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A summer alternative to snowboarding

Shane Macomber/Vail DailyJeff Smith, left, and John Cummins, right, cruise on longboards made out in Smith's garage in Eagle Vail.
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EAGLE-VAIL ” Jeff Smith’s creations are the Scud, the Cruise and the Tomahawk. But they bomb hills, not enemies.

They are longboard skateboards that Smith creates for his company, Jeff Smith Designs. The longboards hang in neat rows in Smith’s workshop, which is his garage in Eagle-Vail.

“Snowboarding has gone so huge,” Smith said. “It’s a good summer transition.”

He and his partner, John Cummins of Edwards, sold 50 boards this year, up from 20 last year and 8 during their first year.

Smith, an electrician, got into skateboard-making when he found some extra wood on a construction site and built a board for his daughter. He collected other pieces of wood from friends at a furniture company to build more longboards.

Cummins, a friend and also an electrician, jumped at the chance to join Smith in the venture.

“I said, ‘Man, I’ll help you. I haven’t seen anything like this,” he said.

Now, the company has four models: the Scud, the Cruise and the Tomahawk ” 46-inch boards ” as well as the Fatboy, which is 33 inches long.

Their skateboards are modeled after old-school surfing longboards, with wood designs rather than flashy decals.

The boards are good at carving down hills, especially on recently paved roads. The two partners ride their boards on Vail Pass or down Village Road from Beaver Creek. The boards are also a popular mode of transportation around town, on streets and bike paths.

The price tag is $395 for the 46-inch boards and $345 for the 33-inch board. They also sell a snow skate ” a hardwood deck with a ski-style board below ” for $295.

Those prices are a bit higher than prices for plywood-deck longboards produced by companies like Sector 9. But Smith and Cummins offer handmade, relatively thick boards made from woods like koa and babinga.

“There’s an innate coolness to having something that’s original and unique,” Cummins said.

They even send their skateboard trucks to Denver to be repainted black.

“We try to do the little things to separate us from other people out there,” Cummins said.

Cummins, who has lived in the valley since 1984, has two teenage children. Smith, a local since 1990, has two kids, ages 4 and 6.

Smith said he’s a committed product tester for his skateboards.

“As many nights as I can,” he said. “My kids go to the swimming pool all the time. They jump on the bike and I take the board.”

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.

Vail, Colorado


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