Brad Steward - Bonfire Snowboards, Salomon In my world, the name Brad Steward is synonymous to snowboarding, but for many this may be your first time hearing his name. All you really need to know is that Brad is a badass at life. He attended film school in Ventura, California, at the Brooks Institute and could’ve become the next Spielberg, but he chose to pursue a career in the snowboarding industry. He has worked with everyone from Sims, to Barfoot and Morrow, and sat at the table with Jake Burton during snowboarding’s pioneering years. Eventually, he founded Bonfire, and now is a VP at Amer Sports, the parent company of Salomon Snowboards, Bonfire Snowboarding and Nikita Clothing. For a guy who describes himself as, “A kid who just hopped onto a piece of wood and slid down some snow in his driveway.” Brad has in fact accomplished a great deal in his life and continues to look for ways to challenge an industry that ebbs and flows with the flux of the economy. That’s why I look to this guy as a “North Star” of sorts. A lot of the industry kind of follows the tail of the guy in front of them, and I have always felt that Brad has been more of a leader, and willing to side-step a bit. Please take a listen, you’ll have a hard time not being moved by his experience, and perhaps even inspired. “It’s not a story of how I got into snowboarding, it’s a story about how snowboarding got into me.”  – Brad Steward Where did “Bonfire” come from?  You can hear the full story from Brad directly in the podcast, (it will be far more compelling in his words) but basically the idea of Bonfire Snowboarding was born in the San Francisco Peaks (a volcanic mountain range located in north central Arizona, just north of Flagstaff), which was a holy area to the local tribe there. The people that skied on the tribal lands kind of saw the natives as a problem and people who got in the way. Being snowboarders and outsiders themselves, Brad and his friends could sympathize. They began sacrificing old, broken snowboards and skateboards in bonfires that they would build for powder sacrifices. The whole idea was about being with friends around a fire, rallying around this thing that represented their lifestyle. Though we don’t necessarily do it around fires on tribal lands, a lot of us have found our own traditions and sacrifices for the powder gods that bring us together and give us something to rallying around. A lot of us were outcasts that didn’t fit into traditional sports or excel at school, and snowboarding became an outlet that led to so much more. As I always say, “It’s the snowboarding that brought me to the hill, but it’s the people and the things on the peripheral that kept me coming back.” Learn more about Bonfire in their 4 part series on “Bonfire History”. Bonfire History Part 2 ||  Bonfire History Part 3 || Bonfire History Part 4 Articles & Resources:

Cover/Thumbnail Photo: Jared Souney

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