Industry Press Release



Bozeman, MT (January 10, 2010) — ISPO (Internationale Fachmesse fur Sportartikel und Sportmode) is the 4-Day International Trade Fair for Sports Equipment and Fashion, and has been an annual event for the past 40 years in Munich, Germany. Products and companies awarded the ISPO Brand New Award are considered THE barometer of future trends in sports. This year, Spark R&D was among 350+ applicants for the award.

To enter the competition, the company must be 4 years old or younger. The application process involves a public voting component and then a juried component where a group of 20 international experts test and evaluate the products. There is one overall winner of the entire competition, and then one winner and several finalists in each of 7 categories: Accessories, Eco/Fair Trade, Fitness, Hardware, Sportswear, Style, and Urban Style. Spark R&D won finalist honors in the Hardware Category.

Spark R&D has always been dedicated to pushing innovation in the sport of splitboarding. The company was started by Bozeman Montana snowboarder Will Ritter, who first rode a splitboard in 2004. That first day out in the backcountry he thought to himself; this sport has so much potential, but this binding system is heavy, flexy, and tall. I can do better than this! So Will, who happened to have a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering, began working on his own design.

Initially, he planned on just making a set of splitboard specific bindings for himself. However, when he started telling people about his idea, word travelled fast and before he knew it, there was a waiting list of people eager to get these new bindings before they were barely a prototype. Will applied for a patent on his design and the first binding, the Ignition I, was sold in fall of 2006. The new Fuse binding, unveiled in fall of 2009, is machined out of one piece of aluminum, losing weight and gaining durability over the earlier Ignition series bindings.

Will and his wife Becca will be travelling to Munich in early February to the ISPO trade show. They will showcase the Fuse binding and unveil some great new innovations for the 2011 season.

For more information on the ISPO Brand New Award and to see Spark R&D’s ISPO application video: