Burton Snowboards

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Burton Snowboards Inc.
IndustrySporting goods
FounderJake Burton Carpenter Edit this on Wikidata
HeadquartersBurlington, Vermont
Key people
Jake Burton Carpenter, Founder and Chairman
ProductsSnowboard equipment, apparel, accessories
Number of employees
Over 600 U.S., 950 Global[1]

Burton Snowboards is a manufacturer of snowboards,[2][3] founded by Jake Burton Carpenter in 1977, the company specializes in a product line aimed at snowboarders: snowboards, bindings, boots, outerwear, and accessories. The company's flagship store is in Burlington, Vermont.[4] The company was privately owned by Burton and his wife, Donna Carpenter, who has been active in the business since 1983.[5]

Company overview[edit]

Burton factory in 2009, including double chairlift, originally used at a resort,[6] between streetlights

Burton built the world's first snowboard factory. It is the largest snowboard brand in the world.[7] The first snowboard was a BB1 snowboard, which is a narrow board with single strap bindings and a rope and handle attached to the nose.[8] Burton products are marketed worldwide in over 4,348 stores; 1,536 of those stores are located in the United States. In 2003 Burton allowed several online companies to sell Burton products over the internet. For years Burton had only been available through stores locally, but Burton felt that an online presence would allow buyers to have an alternative instead of turning to another brand.[9]

As well as selling Burton products, Burton stores sell several sub-brands which focus on specific market niches. These sub-brands include Anon Optics (snowboard goggles and eyewear), RED (helmets and body armor), Analog (outerwear)[10] and Gravis (footwear, now defunct).[11] In 2005, Four Star Distribution sold four of its snowboard brands to Burton: Forum Snowboarding, Jeenyus, Foursquare, and Special Blend.[12] Burton, a privately owned company, also owns a surfing distributor.

The Burton line is split into Four types of categories. They are: Freeride, for big mountain; freestyle, for versatile ride; park, for freestyle disciplines like half-pipe and park, and Carving; for carving down the side of mountains. Each of the categories has different levels of performance and price. In 2009, Burton's line included 61 snowboards in men, women, and youth. Board prices range from $300 to $1,500.[4]

In February 2008, Burton acquired DNA Distribution, which includes the skateboard manufacturer Alien Workshop, and two other companies.[13]

In 2008, the snowboard equipment industry had grown to $487 million.[4] Burton had 40–70% of these sales, depending on the category.[4] Average age of employees was 30 in 2008.[4]


Top view of a c. 1981 Burton snowboard in museum condition

Burton Snowboards[14] was founded by Jake Burton in 1977.[4] Burton was inspired by the snurfer,[4] invented by Sherman Poppen. He modified it. In 1977, Burton moved to Londonderry, Vermont to make the first Burton Snowboards. Burton personally first made snowboards by hand in his garage.[15] He couldn't afford the proper equipment—so he applied polyurethane wearing a scuba mask.[16] His co-founder Dimitrije Milovich, was an East coast surfer and founder of Winterstick.[17]

In 1978, they moved to Manchester, Vermont. During the early years four or five workers sold, shaped, and repaired their snowboards.

Jake Burton campaigned for local resorts to open their lifts to snowboard riders. The first mountain to have reportedly let snowboarders in was in 1982, the Suicide Six ski area in Pomfret, Vermont. Next was Stratton Mountain, and later, Jay Peak and Stowe. When resorts started to accept riders, the public did too. Burton was in place to supply them with snowboards.

In 1982, Burton was marketing their product at the National Snowboarding Championships, which were held at Suicide Six. In 1985, the National Snowboarding Championships moved to Stratton Mountain and became the U.S. Open Snowboarding championships which was operated and owned by Burton. This competition helped legitimize the sport. In 1983, he married Donna Carpenter and, in the past, taken her last name as his last name.[5]

In 1985 Burton established the European Division of Burton in Innsbruck, Austria. In 1986, distribution started in New Zealand. In 1992, the Burton factory relocated to Burlington. In 1994, they opened the Japan division in Urawa-shi. In 2014, there were 400 employees in Burlington, out of 1,000 worldwide.[5]

As of 2009, Burton owned 10 companies that sold snowboards, outerwear, and shoes. R.E.D,[18] Gravis,[19] Anon,[20] Analog,[21] Forum,[22] Special Blend,[23] Foursquare, Jeenyus, and most recently Channel Islands.[24] In 2008, Burton began to make surfboards in Vermont.[citation needed]

In 2008, a number of complaints arose when Burton produced snowboards, some with topsheets illustrating self-mutilation and others with topsheets illustrating Playboy bunnies. As a result, the Burton Love was discontinued for the 2012 line and replaced by the Mr. Nice Guy.[25]

Each year, Jake Burton has hosted the Fall Bash, to promote good will among employees and friends of the company.[26] In 2009, the Fall Bash became the subject of controversy after the company attempted to censor press about it.[27]

In 2010, Burton announced that Burton Snowboards would cease manufacturing in Vermont, moving production to Austria. "[S]imply put, it costs us significantly more to produce a board in Vermont than we are capable of selling it for, and sadly, this is not sustainable in the current economy."[28]

Burton named Donna Carpenter as President in December 2011.[5]

For 2013, Donna Carpenter estimated that the company had 40–45% of the snowboarding business; which business totaled $236 million. She said that the U.S. market comprised 35% of the business, Europe 30%, and Japan and Canada most of the rest.[5]

In May 2014, Burton named Mike Rees as CEO. Jake Burton remained as founder and chairman.[5] In December 2015, Burton named Donna Carpenter as CEO (Mike Rees having left to be closer to family) and John Lacy as President.[29]

In light of their 40th anniversary in 2016, Burton's Chief Creative Officer, Greg Dacyshyn, stated he wishes to keep both the sport and lifestyle aspect of the brand going for many years.[30]

Jake Burton Carpenter died at his home due to a recurrence of testicular cancer on November 20, 2019.[31]

Marketing and promotion[edit]

In order to attract rider interest, Burton sponsors professional riders and events. Burton's sponsored professional snowboard team includes Taylor Gold,[32] Shaun White, Jeremy Jones, Kazuhiro Kokubo, Terje Haakonsen, Ellery Hollingsworth, Kelly Clark, Hannah Teter, and Kevin Pearce. Burton has avoided having complete sponsorship with Burton/Burton affiliated brands. Nicholas Mueller rides Burton bindings/boards with Nike boots/outerwear. Burton has come under criticism over its choices regarding team members, such as the removal of David Carrier Porcheron[33] and other riders in 2008.

Burton sponsored the creation of organic terrain parks made of rocks, stumps, and logs. These parks, known as "The Stash" can be found at Northstar, California, Truckee, California, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Killington Ski Resort, Vermont, Avoriaz, France, and The Remarkables, New Zealand.

Burton Snowboards created a program Learn To Ride in 1998. They were the only snowboard company to focus on instruction methods and beginner-specific equipment. The goal was to give beginner snowboarders the best initial snowboarding experience possible so they would continue to snowboard. Burton teamed up with the American Association of Snowboard Instructors, the Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors, and major resorts around the world.[34]

The Chill program was founded in 1995 to provide children with the opportunity to learn to snowboard. Chills works in conjunction with inner city youth programs to take children and teens to local mountains and teach them to ride over a six-week period. Burton provides everything needed for the experience: gear, lift tickets, and instruction. Founded in 1995, Chill has provided over 12,000 underprivileged children the opportunity to learn to snowboard. Because of the 2008 graphics controversy and concern over effects on youth, a local beneficiary severed its ties with Burton.[35]

In December 2016, Burton launched a pop up shop on Newbury Street in Boston.[36]


The company started using a single-channel binding-mounting system on its 2008 models. In 2009, this system was installed on other snowboard lines. A binding system was offered with this system that was designed to give the rider more control as well as greater board feel. This binding system named EST eliminates weight by mounting the binding to the board from the sides of the binding instead of the middle, getting rid of the middle baseplate. One is also able to move the binding in another direction from before, back and forward. The binding is able to adjust to ones specific needs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Burton Cuts Small Percentage of Staff". Burton Snowboards Inc. February 11, 2010. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
  2. ^ Reingold, Jennifer (June 2006). "Burton Snowboards". Fast Company (108). New York. p. 58.
  3. ^ Shay, James D. (January 6, 2008). "Burton's crusade could pay off – The Connecticut Post Online". www.connpost.com. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Marquardt, Katy (September 29, 2008). King of the Hill in Snowboards. US News and World Report.
  5. ^ a b c d e f D'Ambrosio, Dan (June 19, 2014). "Burton rides trends from Vermont to China". Burlington Free Press. Burlington, Vermont. pp. 4D. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  6. ^ burton.kontain.com Archived January 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Burton Snowboards Is King of the Hill". U.S. News. September 19, 2009.
  8. ^ "Vintage 1981 Burton Backhill Snowboard". Vintagewinter.com. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  9. ^ "The King of Snowboards". Inc.com. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  10. ^ "Analog Clothing". Skateboarding.com.au. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
  11. ^ "Gravis Footwear Launched by Burton – Sort Of". Transworld Snowboarding. December 1, 1998. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
  12. ^ "Burton Finalizes Acquisition of Forum, Jeenyus, Foursquare and Special Blend". Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  13. ^ Burton :: Burton Acquires Alien Workshop and Habitat Archived February 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Burton US Site". Burton.com. Archived from the original on March 15, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  15. ^ Helmich, Portland (August 2000). "Chairman of the Board". Business People-Vermont. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  16. ^ "Burton Snowboards Inc. History". Funding Universe. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  17. ^ "Back in the Day". Burton Press Kit. Burton Snowboards. 2007. pp. 3–39. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  18. ^ "9 Men's RED Helmets". Burton.com. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
  19. ^ "Gravis Footwear". Gravis Footwear. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
  20. ^ "Anon". Anonoptics.com. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  21. ^ "Analog Clothing". Analog Clothing. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  22. ^ "Forum Snowboarding | Fun is Fun". Forumsnowboards.com. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  23. ^ "Special Blend Outerwear and Softgoods | First Chair Last Call". Special-blend.com. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  24. ^ ": Channel Islands Surfboards". Cisurfboards.com. Archived from the original on February 8, 2014. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  25. ^ Ober, Lauren (November 19, 2008). Council asks Burton to discuss snowboard images. Burlington Free Press.
  26. ^ "Making Fun of Snowboarding Since 1997 » Features Random » Wah, Wah, Wah, Wah". YoBeat. October 4, 2009. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  27. ^ "» Burton Snowboards: Control Denied". Jaredsouney.com. September 20, 2007. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  28. ^ "Burton Snowboards moving production facilities out of Vermont". The Ski Channel. March 16, 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2010.
  29. ^ "Archived copy". shop-eat-surf. Archived from the original on December 23, 2015. Retrieved December 23, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ "Behind The Brand: Greg Dacyshyn of Burton". The Lens. July 26, 2016. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  31. ^ Pells, Eddie (November 21, 2019). "Jake Burton Carpenter who founded Burton snowboards dies". The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  32. ^ "Taylor Gold". United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA). Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  33. ^ "Making Fun of Snowboarding Since 1997 » Features Hump Day Interviews » DCP Says YES to Hump Day". YoBeat. September 9, 2009. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  34. ^ "Burton Snowboards". K5.com. Retrieved February 22, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  35. ^ "Burton Love Graphics Prompt Essex CHIPS To Withdraw From CHILL Program". Transworld Business. Archived from the original on July 17, 2010. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  36. ^ "Burton Pop Up on Newbury Street - Boston". newburystboston.com. December 20, 2016.

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