Tahoma Snow Sports clothing that lines the walls at Spider’s Ski & Sports in town looks at first like it could be just another cool brand for skiers and snowboarders. But unlike most sport brands, these T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats are the work of an aspiring 16-year-old designer.
Last school year, Hart Heffelfinger, an avid snowboarder, had the opportunity to attend a prestigious ski and snowboard school located on Mount Hood. While many of his peers there realized a goal to become professional athletes, Heffelfinger, now a junior at Vashon High School, returned to the island with a passion for the apparel and industry side of the sport.
“I learned a lot about the industry and the people. … That’s when I realized what I wanted to do with my life,” he said.
Encouraged by his teachers on Mount Hood, Heffelfinger, the son of local artists Eric and Margaret Heffelfinger, started up Tahoma Snow Sports. The outgoing teen said he hopes to make a career out of clothing design, eventually growing his small line of apparel into a full line of outerwear for skiers and snowboarders.
With attractive logos and art designed by the high school junior, items have already been selling quickly to friends and islanders, as well as international athletes who attended his school. A couple of aspiring skiers and snowboarders have even agreed to wear his brand exclusively.
“There are people wearing it in France, Quebec, China, South America,” he said.