AUBURN — In a small warehouse in Auburn where sparks, paint and music fly through the air, a band of brothers and their friends are jamming out a living making rails and boxes for skiers and snowboarders.
Caleb, Gabe and Bently Hamilton grew up on the slopes of Sunday River where their father was the grooming supervisor. Their roots in the ski industry are deep, like the snow they love to ski and ride on, and their friendships with many of their employees, like Jim Dinsmore. He was painting pieces of plywood bright orange last week that cover a terrain park feature they were building for Liberty Mountain in Pennsylvania.
"I've known these guys since I was a kid," Dinsmore said. "Our mothers were in the maternity ward together, and we went to school, skied, boarded and hung out all growing up. Now we are working together."
It's a casual work environment at Destoy Terrain Parks, where everyone is usually involved in brainstorming, planning and construction. They are all self-taught, none with a college education, but each has a world of experience and practical knowledge.
Collectively, they can do most any aspect of the job, but individually they have found their niches that have helped grow the business. For instance, Caleb excels on the computer where he uses a 3D software program to design the features. He is now in the final stages of developing software that will be installed in snow grooming machines. With his app for GPS devices, the operators will be able to gauge snow depths, terrain characteristics and obstacles that will help them better prepare the snow. In addition, it has a fleet maintenance component.
"It would be a more sound business decision to locate in Colorado where there is more demand for our products," Caleb said. "But we felt almost an obligation to stay here where we can contribute to the local economy and help employ some of the really talented carpenters that live in the area. The reputation of quality workmanship in Maine helps in our marketing."
Destoy Terrain Parks builds the rails and boxes that can be found in dozens of mountains, mostly in the Northeast. Destoy is a term created after a long history of exploring the labyrinth of the snowboard world. To represent how each person's snowboard or skiing experience is different and unique to them.
"We go to each mountain we are designing features for," Caleb said. "They all have different needs. For example, a mountain near a city will want features that skateboarders would want to ride. Looking at photos and videos are helpful, but actually being there, talking to the people who will be using it, and experiencing the atmosphere makes a difference."
The work these young entrepreneurs do is a labor of love, and the features they produce show. The demand for their products is increasing, and if predictions of a snowy winter come true, and the demand for their products continue to grow, Destoy Terrain Parks is bound to be a name seen on more mountains.