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Burton Snowboards Inc.
Type Private
Founded 1977
Headquarters Burlington, Vermont
Key people Jake Burton Carpenter, Founder and Chairman
Laurent Potdevin, President and CEO
Industry Sporting goods
Products Snowboard equipment, apparel, accessories
Employees Over 600 U.S., 950 Global[1]
Website http://www.burton.com/

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]

Contents

Company overview

Burton built the worlds first snowboard factory.[citation needed] It is the largest snowboard brand in the world.[5] 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.[6]

Besides 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) and Gravis (footwear). In 2005, Four Star Distribution sold four of its snowboard brands to Burton, including Forum Snowboarding which designs hardgoods and softgoods, outerwear and streetwear. Burton, a privately-owned company, also owns a surfing distributor.

The Burton line is split into three types of categories. They are: Freeride, for big mountain; freestyle, for versatile ride; and park, for freestyle disciplines like half-pipe and park. 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.[7]

In 2008, the winter sports 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]

History

Burton factory in 2009, including double chairlift, originally used at a resort,[8] between streetlights

Burton Snowboards[9] was founded by Jake Burton Carpenter in 1977.[4] Carpenter was inspired by the snurfer,[4] invented by Sherman Poppen. He modified it. In 1977 Carpenter moved to Londonderry, Vermont to make the first Burton Snowboards. Carpenter first made snowboards by hand in his garage. He couldn't afford the proper equipment—so he applied polyurethane wearing a scuba mask. His co-founder Dimitrije Milovich, was an East coast surfer and founder of Winterstick.

In 1978, they moved to Manchester, Vermont. During the early years 4 or 5 workers sold, shaped, and repaired their snowboards.

Carpenter 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 were organized at the Suicide Six Resort. 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 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, VT. In 1994 they opened the Japan division in Urawa-shi.

In 2009, Burton owned 10 companies that sold snowboards, outerwear, and shoes. R.E.D,[10] Gravis,[11] Anon,[12] Analog,[13] Forum,[14] Special Blend,[15] Foursquare, Jeenyus, and most recently Channel Islands.[16] Channel Islands is a surfboard company, and surfboards seems to be Burtons next goal. In 2008 Burton began to make surfboards in Vermont.

In 2008, a number of complaints arose when Burton produced snowboards with topsheets illustrating self-mutilation and Playboy bunnies.[17]

Each year, Jake Burton has hosted the Fall Bash, to promote good will among employees and friends of the company.[18] In 2009, the Fall Bash became the subject of controversy after the company attempted to censor press about it. [19]

In 2010, Carpenter 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."[20]

Marketing/Promotion

In order to attract rider interest, Burton sponsors professional riders and events. Burton's sponsored professional snowboard team includes Shaun White, Jeremy Jones, Terje Haakonsen, Ellery Hollingsworth, Kelly Clark, Hannah Teter, Kevin Pearce and Mason Aguirre. Burton has come under criticism over for its choices regarding the team, such as the removal of David Carrier Porcheron[21] and other riders in 2008.

Burton sponsored the creation of organic terrain parks made of rocks, stumps, and logs. These parks can be found at Killington Ski Resort, Vermont, USA; Northstar at Tahoe, USA; Avoriaz, France; The Remarkables, New Zealand and Flachauwinkl Resort, Austria.

Burton Snowboards created a program called Learn To Ride (LTR) 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.[22]

The Chill program was founded in 2005 to provide kids with the opportunity to learn to snowboard. Chills works in conjunction with inner city youth programs to take kids and teens to local mountains and teach them to ride over a 6-week period. Burton provides everything needed for the experience: gear, lift tickets, and instruction. Founded in 1995, Chill has provided over 12,000 underprivileged kids 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.[23]

Technology

The company started using a single-channel binding-mounting system on its 2006 models. In 2007, 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.[24] However, critics say the system greatly hinders compatibility with existing bindings, and is less secure as it only uses two screws to hold the binding in place.

Footnotes

  1. ^ "Burton Cuts Small Percentage of Staff". Burton Snowbaords Inc.,. 2010-02-11. http://www.burton.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Burton_US-Site/default/News-PressDetails?entryID=67427&page=1/. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  2. ^ Reingold, Jennifer (June 2006), "Burton Snowboards", Fast Company (New York) (108): 58, OCLC 24, 2007 July 24, 2007, http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/108/open_customers-snowboards.html 
  3. ^ Shay, James D. (2008-01-06). "Burton's crusade could pay off – The Connecticut Post Online". www.connpost.com. http://www.connpost.com/jimshay/ci_7904120. Retrieved 2009-02-09. 
  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. ^ "Burton Snowboards Is King of the Hill". U.S. News. 2009-09-19. http://www.usnews.com/money/business-economy/small-business/articles/2008/09/19/burton-snowboards-is-king-of-the-hill.html. 
  6. ^ "Burton Snowboards - NiftyTricks". Niftytricks. 2009-01-09. http://www.niftytricks.com/wiki/Burton_Snowboards/. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  7. ^ Burton :: Burton Acquires Alien Workshop and Habitat
  8. ^ http://burton.kontain.com/burton/entries/61547/throwback-thursday---a-lost-chairlift-finds-a-home/
  9. ^ http://www.burton.com/default.aspx
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ http://www.gravisfootwear.com/
  12. ^ "Anon". Anonoptics.com. http://www.anonoptics.com/. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  13. ^ "Analog Clothing". Analog Clothing. http://www.analogclothing.com/home. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  14. ^ "Forum Snowboarding | Fun is Fun". Forumsnowboards.com. http://www.forumsnowboards.com/. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  15. ^ "Special Blend Outerwear and Softgoods | First Chair Last Call". Special-blend.com. http://www.special-blend.com/. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  16. ^ ": Channel Islands Surfboards :". Cisurfboards.com. http://www.cisurfboards.com/. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  17. ^ Ober, Lauren (November 19, 2008). Council asks Burton to discuss snowboard images. Burlington Free Press. 
  18. ^ "Making Fun of Snowboarding Since 1997 » Features Random » Wah, Wah, Wah, Wah". YoBeat. 2009-10-04. http://www.yobeat.com/2009/10/jakes-fall-bash-recession-proof/. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  19. ^ "» Burton Snowboards: Control Denied". Jaredsouney.com. 2007-09-20. http://www.jaredsouney.com/2009/10/burton-snowboards-control-denied/. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  20. ^ "Burton Snowboards moving production facilities out of Vermont". The Ski Channel. March 16, 2010. http://www.theskichannel.com/news/skinews/20100316/Burton-Snowboards-moving-production-facilities-out-of-Vermont. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  21. ^ "Making Fun of Snowboarding Since 1997 » Features Hump Day Interviews » DCP Says YES to Hump Day". YoBeat. 2009-09-09. http://www.yobeat.com/2009/09/dcp-says-yes-to-hump-day/. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  22. ^ "Burton Snowboards". K5.com. http://www.k5.com/page.asp?itemid=224/. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  23. ^ ADMIN. "Burton Love Graphics Prompt Essex CHIPS To Withdraw From CHILL Program | Transworld Business". Business.transworld.net. http://business.transworld.net/2008/11/10/burton-love-graphics-prompt-essex-chips-to-withdraw-from-chill-program. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  24. ^ Sierra Snowboard

Burton Snowboards. "Back in the Day." Burton Press Kit (2007): 3–39.

External links

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