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All A Board

Snowboarders turn a hobby into a business.

Bev and chris Sanders (43 and 37, respectively) were snowboarders when snowboarding wasn't cool. But Avalanche Snowboards Inc., the snowboard manufacturing company the couple founded in 1982, quickly picked up speed and had sales of about $5 million last year.

"We started making snowboards for our own use," says Bev, a former ski instructor. "People would follow me back to the car and ask me about snowboards, and I'd end up selling one. At the time, we were the only people at the ski resorts who had them."

The Benicia, California-based company that grew around the production of one snowboard design has maneuvered well through the changes in the industry it helped create. Today, Avalanche has 27 board styles, including boards specially designed for children and women.

Dubbed "The Pioneer Woman of Snowboarding" by Transworld Snowboarding magazine, Bev couldn't be happier. "This industry changes all the time," she says. "I love that because I have a short attention span. If it's not exciting, I don't want to deal with it."

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This article was originally published in the January 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: All A Board.

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