One my favorite parts about summer in Colorado is strolling through one of our many farmers’ markets and discovering something new. I had one such find earlier this month at the Aspen Saturday Market: Simplicity Longboards, skateboards decked out with brightly colored wheels and snowcapped mountains hand-painted on the natural wood boards.
Family owned and operated, each Simplicity Longboard is handmade by husband-and-wife team Harry and Connie Jorck in their Vail garage-turned-workshop. The Jorck’s two sons, Andy and Adam, who were the inspiration behind Simplicity, also help out when they’re on break from Colorado State University.
“Our sons have always been into longboarding and had four or five boards each. It was becoming an expensive hobby, so I started by making a board for each of them,” Harry says. “It wasn’t too long before I was making boards for their pretty large circle of friends.”
As in any small town, word traveled fast, and soon Harry was getting requests from locals he didn’t know. Simplicity officially launched in June of 2011 with a longboard lineup featuring everything from campus cruisers to downhill bombers. New this year: stand up paddle boards (SUP).
Harry, who was a custom homebuilder in Vail for more than 30 years, uses responsibly harvested birch and domestic Indiana cherry for most bottom sheets, but he also experiments with different native woods. Each board takes him about four hours to complete, with Connie adding the colorful finishing touch. Recently, they enlisted the help of local painter Sarah Beth Thompson. The Jorcks also work with Vail artist Jon Imeson, who engraves the bottom of the boards using pyrography, a wood-burning technique. Boards start at $195 and increase in price with custom graphics.
Test ride: You can find Simplicity on Fridays at the Dillon Farmers’ Market through September, Saturdays at the Aspen Saturday Market through October, and Sundays at the Vail Farmers’ Market. They’re also available at a handful of skate shops in Aurora, Boulder, Fort Collins, and Silverthorne or online.
Follow contributor Katie Shapiro on Twitter and Instagram at@kshapiromedia.