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 (if you can find it!), 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', after the local town we hail from but when better website hosting became available the sites name changed to 'Board4Life' .
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 a Mr Phillip Evans (known to virtually all of the world as 'Taff'). He also quickly became addicted. It was this threesome which was the nucleus for Board 4 Life.
So I had now become a 'boarder'. By that I mean snowboarding 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 UK pro-riders Hamish Duncan, Juliet Elliot and Neil McNab in Chamonix, written 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 riders who posted about their 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 were Dense and Stinkyfish. Sadly neither exist in their orginal guise but all credit to those who ran them for the laid-back but business like approach they took; an ethos that we have followed. And the final piece to push me towards creation of this company occured indirectly when I brought my second snowboard back 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. The net result was, a snowboard clothing company and plenty of stickers for my board!And so forth
The above is (almost) what I wrote word for word back in 2003; when the Board 4 Life website transformed into a snowboard inspired streetwear online retailer. Quite a lot has changed since then (although the three initial members remain involved to some level in the company) the next nine years saw various people come and go. The sport itself progressed, fashions changed, pro-snowboarders came and went ( indeed if you follow some of the links above you will see this to be the case) but our passion for snowboarding remained. Here's a brief summary of the ensuing years...
In '04 we headed to Val D'Isere for the first week of Feb and in the second week of March headed to Courchevel . We also sponsored our first event; High & Dry at Chatham Dryslope. Towards the end of the year (as we approached the start of the 2005 season) we started getting into the swing of things by heading to the Dropstitch premiere and the SCUK launch.2005
The start of the year again saw us return to 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. Come the end of Feb we all headed for Sauze D'Oulx, a firm favourite that we had visited several times before. 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 also made the snowboard press now; Board 4 Life was featured in the 'homegrown' article of Whitelines issue 60, sweet! We had also aimed to visit Riksgransen but cicumstances meant this never happened, we did though create 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 (sadly now closed) Riders Retreat.2006
Another year and more snow to be hit. We saw the new year in at Passo Tonale and then headed back to Courchevel in Feb for another great week at one of Pleisure holidays chalets. 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. Ian completed his instructor course as well to become 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. 2006 was before Facebook had hit the world, back then we had a MySpace page of all things!2007
The years were racing by and we continued to add new designs to our stock;girls gear, snowboard t-shirts, snowboard hoodies and beanies were all boosted in '07. The snow for the year was a bit disappointing which our hoped for heli-boarding in Bansko was a no go. We did have a great stag-do for oen of the new Board 4 Life members 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 as 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.2008
Snowboarding wise it was St Anton and Courchevel. Company wise 2008 saw a major shakeup in how Board 4 Life was run. With the departure of two of our members it was no longer been possible to run Board 4 Life in the same way as we had done previously, so we are starting the process of diversifying. This was the slow start of the shift of our designs to sub labels (the culmination of which is the website you are looking at now!). It was 2008 that saw the birth of our Epic Apparel brand Oh and we saw in the start of the following season with several day in Avoriaz in December 20082009
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 include England. Another achievement was being able to ride at my 'local' hill - White Horse Hill in Uffington, Oxfordshire! We toyed with stocking other brands than our own, it was a short lived venture but we do still stock Snowsphere created designs. In the summer we sponsored and attended a fund raising snow jam at MK Xscape for Marwell zoo. It was 2009 that also saw the arrival of our first Aspect Snow t-shirts and the new brand (which is where you will find all our new designs now) was born. 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, 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. Which then involved an extra unexpected Manchester to London bus journey!2010
The snow of December 2009 was just a precursor to what was to drop in the UK during January 2010, which 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, some of the Ridgeway and Boars Hill (which days after gained notoriety from local police officers sledging the snow with their riot shields!). We also visited the proper mountains of Austria for two trips to Mayrhofen in March and December (split by a long weekend to Chamonix in April).2011
In 2011 we focused on the Aspect Snow brand with the launch of a dedicated website at www.aspectsnow.co.uk. As part of this two new members (Gareth Richards and Greg Tinker) joined the company to help move us forward. For our snow fix we visited Pas de la Casa in Andorra, a country which I had not visited for many years and is in fact where I first learned to snowboard (way back in 1998)!2012 & 2013
Not a great deal happened with the Board 4 Life website over this time to be honest, as we focused on Aspect Snow and looked at branching out into skate and surf.Board 4 Life 2.0
And that takes us to now (well it does if you're reading this in 2012!); the launch of this, the new website. We are no longer running as a company (unfortunately) as it simply became impossible for people to commit the time needed. From 2014 Board 4 Life will be run solely by me (Dave), the website will still be selling a number of designs and will also be bringing you articles, reviews and news from my 15+ years experience of snowboarding.