It is the hero of legendary film Apocalypse Snow, Regis Rolland, we have to thank for bringing snowboarding to Europe. Regis is one of the great pioneers and legends of snowboarding and it’s now 30 years since his journey began.

The trilogy of cult films, Apocalypse Snow
In February 1984, Regis filmed Apocalypse Snow for release in the following fall. This short French film, innovative for its time, set the stage with a unique scenario: an expert snowboarder, ‘the genius of the mountain’ played by Régis Rolland, pursued by evil skiers, mono-skiers, and all kinds of demonic vehicles. The film was crowned by six major international awards and seen by millions of people. Regis toured the world and left his mark in the minds of generation after generation, beyond the world of sport. Apocalypse Snow is the origin of the explosion of snowboarding in Europe, with Régis Rolland becoming the emblem, paving the way for big mountain riding. In Apocalypse Snow I, mono-skiing and snowboarding are potential sports undervalued and misunderstood. Riders were shown to test their own limits. In 1985, Apocalypse Snow II, the challenge is renewed with more sophisticated action. The final film in the trilogy, Apocalypse Snow III, was filmed during the winter of 1986, the survivors of the Apocalypse return to the source, the scenery of Japan and the United States set the stage and push the riding to generate some real action for the movie. By 1987, snowboarding has become a very promising and exciting prospect for winter sports. To draw a close to the Apocalypse Snow series, Regis and director Didier Lafond joined forces once more, more than 20 years after the first release. The 2008 release, Apocalypse Snow: The Return, saw the good guys chasing the original villains!

The trilogy of brands
Following the trilogy of films Regis started the trilogy of brands that were to shape the way for the final brand we know today, Apo Snow. The name of the film series was registered and Regis began to develop his first ever snowboards under the name of Apocalypse Surf (1986-1991), which then evolved into A Snowboards (1992-2002) and finally, Apo Snow (2003 till present).
This journey through the industry was not without turbulence yet allowed Regis to gain some real industry know-how.
In 1983 Regis developed his first snowboard for the simple reason that, ‘I screwed my Winterstick board!’. At this time there were no snowboards in Europe and with Regis’ cabinet making background he worked with his childhood friend Bernard Gervasoni in Villard-de-Lans to manufacture a press to build his first swallowtail boards. With Bernard, Regis set up his first studio in 1986 to market and manufacture the brand, Apocalypse Surf. This is where the saga began, Regis admitted, ‘I did not know anything in business, I learnt on the job. It was a constant struggle’.

1986 - 1991 Apocalypse Surf
The first product release from Apocalypse Surf accumulated 1500 hours of work, with handmade tooling, ‘we were real shapers, CNC machines did not exist. From this experience, I kept a keen eye!’, said Regis.

The first Apocalypse Surf snowboard serie released in December 1986 is still mirrored in todays’ production: steel edges and soft bindings. Régis and Bernard went on to employ about a dozen people in 1987 and up to 25 in 1989 and contributed to the industrialisation of snowboard manufacture. They began to develop new models with the first all mountain/piste board, the ‘Canon’ arriving in 1987/88, followed by the ‘Electric’, the first twin tip for freestyle/halfpipe riding in 88. David Vincent from Grenoble, joined the team and stayed for 17 years and 400 snowboards are sold in 1987/88 with the target rising to 2000 boards for the winter 1989/90. The plans were set but did not stop Regis and Bernard, ‘From adventure to adventure. Attempt America?’ was the question. In 1990, Apocalypse Surf was then acquired by American Jack Lin. Régis, Bernard and 3 other French employees dismantled the factory into 3 containers and headed for the State of New York in the United States. Apocalypse Surf then becomes Snowboarding USA. Not long after, Terry Kidwell joined the team with his pro model due for release in 1991. The American adventure lasted two years for Regis who returned to France at the end of 1991 having to leave the name Apocalypse but with a plan to regain it’s independence.

1992 - 2002: A Snowboards

Regis launched his new brand, A-Snowboards in 1992. From complete new beginnings, the brand became, before its acquisition by Rossignol Group in 2000, a key market player and distributed up to 14000 boards in 1995/96.
As Regis’ previous endeavors proved, he was good at spotting talent. The charismatic David Vincent was one of them, number two champion of France Freestyle 91 and champion of France 92 and 93, he was one of the most stylish Europeans able to tease U.S. freestylers. Régis took David to Mount Hood to launch A Snowboards in the United States during winter 1992. David’s first pro model was released in 92/93; the famous DV with it’s iconic mushroom design. David designed the graphics himself, to be followed on 17 styles by different artists including Nicolas Thomas. David Vincent became professional in 1994 and had Serge Vitelli, Belgian rider, Axel Pauporté and his riding buddies Phil Lallemant, Demir Julia and Youbi Ahmed join the team with him, to be followed by Amevet Yannick and Stéphane 'son' Routin, and more extreme riders, Pierre-André Rhem and Jérôme Ruby who made the first descent of the North Face of the Triolet. Contributing to its success is also a strong army of brilliant illustrators starting with Gerald Viossat in 1993, followed by Phil Martinand in 2000, Nico Thomas. In 1996 A-Snowboards diversifies into producing a hundred
surfboards (water) and skates to signify board culture is at its peak.

A Snowboards: the trilogy of manufacturing plants
First produced in a factory in Haute-Savoie and then Canada, production was then repatriated to France in the factory Redhead, Grand Chavin. In May 1997, A Snowboards, in a logical development merged with Grand Chavin Products, (registered holder of Hot Snowboards & Hammer, the latter becoming part of the Rossignol Group in December 1999). In 1999 Transworld awarded Regis the Transworld U.S. Industry Award, the first and last European to receive such an award, which afforded him global recognition. In 2000, Axel Pauporté won King of the Hill in Alaska and the Verbier Extreme. In 2003 Rossignol decided to put an end to A Snowboards at the height of its glory through stopping production at the Grand Chavin factory. This did not stop Regis, like a phoenix from the flames, Regis rose up to start Apo Snow.

Artwork: artistic paw print
A Snowboards who understood the role of the graphic identity of the brand and aimed to produce high quality art work on the line. A Snowboards and now APO Snow then and now, has a strong graphic identity recognisable by a clique of artists whose creations mark the brand. Among them, Gérald Viossat, designing from 1993 to 2000, ‘he introduced me to art' said Régis, Nicolas Thomas who then imposed his style, Phil Martin, artistic director from 2000 to 2008, Laguigui, Leo Accorsi, Jean Linnhoff of heroic fantasy (jeanlinnhoff.com) are just some of the artists who have left their mark and developed the history of A and Apo Snowboards.

APO SNOW j’ai 10 ans

April 2003, Régis Rolland, the pioneer of snowboarding in Europe launches his third brand Apo Snowboards.
In the internal memo to his staff, he highlighted the new target as, ‘to be a more horny snowboard brand for our customers!’.

2003 : APO Snow - Never Submit
A Snowboards was liquidated by Rossignol Group in March 2003, but the passionate Régis Rolland took less than four months to bounce back and obtain a new production plant. The SBF factory had built his friend Jack Lin’s range and so went on to manufacture 11 boards under the brand name Apo. The prototypes were out in the summer of 2003 and a small production initiative was launched. Stores ordered without seeing the boards, thanks to the sympathy and shock generated from the announcement of the death of A Snowboards. ‘I sold a bunch of boards on the phone, the brand was born and I had nothing to even show them!' Regis remembers that the shops booked in the fall of 2003. The first collection under the name APO Snow included the Amanita from David Vincent ... The team reformed again with David, Axel Pauporté, Yannick Amevet, Serge Vitelli, Friedl Kolhar and Tonton Holland. This is when the future bestsellers emerged; the Selekta in 2004, with its graphics borrowed from Final Fantasy, 2005.

During winter 2006, Apo launched the revolutionary Dual Entry Binding System with the patented double-entry system, fast and easy to fit. The new logo in 2007 heralded the award from Eurosima (European surf and snow industry manufacturers association) and this with the arrival of two new French riders felt very promising. Arthur Longo and Gerome Mathieu aka Coin Coin, who landed the 3rd double cork ever tried and who was rewarded with his own Coin Coin pro model in 2009.

Rider, Arthuer Longo went on to win the Arctic Challenge in front of Terje Haakonsen in 2009. The riders were a great addition to the team and in 2008, the short film Apocalypse Snow: The Return was directed by Didier Lafond. 25 years later, the genius slips back into service with his new APO team. In 2009, this became the film that Bloody Board movie will loop.
Since the late 1980s, almost all brands of skis are enhanced with a range of snowboards, but while skiing copied snowboarding to regenerate interest, strangely no snowboard brand had embraced skis. No one, except Apo. In 2008, Régis Rolland dared to go and play in the field of freeskiing with a full range of skis. Before snowboarding Regis himself was poised to join the French National Ski Team when he was called up by the army. Before being a snowboarder, Regis was a skier.

The skis have evocative names such as the Rocco; skis long and wide in tribute to porn star Rocco Siffredi, and Starsky and Hutch.... The idea was that due to memorable slogans and names APO would not need to find the budget for an advertising campaign. The use of slogans like ‘Snow-boarders suck’ and ‘JC Dusse is my god’, along with designs ahead of the times and finally a master shaper, the inventor of the first ever twin tip, freestyle ski the Rossignol scratch would be enough to push the ski line to the forefront of the market.

In 2011, Apo Snow recruited freestyle ski star Sammy Carlson, a skier of a higher pedigree with 5 medals at the X Games. Sammy was presented with his pro-model at the Winter X Games in Tignes in March 2012. The Sammy C Pro has been marketed for winter 2012/2013. The Sammy skis have definitely had an effect on sales as the brand opens up new markets in Asia, Korea and Japan, but also in the United States. Ironically, for young Americans, Apo is a trademark of skis! In 2012, another headlining international skier, Swiss German Kai Mahler arrived on the ski team... Both and Kai and Sammy featured in the Poor Boyz and TGR productions respectively and all team riders appear in the APO 2011/12 film,
‘Don’t miss the train’.

A story of legendary shapers, a team consisting, of brilliant artists, original graphics, consistent lines manufactured in Europe, a constant search for innovation. The story of Apo Snow is just beginning.

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