Behind The Brand: Airblaster
Airblaster has been synonymous with fun since its inception, and the Portland, Ore.-based outerwear company has stayed true to its original intent of developing creative and functional snowboard apparel and accessories. With its bright colors and vibrant vibes, AB has drawn an ever-expanding loyal following and has cultivated a creative community that feels a whole lot like family.
Not afraid to rock leg bags and pastels, at Airblaster positivity still reigns supreme. Founded in 2002 in pro snowboarder Travis Parker's basement by Parker, Jesse Grandkoski and Paul Miller, the brand has come to represent the less professional side of snowboarding, but continues to house some of the most phenomenal talent ever to strap into a snowboard.
"They're all about flipping out and tweaking your n--- off; that's what I love about them," enthuses team rider Brandon Cocard. "They represent everything I love about snowboarding, and it's like one big family at Airblaster."
Snowboarding's core ethos has somewhat dissipated in a corporate landscape that has seen many small businesses fall to the wayside because they haven't had the resources to compete with bigger enterprises. Airblaster has been able to stay the course because they haven't deviated from their guiding mission. Instead of falling victim to competing with corporate-backed companies, Airblaster has defined its own path through creating exciting products and compelling media content.
"It's easy to stay true to your mission when your mission is to have fun snowboarding with your friends," states Grandkoski. "We started with a good ethos that we believed in, and we've built our entire network and company around this. When you establish a good foundation of positive, likeminded people, it creates a positive feedback loop that grows and feeds itself."
Airblaster doesn't have a million-dollar marketing budget, and most of their customer base has been built through grassroots campaigns like the Home Run series, which follows their team riders around their home mountains. It's a way for Airblaster to connect with their supporters that doesn't involve helicopters or massive private jumps; in other words, Airblaster comes off feeling accessible and inclusive.
"We've got the best customers on the planet; the snowboarders having the most fun are the ones that aren't going to quit snowboarding or slow down anytime soon," claims Grandkoski. "These are the shredders supporting Airblaster and buying our products."
Focused on the customer experience, Airblaster has created a number of products that have resonated with the industry as a whole. They were one of the first companies to release an affordable goggle when goggle prices were skyrocketing, and their base layer, dubbed the Ninja Suit, has become a standard within the snowboard community regardless of company affiliation.
Snowboarding was created out of a need to break free from the homogenized country-club atmosphere that the ski industry had created, and Airblaster has continued to live up to that ambition. As long as snowboarding has companies like Airblaster in the mix, it will continue to cultivate its own original culture. Airblaster understands that snowboarding is more than a sport or way to generate revenue; it's a lifestyle, and they live it.