After fifteen years as a brand, Capita’s new snowboard factory opens in Austria.
When Elan, the factory that produced a large chunk of the world’s snowboard brands, collapsed in 2013, it looked like the end for European snowboard production. With the cost advantages that many brands experience by being built in the middle or far east, it would have been easy for the Elan-produced brands to move their production that way. Not Capita. They put a plan into place to rescue the Elan factory and ensure that all the brands scheduled to produce their boards there for 2015 were delivered on time. While that momentous effort was being managed, they also bgan work on a brand new factory to ensure European-built snowboards for generations to come.
The Capita Mothership is now open and we were invited to go to the launch day. As you drive through the village of Feistritz an der Gail, Austria, The Mothership is visible from hundreds of metres away – a beautiful, recycled wood-clad building with a huge backlit ‘Capita’ logo on the outside, standing proudly but subtly on the outskirts of the community. I felt like Charlie Bucket going into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and the facility did not disappoint. Everything is spotless, the production flow is flawless and you can really see the pride that everyone involved – from the owners to the workforce – puts into their factory. And it is ‘their’ factory.
The whole project was conceived, designed, built – and approved – in conjunction with the local community and the new facility hosts all tooling, milling, printing, pressing, grinding, finishing, packaging and logistics in-house. The advanced R&D lab has unique facilities like a groomed a 3/4 mile long testing slope on-site, while more involved testing can be done at the nearby ski area of Nassfeld. The Mothership was designed to be a zero CO2 emission, 100 percent hydropowered factory – fuelled by a new hydropower station built in cooperation with the local community. Capita have also heavily invested in sustainable initiatives, such as the development and use of reforestation certified wood cores and advanced industrial material recycling. Healthier production techniques will also be utilised, like water-based inks, plant-based resin and solvent-less finishing.
The old Elan factory that Capita took over was the biggest snowboard production facility in the world. The Mothership is intended to be the best. As well at the entire Capita range, The Mothership will build snowboards for other brands, all of whom will benefits from the same advanced and eco friendlier production techniques. The future of European built snowboards is secure.