Message from the president, Bruce Varsava
Coiler was started in 1995 as a fun venture to simply make a few boards for myself to race on. My background was a very good start – I had built quite a few windsurf boards as a hobby and my post secondary education was in the field of tool and die making. This experience, along with a passion to ride and decent riding skills which progressed as the sport did, was quite a potent combination which allowed me to build and test boards very effectively.
From 1995 until 2007, it was a part-time business. Then, in 2007, I took the plunge and became a full time builder. This allowed for much more testing time right about when Titanal boards became popular. After riding the first metal board I built in late 2004, I knew this was the future of Alpine riding! It took about 2 years to finalize the design to a point where I was confident they were ready to take the abuse of daily duties. This was a very good call as I avoided the pitfalls of many of the first generation boards which just were not ready for mass consumption.
My design philosophy was, and still remains, to keep it simple and get the details right. In my early racing career it quickly became obvious that the easier-to-ride boards were the ones that performed best. That is a design goal I still use for most boards: make them relatively easy to ride but still challenging enough to power them up when required. This will give the widest range of use in a fun-to-ride package.
A key to Coiler’s success is that I never saw anyone else build snowboards. This gave me a clean slate to develop my own techniques right from the beginning, the way I thought it should be done. Of course, there was a lot of learning along the way. To this day there are still techniques I use which I have not seen used anywhere else. Often they take some extra time. However, the end result is what it’s all about, and not how fast I can build a board.
Coiler is a very small operation where most of the work is done by myself. This includes all the critical steps which are best performed by experienced hands. When you get a board, it has 20 years of board building experience in it, and my reputation is behind every board that goes out the door. This is somewhat of a rarity nowadays but I am proud to carry on my business that way.
Pricing is another topic which I have some unique views on. I always use the best materials to get the job done without being excessive. The real cost savings come from running a small, totally self sufficient shop. We can do all of the operations in house, right from assembling the core, to printing and installing the graphics. Overhead is minimal, so I can produce top quality boards for substantially less than almost all my competitors. Also, when buying your board direct from the builder, there are absolutely no middle man mark ups to spoil the fun.
Along the way there have been many successes both for myself and for the boards I have produced. Being a race-oriented designer, this success is usually measured in hundredths of seconds!
Here’s a brief list of personal accomplishments:
- 6 times Ontario overall Provincial GS champ
- Overall Provincial BX champion (back in the days when hardboots ruled)
- 7 times USASA GS and SL National champion
- Countless Provincial and State wins
- Raced in qualifiers for Nagano Olympics
- Numerous Provincial Masters championships
- Built boards which have won World Cup and World Championship Gold
The ability to ride boards at a relatively high level of performance has definitely given me an advantage when it comes to development. Within a run or two I can easily tell if any modifications are helping or hindering the ride. Combine this with an intimate knowledge of how the board was built and the development naturally comes quite easily. For areas outside of my riding abilities I have a team of testers which I have come to trust and they can help test the boards to higher levels than my skills could do.
At this time I have no intention of expansion as I prefer to keep things small and personal. This allows me to better concentrate on one board at a time and simply let the ride tell the difference!