For some snowboarding is a hobby. For a local Jackson Hole snowboard icon like Mikey Franco it’s a way of life. In the last thirty years Mikey has traveled the globe on a snowboard, teaching and guiding across the peaks of Jackson Hole to Japan. His JHMR career began during the winter of 1990/91 as one of the resorts original snowboard instructors. Nowadays if Mikey’s not guiding at JHMR you’ll find him in his shop shaping snowboards. Since 2010 Franco Snowshapes has been handcrafting custom snowboards influenced by the terrain and conditions that the mountains around Jackson Hole offer up. The shapes are timeless, built with passion and made to last.
“In the lab” with Mikey, designing shapes as beautiful to look at as they are fun to ride.
Mikey’s always had an appetite for snowboard design, but it was a trip to Japan that truly set him on his current path. He was consulting for Burton Snowboards at one of their global Learn to Ride (LTR) events when he met Taro Tomai, founder and shaper of legendary Gentemstick Snowboards. Inspired by their surf-like style, curves and craftsmanship, he decided he wanted to design a shape with his own twist. With the help of longtime friends Mike Parris and Mot Gatehouse of Jackson-based Igneous Skis, he built his first board. Soon thereafter he began experimenting with different shapes and sizes. Franco Snowshapes was born.
With years of experience under his belt teaching, guiding and riding around Jackson Hole, he understood the ingredients that make for a ripping snowboard. From tip to tail, camber to sidecut, and flex to float, each board is artfully crafted to bring out the best in those that stand on it. Simply put, his shapes are soulful representations of the terrain throughout the valley and his desire to surf down them. Not to mention, he spends hours-on-end handcrafting every board to its precise specs before they walk out the shop door.
This season Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and to aid in the celebration Franco Snowshapes is releasing a limited edition Anniversary Series. Each of the five boards feature a unique shape, topsheet and materials built for riding the terrain of Jackson Hole. In addition, you’ll find Mikey’s signature and the iconic Jackson Hole 50th Anniversary logo engrained on each board. With Mikey helping shape the history of snowboarding in Jackson Hole throughout the years, it’s only fitting to have him build a series of snowboards as unique and entrancing as the mountain itself.
You can buy the 50th Anniversary Series at Hole in the Wall Snowboard Shop which is located at the Bridger Center in Teton Village, right upstairs at JH Sports. For more information on Franco Snowshapes and their handcrafted snowboards visit http://www.francosnowshapes.com/.
The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort 50th Anniversary Line designed by Mikey is a representation of JHMR’s snowboard culture, history of riding and a product of the Jackson Hole terrain. The mountain played a large role in shaping his life in snowboarding and this lineup is an ode to the resort he loves calling home. Boards include 160 cm and 150 cm locally sourced beetle-kill Whitebark Pine Swallowtails, a ‘47 Pintail, ‘56 Big Nose Pintail and a ‘58 Squaretail. Only one of each limited edition 50th anniversary boards exists.
’60 (MEN’S) + ‘50 (WOMEN’S) WHITEBARK PINE SWALLOWTAIL $2,499
These Swallowtail boards were shaped not only for a surfy riding experience in powder but also to allow effortless carving on hardpack. The boards are made with eco-friendly bio-resins, basalt fiber and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort sourced beetle-killed Whitebark Pine. Both boards feature an engraved GPS location telling where the Whitebark Pine tree was harvested, as well as the resort’s 50th anniversary logo.
‘47 (WOMEN’S) PINTAIL $1,699
Born from the fast and tight Jackson Hole Dick’s Ditch Banked Slalom, this ‘47 Women’s Pintail was made to take charge, straight-line and stomp. The long running length combined with just the right amount of taper gives the board consistent edge to snow contact. It’s made with triaxial fiberglass, carbon stringers and a camphorwood topsheet.
‘56 (MEN’S) BIG NOSE PINTAIL $1,299
Mikey dubbed this board the Quiver Killer because this board simply does it all. It’s great in powder, on groomers, and everything in between. It likes to go fast and will have you jumping for joy like a kid in a candy store in all conditions and on any terrain. It’s built with a CVG maple core, triax fiberglass and finished with a translucent gloss black topsheet. The board is as functional as it is stylish – the top sheet features the 50th Anniversary logo and is see through to the core in proper lighting.
‘58 (MEN’S) SQUARE TAIL $1,299
At first glance this board is a showstopper. With the large nose its shape makes it a dynamic carving board that excels in mid-deep powder days. Riders that like to lay it down on perfect corduroy will feel at home on this board. It’s crafted with a CVG maple core, triax glass and a translucent gloss black topsheet featuring the 50th Anniversary logo.
Left to right in below photo:
160 Men’s Whitebark Pine Swallowtail, 158 Men’s Square Tail, 156 Men’s Big Nose Pintail, 147 Women’s Pintail, 150 Women’s Whitebark Pine Swallowtail
A look at Mikey, hard at work in the shop: