Mike's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Action Sports

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Sequim, WA

  • AIRED ON:

    Other: Roadtrip Nation Action Sports | FuelTV

MIKE OLSON

Co-Founder
Mervin Manufacturing

“I ended up making a deal with this old retired lady; she had an old race-horse barn. My rent was mowing the lawn and cleaning her gutters, and that was my first shop.”

INTERESTS:

Action Sports Design Engineering Entrepreneurship

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Hard Work Family Support & Encouragement

TAGS:

attitude, high school, partying, school, snowboards

BIOGRAPHY:

In the 1970s, Mike Olson and Pete Saari were just two kids in Washington state who wanted to snowboard. Mike built his first board in high school shop class in the late ’70s, and he met Pete though his friend Mervin (the namesake of their future company). At that time, there were no surf shops or surfboarders in Washington state, so Mike and Pete built their own boards for themselves and their friends. Fast-forward to college, and they’d started plotting how they could drop out and build snowboards full-time. A couple days later, Mike pulled the trigger and quit (with his mom’s blessing!). He made a deal with a woman who owned a race-horse barn to use the barn in exchange for mowing her lawn and cleaning her gutters. That was his shop for two years. Soon, Pete joined him and they were building a few boards at a time and using the proceeds to buy materials for more. They may have been a small operation, but they were working on cutting-edge designs that would revolutionize the boarding and skiing industries. They built prototypes and hiked up Mt. Rainier to test the boards themselves. Their focus on innovation, plus being the only snowboard company to do all of their production in the U.S., has kept them going all these years. Pure love of the sport played a big part, too. Pete adds, “Attitude plays a big role...We just worked hard. I figured, ‘Well, if this world is going to be that tough and that challenging, the one thing I know I can do is work as hard or harder and put more time into it than anyone else will.’”

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