More than anything, the Snowboard Industry is a graphic design vehicle. The target audience is hormonal boys, and, more importantly, their upper-middle to high-class parents. Emblazened in fine, artistic scripts on all manor of apparrel, this culture thrives through total-immersion of the fan-base in what is actually a clever monopoly.
In looking through the industry's primary propaganda magazine, Transworld Snowboarding, one sees a hundred brand names. Except for a few, such as Sims, which represent segments of the corporate storyline, the monikers change from year to year (they can last quite a span longer than a year, of course). Examples of these main-stream snowboard companies are 'Ride', 'DVS', 'M3', 'DC', and 'World Industries'. One notable that these brands fail to convey to the average consumer is that, due to the precise and technical nature of snowboard manufacture, there are only one or two factories producing all of the models and brands of snowboard for a given riding season. In order to continue the monopoly Burton secured long ago, the products are marketed under innumerable meaningless names. What is most aggredious, aside from the exorbitant price of any snowboard deck (when one considers the production run volume of each physical model), is the size of the garrish corporate letters affixed to every late-model deck.
Outside of the fascist capitalist realm of these United States, an industrious rider can find blank independant snowboards produced by small manufacturers. These make wonderful canvases. The topsides can be airbrushed into fantastic graphic visions. The bases can be carved into and replaced with colorful melted p-tex (I like to call these "Board Tattoos").
Bring an example of this work to your local skate shop however, and you'll find no willingness to distribute what is, in fact, a superior product at a lesser price. That is because a powerful monopoly has replaced inventive, artistic merchandise with the same tripe found in any GAP: sweatshop-made garments with a thousand useless features (a result of bountiful slave labor courtesy of our subtle takeover of Asia in conquering Japan during WWII) repleat with giant logos meaning less than nothing.
The fact remains that snowriding upon prestine slopes is one of the few activities that can carry the partaker into Nirvana lasting all the day long. If one rides enough mountains, and visits enough shops, it is possible to find independant shopkeeps who sell for the rider and not to the rider. I've only found these in Canada, however. All the examples I've explored in New Hampshire and Vermont have been usurped and squeshed to a soulless heap. This is another reason I am moving, upon receiving my highschool-graduation papers, to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
I appologize for preaching hate for an artistic industry, but greed has replaced execs who are heads with CEO's, and it is disheartening.
An addendum: I am veeery imaginitive, so drop me an email to correct me.