Weston Snowboards getting big exposure from new team rider Kyle Mack
February 14, 2017
MINTURN — How does a small company like Weston Snowboards get a top-level snowboarder to ride its board at X Games?
By making a great board.
At 19 years old, slopestyle rider Kyle Mack is what your grandmother might call a growing boy. Every time you see the Michigan native he's a little bigger and stronger than he was when you last saw him. Chris Laske — Mack's coach growing up — says it has been that way for the last three or four years.
"He's hit a few growth spurts over the years," says Laske. "With that we've seen big improvements in his riding."
With Mack's growth and impressive competition results has come a side order of heel drag, when the heel of a rider's boot hits the snow and causes him or her to lose the carve into the snow on the heel edge.
Through Laske, was Mack was introduced to Weston Snowboards.
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"I tried out the Weston Logger a little while ago and liked the width and profile, and I had no heel drag," Mack said. "So I used it at X Games and really liked it."
For Weston, having Mack on their board meant maximum exposure as the U.S. Snowboarding Team athlete competed in three separate televised events at this year's X Games. For a small snowboard company, that kind of coverage is unheard of.
"We didn't really think about the exposure that much when we gave him the board, we were more just interested to see what a rider of his caliber thought of our product," Weston Snowboards co-owner Mason Davey said. "We were excited to hear that he really liked it; it just sort of reinforced what we've known all along about our boards, that they're a snowboarder's snowboard."
Mack took second at Shaun White's Air + Style big air competition in Los Angeles last year, and followed that up with top honors at the 2016 Burton U.S. Open Snowboard Championships, a feat the U.S. Snowboarding Team called one of the most prestigious wins in the sport.
At X Games, Mack competed in both slopestyle and big air, making finals in slopestyle for three televised appearances. In the big air competition he was the only American.
"To have the only American riding a Weston at X Games is kind of mind blowing," Davey said.
The next weekend, Mack hit the podium at the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix, a World Cup event in Mammoth, California, which attracted all of the top riders in the world.
"Of all the athletes, to think of getting someone on a Weston who is this much of an up and comer is really a best case scenario," Davey said. "We really see Kyle Mack as a total embodiment of snowboarding who is a perfect fit for our brand. Don't be surprised if you see a Kyle Mack signature board coming out of Minturn in the next few years."
'APPRECIATES ALL FORMS'
Davey and Laske have become close since Laske became the head snowboarding coach for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and moved to Minturn a couple of years ago. Their relationship is based on a mutual respect — Laske respects Davey for the great products he puts out and the hard work that goes into them, and Davey respects Laske for the long hours he puts in teaching kids to snowboard and ensuring the sport's success in the future. They both respect Mother Nature above all else, and frequent the backcountry together.
"That's where you really get to know a person," Davey said.
Laske is originally from Michigan, which is where he first met Mack. Laske became the young snowboarder's coach when Mack was in grade school and they've remained close ever since.
Mack now lives in Silverthorne and joins Davey and Laske for backcountry adventures.
For Davey, seeing the two interact in the backcountry was the final indicator that Mack will become a big part of the future of snowboarding. Before Mack, Weston's major claim to fame in the industry was its award-winning splitboards, which help riders venture into the backcountry.
"He appreciates all forms of the sport, not just competition," Davey said. "We couldn't be more excited to have him as a part of the team."