Rome Snowboard Design Syndicate. One of the last brands staying strong with the “badass snowboarder” image of the 2000s, and now they won’t even swear on their own website. It’s cool Rome, you can say fuck on the Internet. I do it all the time.
It’s pretty well established that any time a brand includes a social media feed, there is comedy gold to be found, and this time is no exception. The first three feeds are pretty predictable, with teasers, selfies, and landscape shots dominating each category. But the #CarveUphill one gets a little off course. I’m a big-tent boarder myself; if you stand sideways and it makes you happy it’s cool. Surfers are kooks, skateboarders are just nerds that go outside, and snowboarders really are a bunch of privileged white kids; we’re all looking for the same feeling, and there’s even room for longboarders in my mind. But having your feed taken over by a some kids on electric longboards? I’m really rethinking the “badass snowboarder” thing I said earlier.
But beyond that, there isn’t really much to laugh about. The whole “syndicate” thing in Rome’s name isn’t just California-brand lifestyle marketing. You really can hit them up with feedback on their gear, and in theory they’ll either work with you to get you what you want or come up with something new if enough people ask for it. It’s not exactly a Rome exclusive, that’s pretty much how any brand in any industry works, but the fact that they have the infrastructure built into the site and are directly asking for feedback is pretty impressive from a company as big (by snowboarding standards) as Rome.
But they couldn’t get the team sorted before the site went live. That either shows how over the top their commitment to the Syndicate is, or that there are major changes coming on the Rome team. I love starting rumors based on nothing at all, so is it possible that Rome is preparing to pick up of some of the talent cast aside by the other Vermont-based snowboard company? We can only speculate blindly at this point, so the answer is probably yes.
This bit here is something we really should be talking about. Rome’s % for Snowboarding program is progressive as hell. When you buy direct through Rome, they will give part of the profits to a participating snowboard shop. For no reason other than the fact that Rome wants to support local snowboard shops. While everyone else is making special “shop local” products that still wind up online as soon as they hit shops, Rome is breaking out it’s checkbook and standing for something. And they’ll write a bigger check when the shop goes out of it’s way to support the local scene by hosting contests or making a shop edit. This is some seriously interesting stuff, and if more brands pick up on this it could significantly change the playing field for the old brick-and-mortar vs. online retail debate.
The ideas that Rome is putting out are amazing. A responsibility to the industry and accountability to your customers is strangely absent from most snowboard brands, and here Rome is putting it front and center on their website. Even before they show you their team they are showing you that they are doing what they can to make snowboarding better for everyone. But I’m not rating brands I’m rating websites so even if I love what they’re saying the black-and-white style with the warped font isn’t particularly moving. I love what they’re saying but I don’t feel anything about how they’re saying it, so it will have to be 72 points.