Vail Valley-based Stynkboards can make your ride unique |

Vail Valley-based Stynkboards can make your ride unique

Scottt N. Miller
Vail, CO, Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY ” The idea for Stynkboards started coming to Gaby Zahorsky when the snowboard she wanted just didn’t look girly enough.

Zahorsky and Mike Elberts ” both veteran snowboard instructors ” have been friends for a while. When Zahorsky didn’t buy the board she wanted because it was ugly, she, Elberts and third partner Pablo Orlando started thinking about ways they could personalize snowboards and, just maybe, start a business venture.

After nearly two years of testing formulas, finding artists and other planning, Stynkboards was born.

“We call it the marriage of style and ink,” Elberts said.

The idea is simple ” put virtually any graphic onto the deck of a snowboard ” or a pair of skis ” using heavy vinyl and laminate similar to the material that wraps NASCAR race cars.

Stynkboards will install the deck covers for local customers, but those ordering from the web get the cover and a simple installation kit. The covers come off with a blow dryer and a little work.

Working with a crew of seven freelance artists, Stynkboards can do virtually any kind of graphics, from family photos to fanciful designs, at prices ranging from about $50 to about $150. That means there’s an almost-endless list of potential clients, from teenage shredders to rental shops.

“A lot of companies use the same gear,” Elberts said. “Having a unique top sheet can protect the board and make sure the board gets back to the right shop.”

Zahorsky said it’s not unusual for renters to take their gear back to a different shop at the end of the day. A “Joe’s ski shop” top sheet could make inventory control easier, she said.

And a board with the owner’s photo, or her dog’s picture, is theoretically a little harder to steal and sell.

Then there’s the idea of protecting the gear. While the vinyl top sheets aren’t indestructible, they are made from thick stuff. Zahorsky and Elberts said they’ve run rails, dragged boards across parking lots and heaped other forms of day-to-day abuse on covered boards.

With a handful of artists and material that will accept virtually any kind of artwork, Zahorsky said there are virtually limitless options available.

“We could put bikinis on the Playboy snowboards so VR employees could ride them on duty,” she said.

With an infinite palette, though, Stynkboards has seem some interesting requests. A snowcat driver asked for a design of Flintstones character Barney Rubble driving a snow cat. So far, the most unusual request the partners have had is for 10 top sheets of a customer playing his guitar. And, while something the company won’t do is surely lurking out there somewhere, Elberts said “we haven’t seen it yet.”

“We’ll do just about anything within reason,” Zahorsky said.

The Stynkboards palette isn’t limited to just snowboards. The company does skis, too, and can put a distinctive twist on the double boards.

“We can put a single image on two skis,” Elberts said. “It splits when the skis are apart and then is one image when they’re put together.”

And the Stynkboards idea is also going on some boards that may never be ridden.

“We’re working with a local photographer to put one image on three or four boards, then hang them on a wall,” Zahorsky said.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or

Support Local Journalism