You don’t need to spend much time on the slopes to know that winter sports enthusiasts are the ultimate gearheads. Beyond the outrageous fashion fads (neon one-piece, anyone?), design and technology breakthroughs allow manufacturers to roll out more lightweight and higher-performance gear every season.
The steady advances are great for bombing down runs on powder days and pretending you’re Lindsey Vonn. But the heaps of old skis, snowboards, and boots that get tossed into garages, sheds, and trash piles are a wasteful legacy. Notwithstanding niche craftsfolk who turn their share of old skis into fences and Adirondack chairs, much of this stockpile is destined for the landfill.
Greg Schneider is well aware of the problem. As recycling program manager for Snowsports Industries America, an industry trade group, Schneider has spent three seasons collecting castoff equipment from a handful of retail outlets in Colorado and Utah, and he’s already built up a 300-ton massif of ancient gear.
His next challenge? Finding a use for the stuff.