Now 20 years old, Tahoe Board Company embraces mountains, mini ramps and more | SierraSun.com

Now 20 years old, Tahoe Board Company embraces mountains, mini ramps and more

Michelle Morton
Special to the Bonanza

Chuck Vogt has always been interested in skateboard construction. As a kid growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, he took his first pair of roller skates apart to make a skateboard. He said his grandmother was really upset when she found out, because the skates had been a gift.

But the true gift was the enjoyment Vogt got from riding downhill. As he got older, the mountains started calling to him, and he decided to relocate to Tahoe, where he started riding at Squaw Valley.

"We were riding shortboards down hills when snow melted," Vogt said. "The summer of 1996 was when we totally got into it, riding around all the hills barefoot and making homemade skateboards out of plywood … cutting out a ton of different shapes and riding them. We'd be flying down these hills and the boards would be cracking under our feet."

Vogt started experimenting with different skateboard shapes and setups for Tahoe's steep, rough roads and he shared those boards with his friends.

"When we moved here, we started making the Tahoe longboards," Vogt said. "The reason that came about was we didn't have skateparks back then. The streets were rough here."

Word got around about the locally made longboards, and after the owner of Tahoe Dave's said he'd sell the boards in his store in 1997, Tahoe Board Company was born.

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"Back then, we were making them by hand," Vogt said. "We'd have friends sitting around our living room with Dremel tools and carving out the lake by hand."

As cross-discipline athletes like Shaun White were winning Olympic medals and training at Lake Tahoe, Vogt's grassroots skateboard company was growing. His website, tahoeboardcompany.com, showcases the models the company is currently making.

"The Talmont 52 was the first board we made and has brought many years of good times for riders," Vogt said on the website. "There are still friends of ours with their original ones form 1997."

The board was named after a hill on the West Shore where those friends first rode the board. Vogt calls the Talmont 52 "the snowboard of the streets."

"The Tahoe Board Company has evolved with the community support and the people involved. My wife is a big part and our production is far superior to where it was when we started," Vogt said. "Our No. 1 thing is having fun. We're living in Tahoe, and when you work too much, you lose the passion for doing things like flying down the hills on skateboards. We're still having fun with it and that's all that matters."

The company makes 18 different decks of all shapes and sizes and offers 16 different complete models on its website. In addition to the skateboards, Vogt has created Lake Tahoe skateboard theme apparel.

Now 48 years old, with a 1-year-old son, Leland, Vogt said he's slowing down but has renewed energy for growing the Tahoe Board Company.

"It's not time for me to hang up my boots but slow down," he said. "Leland's given me motivation as far as work goes. If that defines being a man, it's great to finally be a dad."