Meet Ettore Barabino: The Italian Custom Powder Board Maker
This Italian snowboarder couldn't find a powder board that suited him - so he made his own!
It would be fair to say Ettore Barabino is obsessed with powder. The 51-year-old Italian web designer has been riding the fresh stuff for over thirty years in his local resort of Sestriere, west of Turin in Italy.
It was only in 2012 that he set up Peace, Love and Powder, his own custom powder board making workshop deep in the Italian mountains with a bunch of mates.
To say his designs are a bit wacky is an understatement. They put new big brand boards like the Endeavour Archetype to shame with their giant floaty surfboard-style decks, extreme swallowtails and wacky shaped including one shaped like a shaka sign!
We had a chat with Ettore to see how he got into making such crazy looking boards...
So Ettore, why did you start snowboarding in the first place?
Back in the early 1980s, I was a skiier and I loved riding powder. One day, a dear friend of mine showed me one of the very first Burton snowboard videos and I decided to give it a go.
How did you get involved with making custom powder boards?
Back in 2008, after decades of riding standard powder boards, I started to look at different ways to ride Grangesis, one of my favourite powder runs in Sestriere.
I wanted a board with extra float, more speed and faster manoeuvrability to get the most out of riding fresh powder. There was nothing on the market at that time that matched what I was looking for.
I was riding a Regis Rolland swallowtail at the time, but the problem was the width. We wanted at least 40cm. My Winterstick was 34cm wide, while the Nitro Swallowtail was only 32cm.
So I decided to make my own board asymmetric swallowtail with my friend Gionata Craviotto, using the Winterstick proportions.
But we came across a problem. We contacted all the leading custom shapers we could find but no one had a mould large enough for our design. So, we left it at that.
There weren't any powder boards on the market that matched what I was looking for... So I made my own!
So, what prompted you to start making boards after that pitfall?
Well I found a video by Corey Smith, founder of Spring Break Snowboards, on Facebook. He was making boards with just one layer of wood without edges and P-Tex in these fantastic shapes.
I immediately told Gionata about it and we decided to involve two other powder lovers, Paolo Nelzi and Stefano Milella. So that autumn in 2012, we shut ourselves inside Paolo's workshop and started to work on a template. This was the beginning of Peace, Love & Powder!
How do you go about making them?
We draw the boards on a computer first. All our boards are made from wood, so we buy the materials from a local shop. Then we glue together two or three sheets of marine plywood with a resin. This is then put in a press for 24 hours.
After that we cut the board out, finish the tail, nose and edges. Put a cloth and resin on top of the boar, fix the bindings and that's it!
You've made some crazy shaped boards! Do you design them yourself?
My friends and I design the boards together as a collective. My wife and daughter also like to get involved as well.
Decoration wise, sometimes it's chosen by the person who has made the board. Other times we come up with it together. My daughter Bianca, aged 10, is currently making some beautiful textures for the new boards.
How many boards have you made in total?
We've been running for just over 18 months now, and have made 24 boards and a pair of skis!
Do you have many customers?
At the moment, we haven't got any customers - but we haven't looked for any either! We just make them for ourselves and friends. We recently went to the Madesimo Freeride Festival and had lots of requests for boards, so we're now exploring this too.
Find out more about Peace, Love and Powder Custom Snowboards on their website here.
You can check out how Ettore's PLP boards ride in his GoPro video below...