One of the most popular brands available for snowboarding is Burton Snowboards. Not only is their gear awesome, they have a team of all-star snowboarders including Shaun White, Hannah Teter, and John Jackson—just to name a few. But how did Jake Burton Carpenter take a small idea and turn it into the world’s first (and soon to be one of the best) snowboard manufacturing company?
It all began in 1977, when active skier Burton became enthralled with Sherman Poppen’s invention the snurfer. The snurfer consists of the binding together of two skis with a rope attached to the nose for the rider to grasp. After moving to Vermont, Jake Burton Carpenter tried manufacturing his own version of the snurfer as a way to make extra money. Using ideas from Dimitrje Milovich (who used trays to surf down snowbanks), Burton created a board made from laminated hardwood with bindings to give the rider more control. He went on to win a snurfing competition with his prototype, amazing the snurfing community. Soon after, Burton and a few friends began remodeling and reshaping boards to match his prototype.
In 1978, Burton started creating models with aluminum fins so riders can ride in any snow condition, whether it is fresh powder, slush, or packing snow. The following year Burton started a trend by putting graphics on their boards with labels such as “Burton Boards.” With the “snow surfing” industry rapidly increasing in popularity, Burton and his company make a name for themselves when they compete in the first National Snowboarding Championship—the U.S. Open—winning by riding a Burton snowboard in 1982. Not only are they winning competitions, Burton’s production is expanding to Japan this same year. Then, Burton creates a board that gets rid of the rope attachment and adds bindings with a heel strap for riders to wear the Burton Competition Shoes, the company’s first boot, which helps riders to trek up the mountain. 1985 was a big year for the company when Burton crafted snowboards with a foam middle enclosed in bi-directional fiberglass and fully wrapped edges. With Europe recognizing the quality of a Burton snowboard, Burton opened a site in Innsbruck, Austria.
In the years to follow, Burton will create snowboards for all different types of riding to provide rider’s with a smooth ride and big air off jumps. With boards ranging from high-speed stability to a board that allows a rider to feel like they’re floating to a excellent blend of both, there is no arguing that Burton Snowboards is one of, if not the best, snowboard brand out there.