A History of Burton Snowboards
In 1977, Jake Burton Carpenter started Burton Snowboards in Londonderry, Vermont. Working out of a garage, Jake Burton contributed to the beginning of what would become the world’s fastest growing sport. Starting out with a single snowboard model, Burton Snowboards has worked nonstop over the past 3 decades to provide the best snowboards in the industry. Since its inception, Burton Snowboards has progressed to become an industry leader; dominating the sport of snowboarding by offering innovative and time tested products year after year.
Whether you’re a part of the Burton “fan club,” or not, there’s no denying the effect Burton has had on the industry. From the innovative Burton Air, to the best selling Burton Custom, Burton has been the leader in snowboard manufacturing. Rising from a line-up of one snowboard, Burton Snowboards now offers over 50 different snowboard models in 2009.
Here is a list of the most influential Burton snowboards over the last 30 years.
• Burton Backhill. This bad boy featured solid wood construction, front and rear bindings, and top and bottom graphics, all new and innovative ideas for a brand new sport. The Backhill was the first board created by Burton in 1977 and was the dominant board in the Burton line-up until 1985. The Backhill returned in the form of the Burton Fish in 2002. While not exactly the same, the Burton Fish took the innovative design of the Backhill and combined it with the latest in snowboard technology resulting in one of the best powder boards of all time.
• Burton Performer and Performer Elite. One of the first snowboards to feature steel edges, a fiberglass-wrapped core, and a convex P-Tex base. Another addition to this snowboard was the new buckle binding. The Performer was introduced by Burton in 1983 and quickly became Burton’s best selling snowboard. With a short run of only 3 years in production, the Performer set the standard for snowboards built to handle any snow condition.
• Burton Air. One of the most revolutionary snowboards in Burton’s line-up. The Air series was introduced in 1989 and ran through 1996. This board featured a vertically laminated wood core sealed with ABS sidewalls. The Burton Air was a favorite of snowboard enthusiasts and ridden by every rider on Burton’s Pro Team. The Burton Air returned to the line-up in 2006.
• Burton Twin. Inspired by the Burton Air, the Twin series snowboard set the standard for park and freeride snowboards. At its birth in 1993, the Twin snowboard helped start a revolution in snowboarding. As riders began looking for an alternative to riding generic slopes, the Twin helped pave the way. Park rats and jib kids welcomed the Twin with open arms as it allowed them to take their riding to a new level. The Twin line ran from 1993 to 1998, made a triumphant return in 2006, and is still going strong in Burton Snowboards’ line-up today.
• Burton Feelgood. One of the first, and most popular women’s specific snowboards ever created. Burton Snowboards leaned on the experience of one of the greatest women snowboarders of all time, Shannon Dunn, to create a solid entry into their line-up that was specifically geared toward the needs of women riders. First hitting the scene in 2000, the Burton Feelgood is still one of Burton's best selling women's snowboards today.
• Burton Chopper. One of the first kid specific snowboards. Once again, Burton Snowboards led the pack in innovation. Thinking outside the box, Burton started to create products to cater to all snowboarders. Though the sport was dominated by the male demographic, Burton went out on a limb to create the perfect board for children learning how to ride. Beginning in 1997, the Chopper is still one of the best selling, child specific boards on the market.
• Burton Custom. The best selling snowboard of all time. In 1996, Burton’s line-up was changed with the addition of the Burton Custom. The first true “do-it-all” snowboard, the Custom combined the pop and fun of the park geared Twin with the shape of a more all mountain style board. The Custom has dominated Burton’s line-up from its inception in 1996 to today. It is consistently the favorite amongst riders everywhere in every condition. The Custom has now become a standard by which all other boards are judged. With the addition of the Burton Custom V-Rocker, Burton has fully embraced the revolutionary reverse-camber technology that is taking the industry by storm. With the Burton Custom V-Rocker, Burton is once again leading the charge toward new, innovative changes in snowboard technology.
There seems to be no grey area when it comes to Burton. Most often, you find that you either love them or you hate them. However, with their advances in snowboard technology, it’s easy to see that Burton has helped create products that dominate the snowboard scene year after year. Their influence on board styles and shapes can be found at every ski resort. From the sheer number of Burton boards on the slopes to the Burton inspired boards of other manufacturers, Burton sets the industry standard.
Photo Credit: Sierrasnowboard.com. Burton Backhill. The board that started it all.