SPARK R&D looks back on the last 10 years of products and innovations.

When an idea hits – there is a spark – energy is released and the gears start turning. For us, that spark happened as Will (Founder, Owner, and Chief Designer) took his first strides into the backcountry on a splitboard. He thought…

“This totally beats snowshoeing, but could be so much better with a binding made just for splitboards. There has to be a better way for snowboarders to travel back here.”
Will, being a mechanical engineer, began designing a splitboard specific binding that would greatly improve the backcountry experience for splitboarders and snowboarders all over the world.

The goal initially was not to start a company, but as more splitboarders saw the design and heard about the performance, a waiting list formed and demand grew. With enough interest and encouragement, patents were applied for and Spark R&D was born.

A decade has gone by since we unveiled a primitive prototype of the first splitboard specific binding on splitboard.com. It has been a fun, fulfilling, and really exciting time to go from concept to company.

Early on we contracted out the manufacturing to other machine shops and vendors, but the lead times were long and we were antsy to have total control over the final product. So bit by bit, year by year, we started to acquire machines, tools, equipment, and staff that could allow us to manufacture the entire product line from start to finish.

Now as we celebrate our 10-year anniversary we are proud to say that at Spark R&D we:

design, 3D scan, 3D print, CNC machine, CNC turn, bend, punch, cut, tumble, anodize, injection mold, print, laser engrave, assemble, inspect, test, package, and ship all in-house.
We’ve had our share of challenges along the way. From late shipments and denied bank loan proposals to short buckle springs and machines catching on fire – we have lived it all and at times it has seemed like we might not survive. But like most things, as we learn and grow from experience we are a better company and better people because of it.

We are extremely proud of our journey and even more excited about the future. Living at the foot of the Bridger Mountains in Montana, getting to ride and test our own products made in our own factory is the stuff that dreams are made of.

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About The Author

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Colin Balke is a content editor for Splitboard.com who lives in Northern California. When not plucking away on a keyboard, he can be found splitboarding, camping, backpacking, or hanging out with family and friends.

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