Keeping Outdoor Sports Alive with a Life-long Passion for Snowboarding

Snowboard brand KORUA SHAPES is committed to lessening their impact and contributing to causes tackling pressing environmental issues. In this piece, cofounder Nicholas Wolken writes about his passion for snowboarding, the outdoors and how watching nature change as he grew up inspired him to take action:

I started snowboarding 9 years old and it has been my passion ever since. Some of my first snowboard memories are trying to make the 12 km ski rundown my home mountain without a single crash but still going as fast as possible. This was our weekly routine during winter and brought me in to competing. When I turned 13 years old, we started training in summers on the surrounding glaciers as well.

Pictured: Nicholas Wolken

Now, 24 years later, I cofounded our own snowboard company KORUA SHAPES and we need to test our prototypes in summer on those same glaciers and are depended on kids developing stoke for snowboarding on those same slopes.

But when I step out of the gondolas these days, the change is so dramatic it makes my heart sink. My childhood routine run has become a thing of chance possible on only very few days of the season when freak snowfalls meet with the once common low temperatures.

The impressively large and beautiful blue glacier mouth which had caught my attention as a kid has vanished, in fact the whole glacier has receded over 700m up hill to the point were I can’t see it anymore. The fact that winters are becoming significantly shorter in our area (37 days in the last 50 years!) really makes me dwell on the decision of starting a snowboard company in the light of this trend.

If we want to keep outdoor snow sports alive, we need to change & give back as individuals but even more so as companies who carry more responsibility.

As a business we take action and compromise some of the toll we take by taxing ourselves with a mere 1% of our gains. This has been a great and effective way for us to support the people whose business & skill it is to fight for and save our home planet as we know it. We decided to support two very different organizations. Starting off with a local Protect our Winters chapter and adding the campaign “Save Paradise Forest” to our portfolio.”Save Paradise Forest” are fighting against the ongoing illegal deforestation of the last old growth forests we have in eastern Europe. We think it makes most sense to start to invest in the areas we as a company affect most and the ones we are dependent on like wood for example as a source for our snowboard cores. Trees are also essential in filtering carbon out of the air, which indirectly will lead us to having more snow. In this sense, we look at the donations through 1% for the Planet as a long-term investment and a comfortable & time efficient way to act upon our own values which we believe are also shared by our customers.

Written by Nicholas Wolken.

All photos by Korua Shapes.

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