The Winterstick story began in the late '60s when Winterstick founder Dimitrije Milovich met up with New Jersey surfboard shaper, Wayne Stoveken. Stoveken, whom Milovich believes to be the first snowboarder, had started making snow-surfboard designs, and he showed Milovich a few construction ideas. Inspired by Stoveken's designs and also by the now-famous surf film Five Summer Stories, Milovich started making his own snowboards. In 1972, Milovich dropped out of college and moved to Utah to work full time on developing his new designs in the Wasatch backcountry. Later that year, he patented the first modern snowboard, the Swallowtail.
In 1974, Milovich began making snowboards out of his garage for friends, and for people who had read about them in articles in Newsweek and Playboy Magazines. Based on interest generated by those articles, in 1976 Milovich founded Winterstick. The company produced a total of 1500 boards in two different models, the Roundtail and the Swallow Tail. Exhibited at the SIA and NSGA tradeshows, the boards drew little interest from retailers. But despite industry disinterest, snowboarding as a sport grew steadily, and Winterstick grew with it, as did Burton, Sims, and Barfoot.
In 1981, a couple of Winterstick team riders went France at the invitation of Alain Gaimard, marketing director at Les Arcs. There, Regis Rolland watched them surf the French powder and bought a board. After being featured in a Les Arcs publicity film, Rolland went on to star in the Apocalypse Snow movies that introduced Europe to the sport of snowboarding.
Although the sport was growing in both the U.S. and Europe, it wasn't growing fast enough to maintain a self-capitalized business against growing competition from established snowsports firms. In 1986 Milovich moved on to launch Radius Engineering, now a thriving business creating high performance composite parts for aerospace, sporting goods and automotive clients.
Winterstick was given fresh breath in 1994 when a Utah sports retailer, who had previously worked with Milovich, resurrected the company. Winterstick Snowboard Co., based in Salt Lake City, produced a full line of modern-design snowboards and revived the now-legendary Swallowtail. The new company focused on the backcountry heritage that the original Winterstick had cultivated. Winterstick Snowboards grew gradually from 1995 to 1999. Through intelligent design Winterstick had solidified its position as the "First Name in Backcountry."
40 years from its first turns, Winterstick is still all about individuality, innovation and performance. While many of the other original snowboard brands have evolved into large corporations, we remain small. We want to grow and spread the vibe, but Winterstick still represents the soul of snowboarding. In 2007, the company reemphasized its grassroots sensibility through a manufacturing partnership with the Wagner Custom factory in Placerville, Colo. Winterstick's big-mountain boards are now based on intelligent deep-powder design by Tom Burt and Pete Wagner, using precision hand-crafted manufacturing techniques in a solar- and wind-powered factory.
Snowboarding should raise your adrenaline and build your personality, not make you into a fashion statement. Winterstick builds boards that will elevate your soul, not your popularity.