Since 1977, Burton has revolutionized snowboarding. From its Snurfing roots (an actual thing) to a bonafide lifestyle, skipping school for powder and spraying skiers has been the name of the game for almost five decades. Founded by Jake Burton Carpenter in Vermont, the sport's first iteration of board was the Backhill, a laminated maple board with a rope handle, single strap bindings, and a whole lot of charm. Fast forward to 2015, and Burton's a multi-million dollar company that specializes in all things snowboarding. (And, of course, its boards today are on the bleeding edge.)
Last month, along with the spectacularly-talented photog Daniel Cardon, I had the opportunity to tour the Burton HQ in Burlington, Vermont, and discovered that, indeed, snowboarding dreams have become reality.
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“You need to know where you’ve been before you know where you’re going," as it's written on the wall. And Burton, despite its smashing worldwide and multimillion dollar successes, still feels like a small company.
Fun fact: Burton closes its doors if it snows two feet in 24 hours. Powder day for everyone. High-fives all around.
Check out those 2015 boards, looking mighty fine.
Cozy + functional = yes, please.
The Christmas theme was on lock. And yes, Burton owns the board game, but its gear is nothing to dismiss. At the HQ, there's no shortage of jackets, shirts, and just about every accessory you'd possibly need to handle the outdoors.
HELLO. BURTON DOG HERE.
Just across the parking lot is Craig's Facility, named after the late snowboarder Craig Kelly. The place is filled with prototypes and the facility boasts over 10,000 square feet, housing the best of Burton's high-end, custom-built machinery. And while capable of making thousands of boards, Craig’s is solely dedicated to research and development.
Between the Burton office and Craig’s lies the path with a classic Vermont-covered bridge, a chairlift and of course, the skate bowl north of the parking lot. This place is like being in Neverland, except with grown adults who get paid to be there.
Did we mention there's a rapid-prototype machine that allows engineers to build plastic binding parts overnight and test it on snow the next morning? Because that exists, baby.
In addition to the board facility, Craig’s has a mini snowboard museum called “The Barn.” Here, you can take a self-guided tour of archived photos, snowboards, products, and videos from the first 30 years of Burton’s history. Snowboard nerds, rejoice.
It must be said: on this day it was absolutely freezing, and there was ice everywhere. That didn't keep this brave employee from showing her skills at Burton's skate park, better known as Burton Bowl.
So yeah, you might want to go ahead and send Burton a job application right now.
Molly McGlew is a guest contributor and alum of Supercompressor. She’s currently riding a Burton board and digs every second of it. Follow her to freedom on Instagram: @MollyMcGlew.