K2 Moves East...Way East

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K2 has long been known as the last holdout of U.S. ski manufacturers, building -- and priding itself on -- made-in-America boards for over 30 years out of its Vashon Island, Washington, plant. But the patriotic story came to a close in July when the company announced it could no longer afford stateside manufacturing and would be moving its production facilities to China.

"It's a decision we certainly didn't want to make, but it was inevitable from a business standpoint," said Tim Petrick, vice president of marketing for the company. "The sad reality is that labor rates in this country make it very hard to compete."

The move will eliminate 190 positions at the Washington facility, but 250 employees will remain. The decision reportedly had nothing to do with former Vice President Dan Quayle being recently named to K2's board of directors.