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Jake Burton and the History of Snowboarding

Twenty-five years have gone by since Jake Burton Carpenter started making snowboards. His company today is the most successful and largest manufacturer in the world for snowboarding. A key success to Burton Boards was pushing to make snowboarding a sport.

The idea came from building a better Snurfer, a sledge toy that was shaped like a small water ski with a rope tied to the nose and used to stand on. Purely sport, not the Burton company was Jake’s main focus when he first started out in the 70s. He worked with ski areas to get the new sport moving and onto the mountains. He succeeded in the early 80s by convincing Stratton Mountain to give it a shot.

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“I was talking to all these successful entrepreneurs and realized that it’s not impossible to get a business going,” recalls Jake (Morrison). Friends were turning friends into snowboarding and sales doubled every season. Skaters, surfers, and skiers everywhere were discovering a new sensation. The temptation was there to get all the money and have stock to go out and build factories and such, but Burton was more focused on developing high-quality snowboarding gear.

A big step for Jake was creating a group of senior managers. These would be the key people and to divide the tasks of the company. With good decisions, Jake created a great senior management group, they all ride and are dedicated to the sport. A majority of them have been at Burton for ten years.

Burton, the company does not have any stocks because Jake doesn’t think it makes sense to have shareholders who don’t snowboard. “How can they be better owners of this company, I live it, I love it-this sport is my life.” Jake isn’t working 70 hour weeks anymore, instead, he’s out riding and take his success as an opportunity to get more involved in the sport than ever before.

In 1995, Burton started CHILL, a learn to snowboard program for needy kids in the Burlington, Vermont area. The company focused on kids who didn’t have the money to get to a mountain and snowboard. The program started as a way for Burton to give back to the community and for kids to help build the industry. Burton recognized the need for this type of organized activity and the benefits it provides these troubled kids. The company decided to expand the program, which now eight cities across the United States offer the CHILL program.

Burton Snowboards set up competitions to further evolve the sport. It supports the efforts of Free the Snow, a non-profit organization that campaigns against the ban of snowboarding at resorts. Only six resorts in the United States still do not allow snowboarding.

Jake Burton Carpenter has truly brought the sport of snowboarding to a world-class level. Burton Snowboards eventually expanded into European and Japanese markets. The company is headquartered in Burlington, Vermont with international offices in Innsbruck, Austria and Saitama, Japan, and more than thirty other countries, it is a choice of brand for millions around the world. The industry of Burton Snowboards not only manufacturers boards but bindings, boots, and apparel for the every day or beginning snowboarder. It’s hard to believe how successful Burton Snowboards is by pulling in over 700 million dollars annually when starting out with 20,000 dollars. Jake has a prime mission to open snowboarding at every mountain resort, but even as snowboarding reaches resorts worldwide, Burton continues to focus on the sport first.

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Jake Burton and the History of Snowboarding. (2021, Mar 13). Retrieved July 16, 2021, from