He’s the rail maker
Christian Fassbender straps on his snowboard, points it down the hill, pops off a small jump and rotates 270 degrees onto a hot-pink 28-foot flat-down rail.
He slides down the rail for a second, pulls another 270 off and lands cleanly below to the cheers of his friends watching nearby.
It sounds like just another jib session by a group of snowboarders at a local resort’s terrain park. But Fassbender and his friends aren’t at a resort. They’re in their backyard, and the rail they’re sliding was custom made just for them by Jamie Campbell, the founder and owner of PG Stunt Components.
A startup company with a manufacturing shop in Sparks, Nev., Campbell hopes that PG Stunt Components ” the PG originally stood for Proving Grounds ” will find a loyal customer base in the Truckee/Tahoe area for the array of rails, funboxes and other terrain features he builds.
So far, Campbell has sold custom rails to a couple of outerwear companies and some backyard terrain park builders, and he hopes to expand both of those markets while also pursuing larger orders from Tahoe-area resorts.
“The big void in the market is the backyard stuff,” he said, noting that there are few other companies out there willing to build custom features for an affordable price.
Many kids build their own rails or boxes, according to Campbell, but often such homemade features are not as safe, nor as durable as what he can produce in his shop.
Campbell came to the Tahoe area 11 years ago from Maine, and attributed the idea for PG Stunt Components to his love of terrain parks:
“When I first learned to slide rails on skis, I would have given anything to have one in my backyard,” he said. “I’m now pushing 30 and not going to be out there skiing every day for much longer, so I was trying to find something else to do in the ski industry.”
So far Campbell has been receiving a number of backyard orders through word of mouth, something he attributes to the time and care he puts into each rail he builds.
Each piece is capped on the ends for safety and is fabricated to fit together perfectly. Everything is sent for a coat of primer and enamel to ensure it’s waterproof, then fitted with custom logos, artwork, skirting or vinyl lettering depending on his customers’ desires.
“I definitely encourage people to do their own designs if they want something special,” he said.
Word of mouth was how Fassbender and his housemates ended up with one of Campbell’s custom creations. A neighbor told them about Campbell and the rails he was building, and after a couple of weeks of discussions about what kind of space there was at the house and what they all wanted to ride, Campbell came up with a design that fit in the house’s side yard.
Campbell stopped by the Donner Lake house to drop off the 28-foot rail about two weeks ago, and so far it’s seen a lot of use by the housemates and their friends, according to Fassbender.
“We love it,” Fassbender said. “It’s at least equal quality to any park rail I’ve hit all year. I couldn’t be happier.”
Reactions like Fassbender’s make Campbell optimistic that he can eventually break into the resort market and get a piece of the $100,000 plus that many resorts spend to upgrade their terrain features each year.
It’s not unusual for a resort that is trying to build hype around its terrain park to have 40 to 60 rails in addition to other features. Currently though, most of those are typically fabricated in-house by the resort’s own maintenance staff.
That maybe changing; however, and Campbell hopes that PG Stunt Components can position itself to become a supplier of custom rails, funboxes and anything else a resort might need as its terrain park riders progress and demand new features.
Currently a one-man operation. Campbell said he hopes to get his business model dialed in and his manufacturing processes running smoothly before taking on any partners or employees; but all by himself he can produce, on average, two features per day, or more if he has a large order of the same thing. And doing it alone means Campbell gets to see the excitement in his customers’ eyes when he drops off the finished piece in someone’s backyard.
For more information, or to place an order for a custom rail or other terrain feature, contact PG Stunt Equipment at (530) 448-9583.
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