Burton Snowboards was the world’s first snowboard manufacturing company and is the largest snowboarding company in the world. It was established in 1977 by Jake Burton Carpenter in Manchester, Vermont. Jake grew up in Cedarhurst, New York and after graduating from New York University, he became inspired by Sherman Poppen’s invention, the Snurfer.
Over the next couple of years, Jake Burton made several modifications based on the original Snurfer design. In 1977 Jake Burton moved his operation to Londonberry, Vermont in order to pursue his dream of building snowboards and snowboarding gear. Jake manufactured his first Burton snow board by hand in his garage that year. Because Burton was working under a shoestring budget, he couldn't afford the proper equipment and applied polyurethane to his snowboards wearing a scuba mask. A little-known fact is that Jake’s co-founder at the time was Dimitrije Milovich, who eventually left Burton to start Winterstick snowboards in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The following year, Burton moved to Manchester, Vermont where Jake and his small team, shaped and produced snowboards. Burton’s first snowboards were constructed from bentwood laminate and had a fixed binding that held the rider’s snowboard boots tightly to their snowboard.
At the same time, Jake Burton Carpenter was on a mission to convince ski resorts to allow snowboarding. In 1982, Suicide Six Resort in Pomfret, Vermont was the first to open its resort to snowboarders. Suicide Six was also the location of the first National Snowboard Championship. Soon after, additional Vermont resorts such as Stratton Mountain Resort, Jay Peak, and Stowe open their slopes to men and women snowboarders.
Burton’s first wooden snowboards were originally designed to be powder snowboards, but they had poor performance when it came to edge-control on groomed trails and especially hard-packed snow. He had to come up with a new custom snowboard design in order to maximize carving performance on groomers. The answer to the issue was the Performer Elite, which had a P-tex base, metal edges, and bindings with high-backs.
In 1985, the National Snowboard Championship was relocated from the Suicide Six Resort to Stratton Mountain Resort. The official name of the event was also changed to the U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships. The event was owned, produced, and operated by Burton Snowboards. The U.S. Open played a huge part in legitimizing the sport of snowboarding.
In 1985 and 1986, Burton Snowboards established an office Innsbruck, Austria, and also had distribution in Norway, France, Switzerland, Germany, and New Zealand. Shortly after, Burton Snowboards eventually moved from Manchester, Vermont to Burlington, Vermont in 1992 and opened their Urawa, Japan office in 1995.
Burton Snowboards has always sponsored some of the biggest professional snowboarder names in the history of snowboarding. In no particular order, to name some of the notable Burton team riders: Craig Kelly, Jeff Brushie, Peter Bauer, Jean Nerva, Andy ‘The Dog’ Coghlan, Mike Jacoby, Jason Ford, Keith ‘Duckboy’ Wallace, Noah Brandon, Michelle Taggart, Nicole Angerath, Terje Haakonsen, Bryan Iguchi, David Downing, Shannon Dunn, Anne Molin Kongsgard, Jim Rippey, Joe Curtes, Ross Powers, Kelly Clark, Shaun White, Hannah Teter, Kevin Pearce, Mark McMorris, Ben Ferguson, Danny Davis, Red Gerard, and Chloe Kim.
Burton is currently the largest manufacturer of snowboards in the world. Burton Snowboards produces and sells snowboard jackets, snowboard pants, snowboard goggles, snowboard bindings, snowboard boots, snowboard helmets, and snowboarding gear for men, women, and kids.