In 1995, MSR’s Denali Snowshoe revolutionized snowshoe design. While traditional snowshoes featured tubular frames paired with canvas for simple flotation, the Denali was the first snowshoe designed as a tool for mountain climbers. It featured a durable plastic deck, a steel crampon and aggressive traction bars that offered unrivaled grip in rugged terrain. Mountaineers around the world took note of the Denali’s advantages—recognizing its increased safety and efficiency in the alpine.
In the two decades since, MSR’s industry-leading designs have evolved, but one thing remains the same—we still manufacture MSR snowshoes in our own factories. Today that includes our production lines in Seattle as well as those in our European factory in Midleton, Ireland.
As demand for MSR snowshoes spread across Europe, the ability to assemble them closer to European adventurers was important to MSR. Manufacturing our products in our own factories ensures that we have complete control over quality. Just as importantly, the closer we are to our customers, the better service we can provide, and the smaller environmental footprint we produce.
What was once an old wool factory in Midleton is now a busy production facility that builds around 35,000 high-performance snowshoes every year. Everything from MSR’s ultralight Lightning series to our durable Revo models, our youth snowshoes and MSR’s unique add-on flotation tails are manufactured here in Ireland. About 20 MSR-dedicated employees create snowshoes for winter adventurers across 23 countries in Europe and beyond.
Plastic molding is one of our Irish factory’s biggest strengths. Our plastic-deck snowshoes utilize a high-impact polypropylene that offers excellent strength in cold temperatures. This Evo snowshoe mold will be filled with a liquid form of the plastic and then set to cool. After it leaves the mold, every deck is thoroughly inspected for quality before its binding, straps, crampon and traction bars are built in.
Both our Seattle factory and MSR’s Irish facility have implemented lean manufacturing principles, which means we only produce the amount of snowshoes that we sell. This ensures that we don’t create more snowshoes than the market needs and waste unnecessary material resources. In addition, much of the scrap material is recycled—during production, extra plastic pieces are either gathered and granulated for re-processing or dispatched to a local recycling company.
MSR’s European factory team may be thousands of miles away from the birthplace of MSR here in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, but they carry the same obsession for quality and performance. No doubt, MSR’s founder—inventor and engineer Larry Penberthy—would be proud of the commitment his team, that now spans two continents, has for building high-performance equipment that backcountry users can trust.