Chris and the Prior Story
The first board Chris pulled off a press was in Nov 89 and a lot has happened since then! Our first board is hung on the wall as you walk up the stairs in our showroom in Whistler. It was the first introduction for many people in the sport to Chris Prior's craftsmanship and is a testament to Prior's heritage.
Chris’ introduction to the snow sport world was expedited from his background as a very talented windsurfer. When he wasn't competing around the globe he spent his time creating world class sailboards utilizing the most advanced materials at that time and customizing the shapes to the requirements of the rider.
His production facility was a large two car garage in suburbia North Vancouver. The first few boards under people's feet proved successful and the idea of surfing the mountains started looking far more appealing. The snowboard market was going absolutely nuts, over six hundred brands and all vying for that all so important market share. Literally any shape with P-tex, edges and “sick” graphics would sell.
The market could not absorb enough products. Acknowledging this Chris decided to focus on the unique boutique custom high end market. That market was in its infamy in Europe but North America was wide open. Team riders were starting to approach their positions as any professional athlete would. In so doing they all required custom boards that were finely tuned to their needs. Many soon came knocking and the word rapidly spread that Chris was the go to for their needs.
Chris eventually retired his planer and closed the door on shaping windsurfers and directed his focused on building custom boards. The vast amount of knowledge that Chris absorbed from working with the top pros was ultimately being absorbed so that one day he would apply to his own line of boards.
By 1993 Chris had a full line of ready to build shapes that had been fueled by his custom board making. The line quickly started gaining momentum. He continued building custom rides for top athletes and veteran riders, and the demand just kept coming.
Big mountain free ride, half pipe and alpine world cup boards were all in demand. Alpine was huge during the 90’s. Prior alpine boards graced over ten first place’s and more than 40 podium finishes’ on the North American and International circuits.
From the beginning, Whistler had always been Priors testing ground. As time wore on it only seemed natural that Prior needed to move closer to the source. Being constantly immersed in the mountains, the culture, and the life style have all helped make the brand what it is today. In the fall of 1999 that’s what Chris did and he moved the facility to Whistler. There were a few nay sayers that thought production overseas should be “seriously” considered......
The Prior brand was on solid ground and the constant access to R&D and a wealth of local talented riders helped the progression of the Prior product line up. Chris introduced splitboards to the line in 1999 which has taken off in recent years. Prior now has the most comprehensive line of splitboards on the market. Shortly thereafter skis were brought in with much anticipation and have been widely received. Winning numerous industry awards for material innovation and design.
Prior continues to hold true to its core values focusing on the quality, performance and the unique custom ski and board. Our success has always been determined by the virtues of our customers.