In the heart of the San Juan Mountains lies the small town of Pagosa Springs, CO. Once a small community, known as a place to gas up after trekking over Wolf Creek Pass, it is now a fast growing community that has much more to offer. Within 30 minutes of town, Wolf Creek Ski Area is one of the premiere spots in Colorado for Powder Hounds. Pagosa Springs is currently home to three breweries for your après needs and the world renown Springs Resort and Spa, the perfect place to hang your skis after a long day on the slopes. However, in recent years, Pagosa Springs has seen massive developmental projects that are taking away the small mountain town feel and pristine wilderness that has driven so many to call this place home. This has been a hard truth that many locals have accepted, but has been the main push for two locals, David Yerton and Julian Caler, that want to see sustainable growth of Pagosa’s snow sports industry.
These two friends, roommates, business partners, and dedicated mountain sports enthusiasts have taken their passion for snowboarding and made it their life. Out of a small shop, they’ve started their own snowboard manufacturing company, the first and only of its kind in the area. DOWP a snowboard group© wants to use their influence to restore “the stoke” back to its former glory. The partners had the option to launch their brand in areas with many more outdoor companies or opportunities such as Denver, Summit County, or Boulder, but remained true to their small town roots.
They have fought against the status quo. Julian Caler, co-founder of DOWP, says, “It only seems right to start the company in the area that inspired us to get into this industry.” With their slogan “HOMEMADE IN THE SAN JUANS,” striving for the highest quality, locally made product has been their mission. “What better place to test your product”, stated Julian, “than an area that receives the most snow in Colorado and has some of the greatest backcountry riding in the USA?”
Keeping their company in Pagosa allows them to have a positive impact on the community that they were brought up in. Within the next few years, DOWP’s goal is to employ several full time Pagosa residents who have the same passion for the industry. Also, with the absence of Venture Snowboards this year, DOWP feels confident they can fill the market for the San Juan snowboard community. DOWP hopes to diversify the employment opportunities in Pagosa beyond construction, real estate and seasonal jobs. “Through our growth and community involvement we can hopefully help this town move out of this limbo and back into the good ski town days while giving our town something to be proud of.”
While building their new company, sustainability is one of their top priorities. DOWP manufactures with a different mindset than other companies. By using bamboo as their primary raw material in the construction process they have chosen a more sustainable alternative to many other materials. With the increased impact of climate change, snowboarding could become a thing of the past. Making environmental sustainability an integral part of the snow sports industry.
“Bamboo is sustainable because of its fast growth, high yield and its versatility. It is the fastest growing plant in the world. Technically considered a grass, bamboo reaches its harvest point in 3 years compared to hardwood forests, which take hundreds of years to recover. A single harvest of a bamboo stand can yield 20 times more building material than hardwood trees.” - Julian Caler
With sustainable sourcing of materials and high quality production at the core of this company, bamboo seems to be their “silver bullet”. Light, strong and resilient, they feel that this material really is the best choice for the job at hand. This gives the customer a high caliber product with a quality mindset. DOWP is striving to do their part by sustainably sourcing their materials, maintaining a close relationship with their community, and spreading the word of environmental stewardship and sustainability.