Snowboarding’s a great way to bring your family together, whether through an on-snow experience, the après after, or in Riglet Ambassador, Mark Yates’ case, through building a DIY Throwback snowboard with his kids. Learn about Mark’s family activity in his recent guest-blog post:
Living in the city, about an hour’s drive from the nearest rideable mountain, has its challenges when trying to snowboard as much as possible with my 5-year olds. Inspired by memories of snowboarding in my childhood backyard, I wanted to create a more flexible way to stoke the kids out between our trips north. Enter the Burton DIY Throwback board.
After a bit of haggling with my wife, who was convinced I was angling for another snow toy for myself, we agreed that Santa would bring one at Christmas. I was unsure how the kids would react. But, given how much they A: love snowboarding, and B: love tinkering around in my workshop, I figured it would be a hit. My goal was to get them involved as much as possible at every step. I wanted them to help them build a sense of pride and excitement for the project.
Choosing the perfect shape
After a bit of explanation as to what the rectangular piece of wood would become, we took advantage of a super cold weekend in January to get to work. First, we pulled out the collection of boards I’ve amassed over the years. We laid out a few for the kids to take a closer look at to decide on a shape. I was hoping for something with a blunted tip and was psyched when they ended up choosing a 2008 Jeremy Jones snowboard model for the nose template. We couldn’t find a good tail shape in my quiver to use as a guide. Both kids were intrigued by the idea of a fishtail, so we decided to design one freehand.
Building the DIY Throwback
I clamped the Jones board over the Throwback and let the kids trace a line around it. To their dismay, I manned the jigsaw to cut out the nose. (Safety first!) We each experimented with different tail shapes, and when we agreed on one together, I cut that out too. Next, we sanded. I gave each of the kids a sanding block and let them go at the edges. Once everything was smoothed and reasonably symmetrical, we attached the tow rope.
They were pumped when I let them use the power drill on their own to put holes in the nose of the board. We then took a unique approach to the traction pad design and applied it to the top of the board. Finally, we were ready to ride our new DIY Throwback.
Taking it to the snow
Luckily, the cold weather had brought fresh snow, so our first excursion was to the local sledding hill. The packed surfaces were a bit fast, so each kid took a few runs on a gentler slope. The following weekend we went to a golf course with our new board after a big dumping of snow, and it really clicked for the kids. After a few runs on his sled, my son zeroed in on the Throwback, dropping into a sand trap filled with powder. He started to get the hang of it and spent several hours making fresh tracks.
Because he wasn’t strapped in like on his regular snowboard, he was able to play with his stance, (foot positioning.) He even experimented with snowboarding switch, (riding with the non-dominant foot forward) for a few runs. I could see his confidence grow and the stoke was evident. Needless to say, he was pretty bummed when it was time to head home. For the next few weeks, every so often he would get a far-off look in his eye and say: “Pops, I really, really like that Throwback board.”
Fun for the whole family
The DIY Throwback was a great addition to our family quiver of snowboards, snowskates, and sleds. It comes out whenever we get a fresh snowfall and head to the local hill. The DIY nature of it is super rad as well since it gave the kids a taste of designing and building something themselves. (They’ve already talked about making a skate deck next). I wouldn’t be surprised if Santa brought a couple more DIY Throwbacks next year…