Words: Devin Silverthorne-Lillie
Photos: Pallas Snowboards

In late March a group of product testers from all over the U.S. gathered on behalf of Backcountry Magazine, Outside Magazine and TransworldSnow in Crested Butte, Colorado.

Myself, being a first year tester was beyond stoked to be given such a great opportunity. Come the fall the magazines will be released with next years product review ranging from snowboard boots, bindings, solid decks, splitboards, touring bindings and so on.

I have to share the stoke of one particular company that I was amped on. Pallas Snowboards.


The reason why I fell in love with Pallas was one board- the Zeitgeist (a split). Not only was it amazing to tour on but it has a unique shape that serves you well in steep pow. A shovel-nose which provides super floaty turns and a shorter tail so you have acute maneuverability. It has enough flex to make her super playful but doesn’t take away from being a charger! This board was my best friend almost instantly and has a unique topsheet design thanks to Pallas custom artist Gemma Davis!


When we find companies like Pallas we gotta spread the word and the love! An ALL women engineered company made for women by women how good can it get? I love the enthusiasm to really create shapes that are innovative and designed just for women. Thanks so much to Pallas founder Stephanie Nitsch for her time and consideration in answering these questions I prepared for us.

What is the Pallas mission?
We’re on a mission to give women the best tools and opportunities to explore the mountains. Whether that means building kick ass snowboards for women riders, hosting educational workshops or working with other female businesses in as many facets of our supply chain as possible.

How does being a woman come into play in the snowboard industry especially with leadership roles?
I could regurgitate what’s been said for years about women in any sporting industry: it’s dominated by men, we’re underrepresented in C-level jobs, we have to fight to be heard, you have to lean in, you have to lean out… Yeah, there’s a lot of men that have ownership over a lot of snowboard jobs. But leadership roles for women are totally out there, especially as the action sports industry gets more in touch with their female audience.

Personally, I’ve been entrepreneur-minded since as long as I can remember, so if I didn’t like the opportunities that were out there, I usually created one for myself. It took a lot of low-paying jobs and hard lessons to get to that point, but that’s what opens the doors to leadership. In any industry. Regardless of gender.

I’ve also found that confidence and honest relationships go a long way in being respected. Again, not specific to the snowboard industry, but that goes far in earning leadership credibility.


What are some of the challenges you have faced?
The biggest challenge has been on the production side. Everything else is easy compared to the starts and stops we’ve encountered in the actual process of making the boards. Marketing, branding, sales… that’s all the fun stuff. Waiting to get the materials printed, realizing the CNC guy cut the cores wrong, using the last steel edge or sidewall and needing to order more in the middle of building. Then comes piecing it all together. One little oversight can result in an unsellable board. Or if – at the very end of the process, after it’s been pressed and returned from the grinder – you drill the wrong hole for the inserts, and 10-plus manhours are totally wasted.

On top of that, all of us at Pallas have full time jobs, so sometimes finding time for us to be in the shop together is a big ordeal.

What’s your relationship with Teton Gravity Research?
I’m a freelance writer by profession, and I’ve been a contributor to TGR’s content team for over a year. Mostly on the mountain bike side though. But they’ve been awesome friends and great supporters in the Pallas venture.

What does the future look like for Pallas? Where should we look for you? (any events? expos?)
In terms of retail, we’re doing direct sales online. We’ll be attending a number of splitboard festivals this winter, specifically the Wasatch Splitfest and the Baker Splitfest, with others in the pipeline. Because we also make regular snowboards, I’m hoping to align our ambassador team with a couple of regional resort on-snow demos. But that might turn into more of a parking lot tailgate with some demos to take for a spin. I mean, we’re just starting our second year, so everything is still quite informal, grassroots and creative.

Inspiration behind the snowboard lines names?
As a freelance writer, I’ve helped a lot of clients with product naming. I love it. It’s like giving a personality and identity to an inanimate object. I wanted our boards to have a strong personality and give them names that embody their technical performance.

Specifically, the Zeitgeist lives up to its definition. It means “a spirit of the times.” It celebrates this new shift that’s happening in women’s snowboarding, where there’s a lot of experimentation going on with shapes and the general outlook of women’s sports. The Hedonist is a pleasure-seeker, an all-mountain freeride board that’s out to delight your senses. We’ll also be debuting a new board this season called the Girl Scout. It kind of mocks the antiquated stereotype of domesticated women, but you could also see it as a catalyst for building character through outdoor adventures.


Your thoughts on the progression of women inspired snowboard shapes?
I’m stoked. I think there’s so much room for design innovation and creativity, especially in the women’s arena. Even if whacky board shapes are the hot, new trend, I don’t think there’s a ceiling for how far the industry can take it. It’s all playful and fun, and it would take a massive shift in snowboarding to saturate the women’s retail market like that. But I’m inspired by the direction that ladies companies and ladies gear is heading in now. There are some cool women making some cool ideas happening.

Your artist Gemma Davis is so talented! How does her artwork coincide with the image of Pallas so well?
Oh man, that was such a wonderful coincidence. I found Gemma’s work on an online art community, and her portfolio blew me away. You can see her work here. It was the exact tangible look that I could only describe through half-baked art vocabulary. Feminine, masculine, a balance of both worlds. But it was her artist statement on a piece called “Be Fearless” that sealed the deal: wild animals to represent bravery and majesty; botanicals to balance out the natural world; anchored by a female face. We gave her free reign of the artwork last year, and she’s done an amazing job. We’re working with her again for this year’s topsheet.

Any team riders?
Sort of. Because we’re building boards by hand and operating on a skeleton crew of people, product and finances, we have to be very selective. Right now, Pallas is proud to support Christine Feleki, a kick ass splitboard guide in Squamish who is aspiring to get her ACMG cert (Association of Canadian Mountain Guides). Which is a huge deal. No female has ever earned ACMG status on a splitboard. Yet.

On a more regional level, we’re in the process of launching a team ambassador program, and I can’t wait to recruit some ladies to our team.


Ever thought to expand to softgoods? Especially with the help of Gemma and her amazing artwork?
Yeah. Nothing is in the works, but I’ve been scheming ideas, for sure. For the time being, we have a small line of logo’d shirts and hats, just like any other company. But they’re women’s shirts you’d actually want to wear. Racerback tanks, off-the-shoulder t’s, embroidered flat brims for a classy touch… I can’t tell you how many cropped, v-neck, skin-tight swag t-shirts I’ve thrown away over the years. Just because its promo gear doesn’t mean it shouldn’t fit right or look good.

Words of the wise to encourage other women out there?
Create your own awesome. If you feel like you haven’t found the role model that you want to look up to or someone who inspires you, maybe that’s because the world is waiting for an inspiration like yourself. So go be one. Create awesome for yourself, and create awesome for other people along the way.

Keep an eye out for Pallas Snowboards over the next couple seasons! Stephanie mentioned the ambassador program is in the works so if you want to get involved and spread the love, don’t be a stranger!


Keep an eye out for my board test blog in the fall!
Thanks to VNTRbirds for giving me a space to spread some enthusiasm!

Much love!