-below nights are not uncommon there in the winter. We were cold!
Backcountry riding was rather chilly, but Judy the mom applied her thirty years of tailoring and design skills to keep her two second graders, the fifth grader, and her honey warm on his limited university student income. What wonderful gear she made: hats and pants and coats out of the best fleece she could find: Malden Mills Polartec 200.
A couple of my boardhead friends whined that they were cold, too, and wanted a hat and layer coat. Then a local shop inquired about stocking a few items just to see how they'll do. It really wasn't much, just a few pieces here and there. Mostly it was to keep us warm!
We got talked into taking a few samples to a big name shop down in the city. The co-founder of Salty Peaks in SLC liked what he saw, pulled a bunch out of the box (a used cardboard box, what did we know?) and hung them up. They sold immediately. The business became real. Thanks Drew. Hope you are doing well with whatever life has handed you.
The family moved back home to California taking the small business with us. Lots of snow but the winters aren't so harsh in Mt. Shasta! While dad learned to sew, the oldest daughter learned cutting skills and the younger twins helped with prep, packing, and shipping, all of us getting as many days at the local hill as we could. Kids grew up, the shop grew a little, shrank a little, we all kept riding and sewing and learning.
Owner in 1984: First P-tex. The woodie is dead. Palomar Mtn., CA.
We kept it in the family, working out of our 900 sq. foot daylight basement that was filled with fabric, supplies, and machines. We put in color corrected lighting to provide true color matches on orders, and continued to add to our stock of high-quality fleece colors when new shades became available. We upgraded our machines so we could get gear out quicker. A little busier, more to do each day, but it didn't change our quality any. We still safety stitch all seams, serge them using Tex40 on 4-cone Juki and Pfaff sergers, and topstitch flat whenever possible for that finished look. No built in obsolescence here! Our gear lasts years, whether it's layers, a hat, or just a headband. We want you to tell your friends about us! It's our hope that, after what you choose finally gets left somewhere or blown off your head on top of a mountain, you'll come back and buy another.
We don't have a monster advertising budget like those corporations that saturate you will the reasons to buy their imports. We just continue to build and sell our gear through a few shops and small resorts in Utah, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, California, and on this web site. We've shipped to just about every state now, even the warm ones like Hawaii, Louisiana, and Florida. A few orders have even come from overseas. Amazing.
The website keeps getting e-mails from factories in China, Southeast Asia, Pakistan, telling us we could get our designs built cheaper. But what is cheap? We looked at the low quality sewing that was coming out of those nasty sweatshops and decided that wasn't what we wanted to do. Who really thinks that a 15 year old girl working ten hour days for 20 cents an hour is going to give a hoot about quality? Since the arrival of NAFTA we've watched millions of American jobs get sent overseas to those places by supposedly American companies to increase corporate profits at the expense of all of us. Kind of funny that they seem to have P.O. boxes in the Bahamas to avoid taxes. We want no part of it. We have higher standards and continue to support America and USA labor.
But we'll always complain about taxes!
After 11 years living and building gear in Mt. Shasta, California, the spring of 2004 brought forth questions about the direction Boardwarm was going. The answers said go back north to the land of longer, colder winters and deeper powder days. Springtime found a property search going for new shop. A spot close to a good riding hill of course. Had to be picky, wanted the right place, but this is Boardwarm and powder breaks are a necessity of life for sewing madness riders.
The summer of '04 saw Mtn. Threads relocate to Stevens County, State of Washington. Home of 49° North Ski Area. Pretty good looking hill, lots of trees and steeps and drop offs, plus a solid pipe and terrain park. The parking lot is exactly 25 miles from the front door. We have to properly test our products to ensure quality, don't we? What better way can you think of?
It took two months of remodeling to get the new shop building insulated and ready for the first season. Many days of frustration, sweated through hats and shirts, pounded thumbs, itchy arms, spent some big bucks, but it's there. It's been worth it, worth the chance to own the building on 8 acres on the side of a boarder-friendly ridgeline in N/E Washington.
Our new shop opened August 27, 2004.
The new shop and why we know about cold. The first foot this season, daytime temperature -2°F.
Wholesale customers, your label at no extra charge or blanks for your own embroidery.
From the mountains of Northern Washington,