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A Sports’s Roots: Vermont’s Burton Snowboards 3
The History of Snowboarding in North America 5
The History of Snowboarding in Europe 8
The History of Snowboarding in Japan 13
Burton Goes Global 15
Burton Sportartikel: The History of Burton Snowboards’ European Headquarters 16
Burton Japan: The History of Burton Snowboards’ Japanese Headquarters 18
US Open Historical Highlights 20
Snowboarding and the Olympics 22


Company Fact Sheet 25
Burton Snowboards’ Company Profile 27
Beyond Snowboards: Burton’s Family of Companies 28
How Snowboard Graphics Get Created 29
BMC Factory Tour 33
Burton’s 2004 Catalog and Website 38
Facts on Chill – Burton’s Non-Profit Learn to Snowboard Program 39
Burton’s Resort Programs Fact Sheet 40
Frequently Asked Questions about Burton Snowboards 42

Jake Burton’s 2004 Biography 49
Everyone Calls Him Jake 51
Jake Burton Chases Winter Across Six Continents 54
Jake’s Thoughts on the 2002 Winter Olympics 55

Snowboarding 101: Just the Basics 57
Tuning: Better Board Care = Better Riding 59
Snowboarding Terms and Tricks 61
Backcountry Basics 64


Industry Fact Sheet 67
SIA Stats from 72
Industry Sales Statistics 75
Additional Resources 80
Bibliography 81

For more information on Burton Snowboards check out

You can also call Burton Rider Service at: (800) 881-3138


Contents: Page:

A Sports’s Roots: Vermont’s Burton Snowboards 3

The History of Snowboarding in North America 5
The History of Snowboarding in Europe 8
The History of Snowboarding in Japan 13
Burton Goes Global 15
Burton Sportartikel: The History of Burton Snowboards’ European Headquarters 16
Burton Japan: The History of Burton Snowboards’ Japanese Headquarters 18
US Open Historical Highlights 20
Snowboarding and the Olympics 22

On the outskirts of Burlington, Vermont sits an

office with an old chairlift spanning the parking lot
and a skate ramp out back. The current location
of over 25 years of innovation and commitment to
the sport, this company has roots that run deep
into the history of snowboarding. The company is
Burton Snowboards – the world’s first snowboard
factory. And this is how it all started.

In the mid-60s, Jake Burton was one of thousands of kids to get hooked on Sherman Poppen’s
Snurfer, the earliest commercial form of the modern snowboard. It might have only been a
department store toy, but it was still surfing on snow. Shocked that not much had progressed ten
years later, Jake bid the Manhattan business world farewell to become a snowboard “shaper”. He
moved to Londonderry, Vermont and started making and riding his first boards. The world’s first
snowboard factory was born. The year was 1977.

The early years were an experiment in grassroots business.

In the second year, Burton Snowboards moved into a
farmhouse in Manchester, Vermont – the facility that went on
to produce such classics as Burton’s Backhill and Performer
snowboards. Working in the living room, dining room,
basement and barn, a crew of four to five people produced,
sold and repaired all the early Burton models. Jake’s toll-free
customer service line rang in the bedroom, at all hours. In the
middle of the night, Jake took down orders from
snowboarders all over the country. If orders for boards were
low, Jake loaded up his Volvo wagon and visited up to ten
shops a day offering his latest designs. From the living
room/showroom, employees led “Safaris” – snowboard tours
of local powder stashes. Turns were earned by hiking.

In the first few years, snowboarding was an underground sport struggling on sledding hills and snow-
covered golf courses. As long as riders had to hike, it could only progress so far. To move the
industry and riding to the next level, Jake lobbied hard for local ski areas to open their lifts to
snowboarders. In 1982, Suicide Six Resort in Pomfret, Vermont was the first resort to allow
snowboarding. Soon after, Jake succeeded in convincing Stratton Mountain in Vermont to give it a
shot, thereby establishing a joint commitment to snowboarding that continues to this day. Others
followed – Jay Peak, Stowe, Sugarbush, Killington – some sooner, some much later. The opening
of eastern resorts not only led to growth for the sport, it became a major factor in Burton’s continual
product innovation. Edgeless wooden boards that were fine in powder no longer cut it on the
hardpack and sometimes icy conditions at Vermont mountain resorts. To handle the hardpacked
snow, Burton developed the Performer Elite, a board with a P-tex base, metal edges and bindings
with hi-backs.

Burton Snowboards has been involved in the competitive side of
the sport since the beginning. March 2002 marked the 20th
anniversary of the U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships –
an event for snowboarders by snowboarders. Then and now, it
is the premier contest each year, drawing the best riders in the
world. The Open has been the perennial venue of legendary
riding: Doug Bouton hitting 63 mph on a Backhill snowboard,
Craig Kelly dominating the pipe with his signature smooth
riding, Jeff Brushie and Terje Haakonsen going head to head
with huge McTwists. The early success of the U.S. Open
helped further legitimize the sport and increase mountain resort
area acceptance.

In 1992, Burton Snowboards moved from its Manchester location to Burlington, Vermont.
The same motivation that took Jake from the garage in Londonderry to the barn in Manchester
guided Burton from Manchester to Burlington: the commitment to making the world’s best
snowboarding equipment and growing the sport. Upon arrival in Burlington, the Burton Air
snowboard was state-of-the-art. Today, the Codes and the Powers are the boards snowboarders
ride to the podium.

The same heart that beat years ago in a garage in Londonderry, Vermont still beats strong within
the ever-expanding walls of Burton’s modern facilities in Burlington and the two affiliate offices in
Japan and Austria. Two things matter more than all else: riders and riding. They always have and
always will.


It was Christmas morning, 1965 when Sherman Poppen walked outside his home in Muskegon,
Michigan, looked at a snow-covered hill, and saw a wave.

Seems like an odd scenario for the birth-moment of snowboarding, but considering the Beach Boys
had just finished selling twelve million albums, it's not surprising that a land-locked inventor with
several industrial gas patents under his belt got the surfing bug and translated it to snow.

"My wife was pregnant and told me I had to do something

to get my two daughters out of the house or she was going
to go crazy," said Poppen, who admitted he was
fascinated by surfing, but had never tried it. "When I looked
at that hill, I thought why not?" Remembering the past
attempts of his daughter Wendy standing up on her sled,
he hastily screwed two pairs of children's skis together
with some doweling and fashioned a surfboard for the
snow. Within a few days, all the neighborhood kids were
begging Mr. Poppen for what Mrs. Poppen dubbed the
"Snurfer" by mixing the word "snow" with "surfer." Six
months later, Poppen licensed the idea to Brunswick
Manufacturing, and over the next ten years, upwards of a
million Snurfers were produced and sold through chain
sporting goods stores and toy stores.

As with all inventions, there's always some speculation regarding

who pioneered the movement. Before Poppen, there were
accounts of World War I soldiers standing sideways on barrel
staves and sliding down snow-swept hills while stationed in
Europe. At a local garage sale, Jake found a board dating back
to the 1920s.The recent discovery of a video dating back to 1939
shows an elegantly dressed man by the name of Vern Wicklund
riding a snowboard-type sled sideways down a small Chicago
hill. Wicklund family members have also uncovered patents for
the board. This discovery adds to the historical depth of
snowboarding, but as far as initially bringing the idea to the
masses, Poppen's Snurfer onslaught marked the conception.

Jake Burton Carpenter, founder of Burton Snowboards, the

largest snowboard brand in the world, remembers the Snurfer
as his first winter ride, as does Demetrije Milovich who
started Winterstick Snowboards and Chris Sanders who
founded Avalanche Snowboards. Burton, Winterstick and
Avalanche all started up in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s as did
Sims out on the West Coast. Quickly thereafter, the
American-born sport filtered throughout Europe with early
pioneers such as Frenchman Regis Rolland riding his
swallowtail snowboard into history as the "good guy
snowboarder" being pursued by the "bad guy skiers" in the
cult classic movies known simply as Apocalypse Snow I, II
and III. The French dubbed the sport appropriately Le Surf,
and surfing on snow became the newest winter sport
In the early eighties, ski movies by Warren Miller and Greg Stump occasionally featured clips of
snowboarders surfing deep powder and articles gradually popped up in skateboarding, surfing and
skiing publications.

But unlike the Hawaiian-born water sport of surfing, there was no clear-cut occurrence that brought
modern-day snowboarding to the masses. Hollywood released the movie Gidget in 1959, and then
in 1966 independent filmmaker Bruce Brown released The Endless Summer and the surfing lifestyle
reached the mainstream. Though the Vietnam War slowed down the sport's growth until the mid
‘70s, the romantic lifestyle of chasing waves instead of paychecks was firmly engraved into the
youthful minds of the world and especially America.

If any year could be marked as the beginning of the snowboarding explosion it was 1985.
Absolutely Radical, the first exclusive snowboard magazine hit the newsstand behind visionary
publisher Tom Hsieh. By this time, dozens of snowboard entrepreneurs were addicted to riding and
recognized the huge potential of the sport. Six months later, Hsieh changed the name of his
magazine to International Snowboard Magazine to tone down the sport's already "radical" image
and better represent the snowboarders of the world.

Even British agent James Bond saw the benefits of snowboarding when he narrowly escaped
capture by enemy Russian thugs in the 1985 release of A View To A Kill. American snowboarders
Steve Link and Tom Sims doubled for 007 on location at Glacier Lake in Iceland and Vadrietta di
Scersen in The Swiss Alps. The final scene of the pursuit shows Bond riding full speed into a glacial
lake where he surfs safely across the surface to the other side as the skier thugs wipe out,
screaming and sinking in the icy waters.

Two years later the publication of TransWorld Snowboarding Magazine and Snowboarder Magazine
spread the word with high circulation numbers targeting skateboarders, surfers and cross-over
skiers. By 1990, every European country as well as Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand
offered exclusive coverage of snowboarding. Local "zines" and independent filmmakers released
Snowboarders In Exile and Totally Board while snowboard manufacturers like Burton fed the fire with
Winter Waves and Chill.

Skiers started to wonder, "Where did all these snowboarders come from?" For some staunch
traditionalists, snowboarders came straight out of their worst nightmares, the bad boys and girls of
winter who, according to a 1994 television episode of American Journal, "are knocking down skiers
like bowling pins." Ironically, that same year, the May 5th cover of Wall Street Journal proclaimed,
“Snowboarding scores as the fastest growing sport with participation up 50 percent since the
previous winter." Appropriately a day later, Ride Snowboards became the first snowboard-specific
company to go public. It raised over $5.75 million its first day on the
stock exchange.

All this from a sport that was discounted as "a fad" by many ski resorts and mainstream media
journalists. Parade Magazine quoted Time Magazine, in its January 1988 issue by calling
snowboarding the "Worst New Sport...To traditionalists, the breezy fad is a clumsy intrusion on the
sleek precision of downhill skiing, but to some 100,000 enthusiasts, many of them adolescent
males, it is the coolest snow sport of the season... Of course there are holdouts. Complains
veteran Vermont skier, Mary Simons: Snowboarding is not about grace and style but about raging
hormones." But that was 1988.

Still, the sport was struggling for acceptance at many resorts in the early ‘90s. The average
snowboarder was an adolescent male with the same attitude as an adolescent skier. But since
most adolescents were on snowboards, the stereotypes began as a result of a few bad apples
riding fast and out of control, cutting lift lines and disregarding ski area boundaries. The still fledgling
sport was pegged and anyone on a board was regarded as "one to watch" by the ski patrol, and
"one to watch out for" by the skiers. Riders and manufacturers eventually started to police each
other and write letters to the resorts, lobbying for acceptance. Many resorts began to allow

snowboarders, but a few resorts still held out against riders. Today, only a handful of resorts that
ban snowboarders remain: Alta and Deer Valley in Utah, Taos in New Mexico, and Mad River Glen
in Vermont. Park City in Utah finally gave in during the 1996 season, ironically, after it bid for the
snowboard events at the 2002 Winter Olympics, and more recently Aspen opened its slopes on
April 1st, 2001.

Snowboarding has come a long way since The Summer of Love, 1965. It debuted as an official
Olympic sport at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, proving that it was no longer a fad.
And the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics fully launched snowboarding into the mainstream,
dominating the media and public’s attention before,during and after the Games. Burton Team rider
Kelly Clark captured the first Olympic Gold Medal for the United States at the 2002 Winter Games,
winning the Women’s Halfpipe Competition. And Burton Global Team rider Ross Powers won the
Olympic Gold Medal in Men’s Halfpipe, leading the Americans to the first medal sweep at the
Winter Olympics since 1956. Burton PGS rider Chris Klug also walked away from the Olympics
with a bronze medal in the Parallel Giant Slalom event, bringing Burton’s medal count to three – two
gold medals and a bronze. A 2002 survey conducted by Leisure Trends stated that 32% of the total
US population saw the Snowboarding Halfpipe competition – that means nearly 92 million people
watched the event – and that was only in the US. Of that percentage, 18.6 million Americans said
they wanted to try snowboarding after viewing the Olympic event. The 2002 Olympic Games gave
snowboarding an unprecedented amount of exposure, showing the world that it was legit and here to

In addition to the Olympics, ESPN, MTV and dozens of corporations push snowboarding to the
masses. Thanks to a dedicated core group of snowboarding industry leaders, including
manufacturers, magazines and riders, the soul of the sport is remaining intact and thriving amidst
the chaos of its newfound fame.


The Old Continent, the stronghold of the sport of skiing, has always lagged behind its North
American cousin. Indeed, as Jake was developing his first boards with edges, the Europeans,
especially the French, still flailed about on their monoskis.

It is difficult to say who was truly responsible for launching snowboarding in Europe. Many
legends abound, but the starting point of snowboarding in Europe cannot be traced back to
anyone in particular. The first time one of those snowboarding contraptions was seen in Europe
was at the end of the seventies, first in France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and finally, a few
years after, in Italy.

The Eighties: A new trend - snowboarding searches for its identity.

At the end of the seventies, some pioneers, like Henri Authier and skateboarder José Fernandès
from Zurich, returned from the States with a strange board named the Winterstick, but its
popularity was limited.

In 1980, while German Petra Mussig first rode moon-boots slipped under rubber foot straps
attached to the top of her board, Paul Loxton, an Australian living in the United States, arrived in
Les Arcs, France with some Winterstick boards in tow. Alain Gaymard, the publicity coordinator
for Les Arcs, had invited him there. The next year, Alain invited the US Winterstick Team to the
opening of the newly-founded resort Les Arcs 2000 in 1981/82. The team took to the virgin
slopes, accompanied by some local guides. Among the locals was 22-year-old Régis Rolland,
who continued experimenting with the board after the Americans’ departure. After attempting to
ride the board for three months, he finished a perfect run down a powder face and was hooked.
That same season, Gaymard offered Régis an appearance in the promotion film for Les Arcs, Ski
Espaces, one of the first films to feature a snowboarder. The director was famous filmmaker
Didier Lafont. In 1983, the same film crew shot Apocalypse Snow, a farcical film about a
snowboarder being chased by malicious monoskiers. The film, carried by its imaginative scenario,
spanned the globe, spreading the message of snowboarding. From 1984 to 1986, Apocalypse
Snow 2 and 3 followed with increasing success. Régis Rolland had now emerged as the emblem
of this fledgling sport.

Meanwhile, in addition to the private individuals who were manufacturing prototypes, some small
companies were moving into mass-production. All the riders at the time greeted this with great
enthusiasm. In Switzerland, the two pioneers José Fernandès and Antoine Massy started
designing boards (the Hooger Booger) design concepts similar to those still in use today.

In 1984, the French company DEA launched the first mass-produced swallowtail board. The
powder board Swell Panik also appeared in the same year. The first surf-shop emerged as well;
Eric Gros, the owner of the Parisian shop Hawaii Surf sold his first branded boards and import ed
Burton products directly from the States. In Tignes, Pierre Lavagne, founding member of the
Lézards Impériaux, opened Bazoom, which carried about fifteen different boards. The same
year, Jean Nerva, future icon of snowboarding in France, then a junior skiing instructor in Les
Arcs and hardcore monoskier, tried a Winterstick board brought back by Loxton. Back then,
powder snow was generous and Jean rode down the valley from Les Arcs to Bourg St Maurice
every evening.

1985 marked the beginning of the period of fun, fluorescent colors and zinc; hardly anyone went
unnoticed in their flurry of color. Gangs of riders started appearing at all the resorts with such
flashy names as the Lézards Impériaux and the Flying Carpets. That same year, boards with
metal edges, such as Burton Snowboards’ Performer, also began appearing. It was also the year
where the first freestyle pro-model, Terry Kidwell’s, came on the scene. The diversity of shapes
and designs led to the first snowboard tests conducted by the French Ski Magazine. Hot
Snowboards, another pioneering French manufacturer, now very rare but still available on the

market, came out with the One Sixty, a model with edges and a parabolic sidecut, marking a
turning point in the snowboard’s shape and influencing the entire alpine industry, including skiing.
Serge Dupraz had designed an evolutionary board, one that could carve curves into the snow
with its 6-meter sidecut radius. All the manufacturers jumped on this brilliant idea. Then, the first
snowboard gatherings started occurring. In France, the classic Serre Chevalier Derby allowed
the big riders of the time to confront each other: Jean Nerva and Gerard Rougier (current
president of the AFS, French Association of Snowboarding), Gilles Becker, Jean-Phi Garcia and

In 1986, between the occasional do-it-yourselfers and the large manufacturers, small companies
(especially French and Swiss) flourished in Europe. Today, there are few survivors; Hot, Nidecker
and Swell Panik are still active but on a smaller scale. At the time, however, snowboarding grew
in all directions, from alpine to extreme, while taking its first tentative steps at skateboard-
influenced freestyle. On May 16, 1986, a group of snowboarders went down Mont Blanc to stage
a media blow-out for the new magazine Vertical. Among the riders was Bruno Gouvy, riding a
swallowtail design with Bataille boots. Two years later, Bruno became a living legend after
completing three extreme powder slopes around Chamonix, the Eiger, the Cervin and the
Jorasses. He would also be the first snowboarder to accomplish an 8000 meter ride in the
Himalayas. Always pushing himself to the limit, Bruno made his last turn on l’Aiguille Verte in
1990. On May 17 , Denis Bertrand, snowboard designer, professional competitor, and another
French pioneer of extreme snowboarding, rode down the northeast face of les Courtes in the
Mont Blanc mountain range. He followed this up with a descent of Mont Blanc on the same day,
and thus became a fixture in the young and developing history of snowboarding in France. That
same year, as the sport was becoming more widely accepted and more organized, the first
European Championships were held in St. Moritz, Switzerland. At the same time, the first World
Championships were held in Breckenridge, Colorado. José Fernandès was the only European
rider to take part in that competition and he destroyed the Americans on their home turf, claiming
victory. José rode the first asymmetrical board, the Hooger Booger, with hiking boots mounted on
plate bindings, a more effective set-up than what the Americans were using at the time. While
there, José met freestyler Terry Kidwell, and returned to Europe throwing down backside airs and
rocket airs, two of the coolest tricks at that time.

At the same time in France, La Plagne organized one of the first large European gatherings: the
Euro Cup. Again, the Swiss team, composed of José Fernandès, Antoine Massy and Philippe
Imhof, and their technologically advanced short spatula boards and sharp sidecuts ruled the field.
Jean Nerva salvaged some French pride with a fourth-place finish with his tail-finned Bird Surf
board. Jean-Phi Garcia was also among the finishers. As for Serge Vitelli, he was still in the
United States on skis working as an entertainment director at Club Med. Another notable
gathering that year was the Tignes’ 1 Symposium. In 1986, the ratio of monoskiers to
snowboarders was approximately 9 to 1, but after that second event, that ratio would quickly
reverse itself. During the 1 Symposium, Denis Bertrand, Jacques Gris, Kafi, Kébra and Antoine
Massy met and exchanged ideas. There, they laid the groundwork for the commercial Look
Snowboards brand, a departure from the prevailing underground reputation of snowboarding.

In 1987, snowboarding’s popularity continued to grow, and it was becoming more accepted by the
mainstream. Admittedly, most resorts still looked down on those punks wearing fluorescent
clothes, and many ski lifts were still off-limits to snowboarders. Nevertheless, the first national
contests were established, and snowboarder associations, sometimes affiliated with ski
federations, were created. In France, Henri Gonon won the French championships with a One
Sixty board, and Jean Nerva was the runner-up. Livigno (Italy) and St. Moritz (Switzerland)
hosted the first world championships in Europe. More than 100 competitors from 17 nations
competed. Surprisingly, the French clinched first places: Yann Giauchain won the downhill and
Mylène Duclos took the Slalom ahead of favorite Petra Mussig. The halfpipe was also introduced
for the first time in a competition in Europe, and three Americans were giving a show: Terry
Kidwell, Craig Kelly and Bert Lamar; not only did they clear the halfpipe walls, but on top of that
they threw down some crazy airs while stunned European faces gazed skywards.The European

freestyle scene at this time was indeed extremely scaled-down. It had nowhere to go but up.
German heartthrob Peter Bauer was widely considered the best snowboarder in his country and
was the Slalom champion of Europe. He ran into Jean Nerva during a training course in Dubai,
who had just met Philippe Chenue, sole importer for Burton Snowboards in France. Nerva
quickly signed on to the Burton team, following the footsteps of Peter who had joined the year
before. This turned out to be fortuitous for both parties as Nerva, wearing his Safari boots, would
take the Slalom and the Giant Slalom titles during his first world cup in Zürs, Austria in 1988,
trumping Peter, who was the pre-competitionship favorite. Jean kept at it and became the moguls
world champion. During this time, he met Swede Anders Auer, one of the Look pro-riders. Bert
Lamar won fame in the pipe with the famous Look Lamar, a freestyle board with particular
cuttings made for better grabs.

In 1989, resorts started to smell the money that could be made. Not only did they remove the ban
on snowboarder access to ski lifts, but they also became interested in building halfpipes on their
grounds. Those attempts would fail, particularly in Serre Chevalier and l’Alpe d’Huez in France.
The Swiss were a little more advanced. When the pipe world cups rolled around, Italian Max
Perotti was gunning for the star, Bert Lamar. At the same time, the Alpine discipline was
evolving. At the world cup, the Frenchmen Yann Giauchain, Serge Vitelli, Eric Rey, D.D.
Maszewski and Denis Bertrand were the ones to beat in the alpine event. During this carve-crazy
period, Serge Vitelli was having fun “taking crazy angles, until you get your face in the snow;” the
Vitelli Turn was born (that was how Maurice Lejeune, trainer of Petra Müssig, coined it). Serge
felt ready to win in the slalom world championships, but he did not.

At the end of the 80s, competitions were still a mess; several world championships proceeded
simultaneously, the Grundig circuit was launched, and the birth of Kébra Classic occurred in 1989
in Tignes. The Kébra was an international race, which was not affiliated with any federation but
did attract some of the world’s best. During its first year, two petite Swiss women became well
known: Nicole Angelrath and Arlette Javet. The first Mondial du Snowboard took place in
October 1989 on the glacier of Les Deux Alpes: this was the first test for the well-known makes;
ten manufacturers were present. Because of a few unfortunate incidents, snowboarders were
compared to hooligans by the press.

The end of the Eighties would see the emergence of the urban styles and skateboard-influenced

The 90s: The snowboarding industry comes of age. Three disciplines emerge; Alpine,
Freestyle and Freeride.

The beginning of the 90s marked the advent of the pro-teams. Each manufacturer had one, the
cash was happening, the riders were stuffing their pockets and everyone was happy. Jean
Nerva, Peter Bauer, Pietro Colturi, Ashild Loftus and Nicole Angelrath made up Burton’s pro team
at the time. They competed with the best in the world. Ashild appeared unbeatable in Alpine,
beating the nearest competition in the women’s events by seconds and achieving times
comparable to the top eight male riders in the world. She rode with three buckle soft boots
whereas all the others were in plates. Nicole Angelrath left for the States, entered a halfpipe and
moguls competition without knowing that it was a World Cup event and returned with two titles.

It was also in 1990 that a young rider first appeared in France during the Kébra Classique: he
won the pipe competition. His name was Terje Haakonsen. Future snowboarding legend Terje
immediately joined the Euro Burton Pro Team, where he taught Jean Nerva the backside air.
While on the team, Terje was training for slalom using plates, with Peters and Jean.

D.D. Maszewski, then Alpine World Champion, and member of the then dominating Hot Pro
Team, was a strong believer in asymmetrical snowboards. Ironically, he was one of the first to
return to symmetric designs. In 1990, all the manufacturers launched their own asymmetrical

boards. Burton was no exception to the rule and launched the PJ, a board that also sealed the
friendship between Peter and Jean.

In 1991: Alpine was pitted versus new school, and the two styles confronted each other head on.
At the time of the Coupe des Nations in Avoriaz, each team represented their country and
competed in the giant Slalom and halfpipe. France won the Coupe three years in a row.
Freestyle established itself more and more but alpine kept reigning as the main event.
Freestylers were in an intense phase of tinkering. In the need for innovation they cut their boots
and tweaked them. David Vincent, recruited by Régis Rolland, made his appearance on the
French circuit and became a top rider of France, while his friend Vianney Tisseau (now famous
snowboarding photographer) came in second place during the Coupe de France and posed for a
magazine wearing nothing more than a hat.

At this time, the Burton Alpine Team was made up of Martin Freinademetz, Dieter Happ and
Christine Rauter.

In 1992, snowboarding had definitely grown in popularity, enough that the first snowboard
monthly magazine, SnowSurf, invaded the shelves in France. Denis Bertrand was the chief
editor, and Vianney Tisseau the photo editor. Other European countries soon followed, Germany
with MBM, etc.

The charismatic David Vincent appeared more and more between the covers, and was one of the
Europeans able to show up the American freestylers. Régis Rolland offered him his first pro
model at A Snowboards, Régis’s new line after Apocalypse misfired.

In 1993, the ISF (the International Snowboarding Federation made for and by snowboarders)
organized the first official world championships in Ishgl, Austria. A large venue was chosen, and
the Austrian public answered the invitation en masse. This was the coronation of Terje and Nicole
Angelrath in the pipe. Alexis Parmentier won the title in slalom, and Freinademetz won the giant
slalom. Bertie Denervaud won the overall/combination. He hadn’t yet chosen his specialty
between Alpine and Freestyle, but this didn’t stop him from placing regularly in the top 8 in the
world in either discipline, when he wasn’t actually on the podiums themselves.

Alpine was still the style of choice in Europe, with 80% of riders in Europe on alpine gear, while in
the States, alpine accounted for less than 5% in sales for the manufacturers.

1993 saw the first downtown contests and jams. Events moved at first in front of the Trocadéro in
Paris in November ’93, where Fred Beauchêne installed a parallel slalom race. Peter Bauer and
Dieter Happ were the finalists. The freestylers were there only for demonstration and the jump
was no good. If Paris favoured Alpine, Innsbruck would choose Freestyle for its first show, the Air
& Style, an enormous big-air event on a ski-jump in the city.

In the mid 90s, baggy XXL pants dominated the fashion scene. Skiers looked at snowboarders
like they were hooded, baggy-clothed punks. However, the resorts understood the financial stake
that this industry represented and started to create spaces reserved for snowboarders - the
terrain parks. Switzerland was again very advanced compared to its neighbors. It had resorts
entirely devoted to snowboarding: Laax, Les Diablerets, Saas Fee. As for France, they still can’t
cut a decent pipe.

In the summer, the glaciers saw plenty of action, and the summer camps were always full.

The sport of snowboarding was maturing, enough so that the FIS wanted to take part in the
action, and organized a world tour circuit even though the ISF had already developed a well-
established circuit of its own. The division pitted pro against amateur. The riders supported the
ISF, but the FIS held the decision over qualification for the future Olympics, and the riders were
obliged to compete in FIS events if they wanted to have a chance at qualifying for the Olympics.

While the barometer of popularity definitively started to lean towards freestyle in Switzerland and
France, in Austria and Italy, alpine held steady.

The Scandinavians defined themselves as freestyle riders, particularly Ingemar Backman, who
would make the covers of five magazines around the world thanks to a mythical backside air
more than eight meters high that he pulled at an event in Riksgransen.

With the apogee of freestyle peaking in ‘95, two extremists, D.D. Rhem and Jérôme Ruby made
extreme snowboarding history by descending the Northern face of the Triolet, a face much
coveted by skiers.

1996 saw the birth of a new discipline, the Boardercross. Very quickly, the Boardercross became
the media darling. Sponsors circled in, and alpine riders were reborn as media superstars.
Philippe Conte was the first European to beat Shawn Palmer.

In 1998, snowboarding was legitimized further due to the Nagano Winter Olympics. However, the
environment was dubious. Terje, one of the world’s best riders, boycotted the event. To him, the
Olympic Games and the snowboarding philosophy would never mix. Despite many complications,
poor courses and halfpipe competitions in the rain, there were some good moments at Nagano. A
German, Nicola Thost (halfpipe), a Frenchwoman, Karine Ruby (giant slalom), a Swiss, Gian
Simmen (halfpipe) and a Canadian, Ross Rebagliati (giant slalom), were the first gold medal
winners of Olympic snowboard history.

In 2000, the ski-snowboard war was reconciled, with snowboarders representing more than 35%
of the market for winter sports.

The sport of snowboarding has matured and is here to stay. Snowboarders are on their way to
overtaking skiers on the slopes in terms of numbers. People snowboard everywhere, including
Russia, where in Moscow, snowboarding has become a favorite national pastime. During the fall
of 2000, a new toy, a hybrid between skateboard and snowboard started showing up, called a
“snow skate”. Most riders liked it, and for 2001, several manufacturers have developed their own
model, including Burton’s Snowdeck.

In 2002, a phenomenal thing happened. Snowboarding owned the spotlight at the Winter Games
in Salt Lake City, Utah. Many people had heard of snowboarding before the Olympics, but never
had so many people avidly watched and followed a snowboarding competition. The 2002 Olympic
Games gave snowboarding an unprecedented amount of exposure, showing the world that it was
legit and here to stay.


It was 1971 when Shinzo Tanuma, the grandfather of Japanese surfing, took his surfboard,
looked up at the snow covered mountains, and kick-started a new era of Japanese recreation.
With his introduction of Japan’s earliest snowboard, the Japanese got their first glimpse of what is
now one of the fastest growing sports in the world.

It wasn’t until eight years later when Pioneer Moss Ltd., Japan’s first domestic snowboard
company fulfilled Japan’s new appetite for snow sliding fun with the “Snowstick”. The Snowstick
was a surfboard for snow that the Japanese surfing community instantly embraced. Although the
Snowstick took off, its production could not keep up with this new sport’s popularity. Throughout
the early 1980s the demand for good gear was overwhelming.

At the same time, Jake Burton Carpenter, founder of Burton Snowboards, the largest snowboard
brand in the world, was looking to expand his snowboard distribution beyond the U.S. In 1982,
through the newly founded Japanese Snowboarding Association (JSBA), the Japan Snowsurfing
Association, and the Japan Surf Association, Burton Snowboards and other snowboard
companies began to distribute equipment and gear to Japanese riders.

With what was then technologically sophisticated equipment now available to riders in Japan,
combined with snowboarding’s uncontrollable momentum, the Japan Surf Association and the
JSBA recognized this “silly fad” was not going away. In 1982 they proudly held the first Japanese
national snowboarding contests, the All Japan Snowboard Championship and the All Japan
Snowsurfing Championship. It was through these competitions held in collaboration with the
North American Snowboard Association (NASBA) that modern advances in the sport were
introduced in Japan. All of a sudden products like the Burton Cruzer, featuring fixed bindings,
appeared in Japan and are now considered the first modern snowboards sold in Japan. Also new
on the scene was the Burton Express, a full-scale alpine race board without a center fin and yet
another example of U.S. high-tech equipment that made quite an impression in Japan.

As Japanese kids became hooked on snowboarding, the number of snowboarders and brands
available doubled each year. In 1994 there were 280 snowboarding brands available for 500,000
Japanese snowboarders. The snowboarding bug was spreading like a virus, and Japan was not
the only country to encounter the epidemic. The phenomenon began to travel throughout the
world. However, not everyone was excited about the stir this sport was creating. Resorts began
to alienate “new school” snowboarders with their baggy clothes and extravagant board graphics.
Skiers were sharing the slopes with riders and considered them hooligans who scraped the snow
off the mountain. Many resorts took steps to regulate the slopes, or prohibit snowboarders

With the sport struggling to make an appearance on all mountains in Japan, it was far from
mainstream. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that articles focusing on snowboarding began to
appear in surfing and windsurfing magazines, along with several snowboard dealer-issued free
papers. Then in 1989, the first snowboard specific magazine, Snowstyle, hit the newsstands.
Snowstyle featured over 30 snowboarding brands such as Burton, Sims and Kemper, along with
dealer location lists, and resort information.

In 1990, snowboarding was established as a profession with 36 professional snowboarders

worldwide recognized by the ISA (International Snowboard Association, predecessor to ISF) and
JSBA. Soon, the first international competition, the ISA World Cup, was held at Rusutsu in
Hokkaido, with a pro tour circuit following the next year. Shortly after, JSBA merged with Japan
Snowsurfing Association and joined the newly established International Snowboard Federation
(ISF), forming an establishment that strongly supported the popularization of snowboarding.
During this time period Masa Takeuchi, sponsored by Burton Snowboards, was making history.
He won the ISF World Cup championships three years in a row. In 1990, the International

Snowboard Federation helped Japan’s riders participate in international competitions held all over
the world.

During the mid-90s, the snowboarding industry was in complete disarray. Riders, manufacturers,
and of course, media wavered between the different snowboarding governing organizations. Not
to mention snowboarders themselves struggled with the abundance of equipment targeted at
them by the plethora of manufacturers. As a result, Snowboard Business Japan (SBJ), the
country’s first snowboard trade organization was founded in 1995, and it was apparent the
snowboard industry was maturing by creating a sales network and holding tradeshows
exclusively for retail shops.

Eventually the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized the permanency of

snowboarding and established it as an Olympic sport. The Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS)
and the Ski Association Japan (SAJ) both announced that competitions for the Olympics were
being held and the IOC formally debuted snowboarding at the Nagano Olympic Games in 1998.
With media from all over the world tuning into the games, snowboarding became a household
sport that the Japanese public began to recognize and respect.

Even though snowboarding has come a long way from the Japanese “Snowstick”, Jake Burton
feels the sport is still in its beginning stages. New and unique contests like Slope Style Y2K and
Core-X Winter Games are being developed to stimulate riders with new, tough competitions.
Most recently the X-Trail Jam at the Tokyo Dome, one of the largest dome stadiums in Japan,
was a huge success with the snowboarding community. Snowboarding technology and culture
continues to evolve in Japan, and Burton is there to take the sport to the next level.


Generally speaking, after businesses master the art of money making in the US, they often feel
it’s time to take business overseas. Before dropping large sums of cash to open up a European
manufacturing facility or an order processing zone in Thailand, businesses need to closely
consider the pros and cons of business overseas. Foreign places mean strange currencies,
different languages and unheard-of customs. But with a lot of thought, care and good business
practices, small businesses like Burton Snowboards can grow tremendously overseas.

At its inception, Burton Snowboards was entirely based out of a small shop in Londonderry,
Vermont. But soon after placing advertisements in major publications, requests for product
started to come in from across the country and as far away as Europe. The market was flocking
to Burton.

In 1985, Jake and his wife Donna moved to Europe in an attempt to get the business going on a
more organized level. Up until that point, they were sending boards into Europe based on
individual requests. The goals in taking the company overseas were clear: there was an
emerging market to provide product for, and from an R&D perspective there was a wealth of
knowledge to be gained. The European-based ski industry was far ahead of snowboarding
technology at the time. By getting to know people at various ski factories in Europe, Jake was
able to progress the design of his snowboards quickly and efficiently.

While Jake focused on product development, Donna handled distribution and sales to open up
the European market. Their joint effort proved successful, and the company took off. The sport
became so popular that many individuals, dealers and people wanting to become distributors
called upon Burton. Jake was in the comfortable position to be able to choose how his
distribution chain would emerge. He decided to pick people who were dedicated to the sport of
snowboarding, rather than using people already entrenched in the ski industry. This added a high
level of energy to the company, resulting in growth at a phenomenal rate.

Burton currently does business in over 35 countries. This expansion into the global market was
developed over time by gaining an understanding of the different cultures. Jake found it to be an
invaluable experience to live in the foreign market that he first entered. For three years, he spent
six months a year in Europe. By immersing himself in this way, he realized that the way people
work and operate in business is as significant as the product itself. Approaching international
business this way has turned Burton into a very successful global competitor.

Here are some very basic guidelines for going global:

• Be a good corporate citizen in every country, respecting customs and languages.

• Give overseas operations your best manufacturing technology.
• Keep expatriate headcount down and groom local managers to take over.
• Let plants set their own rules, fine-tuning manufacturing processes to match skills of
• Develop local R&D to tailor product markets.
• Encourage competition among overseas outposts with plants back home.

Hermann Kapferer has been the Managing Director of Burton Snowboards´ European
Headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria for over 17 years. He made his first turns on a
snowboard in 1985. Jake Burton was his mentor at the time, and since that year, both
have been united in friendship because of their many efforts to take the sport of
snowboarding further.

Jake and Hermann met for the first time at the SIA tradeshow in Las Vegas in 1985. The
Burton booth was not actually a real tradeshow booth back then; it was more like a single
table set up in a small corner. Hermann was there working as an agent for a freight
forwarding contractor to deliver a sample snowboard to a man named Jake Burton. The
board had been manufactured in Europe according to Jake’s specifications. “You instantly
know if you connect with another person,” says Hermann of his first encounter with Jake.
Four weeks later, back in Innsbruck, Hermann received a letter from Jake asking him if he
wanted to build up the European distribution of Burton Snowboards with Jake and his
wife Donna.

Hermann agreed and suggested Innsbruck become Burton’s European headquarters.

Innsbruck had a good infrastructure, an airport, and most importantly, the mountains. Jake
had been to Innsbruck once with Austrian Emo Henrich who owned the“Birkenhaus” hotel
at Stratton Mountain where Jake once worked. For many years, Emo had been a mentor
to Jake. He was always motivating him to continue with snowboarding and eventually
helped establish contact between Jake and an Austrian snowboard manufacturer.

In 1985, the first Burton snowboards were shipped to Austria, Germany, France, Norway
and Switzerland. One year later, Jake, Donna and Hermann founded Burton Sportartikel.
150 boards had already been sold and a pro snowboarder was the only employee.

While Donna took care of invoicing and exporting, Jake was responsible for sales and
marketing. Hermann became managing director and took over all accounting. The goal of
Burton Sportartikel was to establish the sport of snowboarding in Europe, a goal that
Burton still pursues today. Within two years Burton was already supplying 30 European
countries, establishing the Burton brand throughout Europe.

Since 1995 Sportartikel has made enormous leaps forward. The company’s distribution
network was rearranged. Sales was no longer handled by the importers; everything was
shipped directly to specialty shops. This change created the structure needed to keep up
with the demands of a united Europe. The restructuring resulted in increased sales
because of the company’s close proximity and better presence to the individual
regional markets.

Many important figures in the European snowboard business got their equipment and
support from Burton Snowboards Innsbruck in the early ´90s. Peter Bauer, Jean Nerva and
Pietro Colturi are just a few of the first generation of pro European snowboarders. Aside
from the European team, some Austrian riders like Christine Rauter, Dieter Happ, Martin
Freinademetz, Tommi Pittracher and Max Plötzender became quite well-known. Hermann
called them “the wild bunch” and Andrew Hourmont, today’s Innsbruck Air & Style
organizer coached them.

The work Herrmann did alone at that time is done today by the Marketing Department.
There are approximately 80 employees from 10 different countries at Burton Sportartikel.
The Burton European Team consists of around 70 riders.

Burton Sportartikel is a wholly owned subsidiary of Burton Snowboards, like its second
international headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. Attention is always paid to a standardized
representation of the brand, but tailored to the needs of local markets.

From an economic point of view, Burton still is, and always will be, a great challenge for
Hermann. In the beginning it started with nothing, but today Sportartikel is one of the
leading enterprises in Austria.

The motivation to continue is described by Hermann Kapferer in his own words: “It is very
exciting to participate in the changes throughout Europe; in the technical development, the
possibilities the new media provides, and working together with young, open minded
people from different cultures. Despite the age difference we can still reduce things to a
common denominator. Snowboarding helps me stay young and acts as a stimulus for me
to continue working for Burton.”


The setting: A small garage in Londonderry Vermont; the year,

1977; Jake Burton Carpenter made his first snowboard in part by
drawing influence from the idea of the "Snurfer.” A few years
passed by, and soon he was ready to show the world base
models for what would eventually become the Backhill and the
Performer. This massive step forward in snowboard development
happened in a farmhouse in Manchester. Jake's Volvo wagon
was the only form of inventory and distribution, and the free
customer phone line rang 24 hours a day in his bedroom.

Over the next 15 years, countless snowboard manufacturers

were born and the sport of snowboarding began to change
people’s lives everywhere. Snowboarding’s influence was not
limited to the eastern United States - in time its presence was felt
all over the world by young, adventurous people.

Jake knew that as the sport grew Burton would grow as well, so
in 1992 he moved the head office to Burlington, Vermont, and
opened a manufacturing center “for snowboarders, by
snowboarders.” Burton maintains its leadership status globally by
continuing to produce the most innovative snowboard equipment
in the world every single year.
Burton had already opened a European headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria in 1986, which was
growing and expanding each season. In Europe, the wall that divided east-and-west Germany
was broken in 1989, the world was changing, and everything seemed to be going global. In the
mid-nineties, the Internet was still in its early consumer stages, but it had already made foreign
markets seem closer than ever before. Burton saw the opportunity to officially “globalize” the
sport of snowboarding while still maintaining the devotion to quality and image that was born in

In 1995, the Japanese branch of Burton Snowboards was

born in Urawa, Japan. Up until this point Burton had worked
with the Ogura Trading Co. to distribute its product in the
Japanese market. The Ogura Trading Co. would then hand
the product over to regional agencies to sell to local shops.
This process resulted in a major lag before the Japanese
consumer was able to buy, let alone see, the product on
the shelves. To maintain a consistent image and message,
Burton had to part ways with the Ogura Trading Co. in
order to streamline its foreign distribution. Burton has
always been a rider-driven company, taking tons of
feedback from riders seriously. The formation of Burton
Japan allowed them to tap into the Japanese riders’
opinions better than ever before. In turn, this enabled
Burton to produce better product for the snowboarders of
Japan. The office in Japan also allowed Burton to support
their Japanese riders fully and help strengthen
snowboarding’s image overall.

Burton’s place in the Japanese market allowed them to
cater specifically to the snowboarders of Japan. In
recent years Burton has even issued pro-models to
Burton riders Yoshinari Uemura and Narufumi
Yoshimura, both native to Japan.

In order to achieve improved distribution and sales in Japan, Burton has taken steps to change
distribution. As a result, a Rep system was introduced in 2001. Sales territory was subdivided and
each region was given to a specific rep. This new system is what Burton calls the JSN (Japanese
Sales Network) and has modernized the process of getting the product in the stores in a timely
manner in Japan. The purpose of this new strategy was to improve the service and support
Burton provides to its dealers, as well as consumers.

In the spring of 2002, Burton Snowboards moved from its

suburban Urawa location to Tokyo. The new office is
centrally located in the district of Shibuya, one of Tokyo’s
hubs of youth culture and shopping. Burton had the
opportunity to design their new building from the ground up.
There are five floors; first floor is Gravis, second floor is
Analog Clothing and the Financial group, third floor the
Operational team, fourth floor is Sales and Marketing. The
fifth floor is devoted to the Burton showroom. The
environment on each floor is unique, but there is a definite
vein of continuity running throughout the building. Team
riders, customers and editorial staff drop by the new office
and hang out in the many lounge areas. The new office
with its prime location is now a hub of activity.

Japan is critical to the success of Burton Snowboards. Over 29% of Burton’s total sales come out
of Japan. In 2003, Japan was the first market where snowboarders made up more than 50% of
resort attendees. It’s not uncommon to see a line up of more than 100 people waiting for a store
to open so they can get their hands on a limited quantity of a unique product. Brand image is
critical in Japan, as it is in Europe and North America. So, the new office, with its metropolitan
location and sophisticated design will help Burton grow and serve its riders better.


1982 – The year it all began. Paul Graves and a tight group of Snurfers and snowboarders
created the National Snowboarding Championships at a small mountain called Suicide Six in
central Vermont. Jake Burton was there. Doug Bouton ripped the course and won it.

1983 – This year, the National Snowboarding Championships was held at Snow Valley near
Manchester, VT. No lifts – you hiked to ride. The boards and the riders were getting better and

1984 – Snow Valley hosted the event for the second and last time. Andy Coghlan took both the
men’s and women’s slalom and downhill events. It was his first of several Open titles – he was
now the man to beat.

1985 – The event officially became the U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships and moved to
Stratton Mountain where it still reigns today. Riders rode in speed suits to increase their times.
Tom Sims won the men’s slalom event while Andy Coghlan defended his downhill title.

1986 – The event was gaining popularity faster than anyone expected. Over 200 competitors
showed up for pre-qualifiers. Andy Coghlan won both the slalom and downhill events, adding to
his growing list of Open titles. The new Burton Cruiser killed it on the slopes.

1987 – Craig Kelly was on the scene and won the men’s slalom event.

1988 – The halfpipe made its debut at the U.S. Open and was immediately deemed the standard
for all other competitive halfpipes to follow. Craig Kelly captured the ‘Overall’ title. An ice storm
turned the hill into concrete the night before the event began.

1989 – This is the year the press started to show up – not just the locals and the snowboard
magazines – but media from all over. Craig Kelly won his first U.S. Open Halfpipe title and the
last U.S. Open downhill competition.

1990 – Terje Haakonsen made his debut in the U.S. Open Halfpipe on a Micro Air. He was up
against tough competition including Craig Kelly, Shaun Palmer and Jeff Brushie. Craig Kelly won
the halfpipe title again for the second year in a row.

1991 – The rider and crowd size doubled. Janna Meyen beats out reigning champ Tina Basich in
the Women’s Halfpipe. With bigger pipe walls, lots of riders threw down inverts for the first time in
a competition.

1992 – It just kept getting bigger and better. Terje exploded onto the scene and took the Men’s
Halfpipe with control and amplitude, beating out Brushie, who was on his new Burton pro model.
Tricia Byrnes won the Women’s Halfpipe, edging out reigning champ Janna Meyen.

1993 – Fresh snow and bluebird skies – what could be better? Shannon Dunn emerged on the
scene. Terje rode his first Burton pro model to a second consecutive halfpipe victory. And what
did Jake have to say? “The best thing about the U.S. Open is that anyone from Terje Haakonsen
to a 10-year-old kid from New Jersey gets to ride and hang out with their friends in a rider-
controlled environment.” Tell it like it is Jake.

1994 – The crowds and riding were huge. Shannon Dunn and Todd Richards dominated the
halfpipe contests. Terje sat this year out with an ankle injury.

1995 – The Big Air contest made its debut at the Open. Terje triumphantly returned and won the
Men’s Halfpipe for a third time. Victoria Jealouse appeared on the scene and won the Women’s
Super G.

1996 – This was the year the face of competitive snowboarding changed forever. It was
announced that snowboarding would be featured in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
Snowboarding was here to stay, and the U.S. Open was bigger and better than ever. Peter Line
and Cara-Beth Burnside took home the Big Air crowns. And Jimi Scott and Satu Jarvela won the
halfpipe competitions.

1997 – The halfpipe event drew a massive crowd of more than 10,000 spectators. Todd Richards
narrowly edged out current Halfpipe World Champion Terje Haakonsen, while Barret Christy ruled
the women’s pipe contest. The Big Air Finals saw huge inverted airs. It just kept getting bigger.

1998 – “The Year of the Mist”. It was so damn foggy, you couldn’t see from the top to bottom of
the pipe. Mike Michalchuk threw down an unthinkable double backflip and Terje pulled out a
mammoth final run. But nobody could top Rob Kingwell, whose smooth and consistent riding
earned him the halfpipe title. Nicola Thost had just won the first Olympic Halfpipe contest and
went on to win the U.S. Open Halfpipe title. The Boardercross competition made its debut at the
Open as well.

1999 – Hometown hero Ross Powers stole the show and won the Halfpipe contest with huge
McTwists and 900s. Nicola Thost won the women’s halfpipe title for the second year running.

2000 – The new millennium brought the first Superpipe to the U.S. Open – a 300-foot long
monster with 15-foot walls. This was the year of Canadian domination in the halfpipe – Guillaume
Morisset and Natasza Zurek made Canada proud with their winning pipe runs.

2001 – Danny Kass took the coveted halfpipe title this year, edging out Vermont’s Abe Teter by
two-tenths of a point. And for the second straight year, Natasza Zurek dominated the women’s
pipe contest, bringing home another title.

2002 – Just one month after snowboarding dominated the Olympics, the U.S. Open went down
with more media and spectator attention than ever before. Over 30,000 people descended on
Stratton. It was the first time most of the Olympians had competed against each other since the
explosive event in Salt Lake City. Danny Kass may have gotten silver at the Olympics, but he
wasn’t about to settle for second at the Open. He defended his title and won the Halfpipe event
for the second year running. Kelly Clark kept her gold streak alive, winning both the Quarterpipe
and Halfpipe events at the Open.

2003 – It was a year of firsts in 2003. The Open held its first Rail Jam ever, won by Travis Rice. It
was the first time the Open was ever broadcast live on television. And Philips was the first title
sponsor of the US Open. Ross Powers joined the elite group of two-time US Open halfpipe
champions, winning the event in a tight final competition. Gretchen Bleiler dominated the
women’s halfpipe competition. And Hannah Teter won the best overall rider award at the Open,
driving away in a pimped out Jeep.


A phenomenal thing happened at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City – snowboarding owned the
spotlight at the Winter Games. Many people had heard of snowboarding before the 2002
Olympics, but never had so many people avidly watched and followed a snowboarding
competition. A 2002 survey by Leisure Trends stated that 32% of the total US population saw the
Snowboarding Halfpipe competition – that means nearly 92 million people watched the event –
and that was only in the US. Of that percentage, 18.6 million Americans said they wanted to try
snowboarding after viewing the Olympic event. The 2002 Olympic Games gave snowboarding an
unprecedented amount of exposure, showing the world that it was legit and here to stay.

In terms of the Olympics, all of this attention was new for snowboarding, which made its Olympic
debut at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. Due to poor set up, riding conditions and
positioning of the sport, snowboarders were generally disappointed with the inaugural year of the
Olympic snowboarding competitions and spectators weren’t as drawn to the events. Burton team
riders Ross Powers and Shannon Dunn made the best of the situation, winning Bronze medals.
And Nicola Thost took the Olympic Gold, earning a spot on the Burton Global Team shortly after.

All of this changed at the 2002 Winter Games, where circumstances improved dramatically for the
sport of snowboarding. Fueled by the warm sun, a perfect superpipe and more than 25,000
spectators, the level of riding at the Olympic Halfpipe finals was way beyond any event to date.
Some Olympic riders had hesitations about the Olympics before the event, disagreeing with
requirements to wear uniforms and other restrictions. But all of those criticisms seemed to fade
away during the halfpipe finals, where the riders were just as amazed by the event as the
spectators themselves.

Here are a few highlights from the 2002 Winter Games.

At the Women’s Halfpipe Finals, Burton rider Kelly Clark was the last rider to drop into the
halfpipe, carrying the hopes of the United States’ first Olympic Gold Medal at the 2002 Games in
her hands. But Kelly didn’t let the pressure break her. The worst-case scenario was that she’d
walk away with a silver medal. So, she went for it and finished off one of the best women’s
halfpipe runs in snowboarding history. Kelly went huge on her straight airs and exploded into a
Frontside 5 and McTwist, leaving no one guessing who deserved the gold.

And then there was the Men’s Halfpipe Final. After one of the best women’s halfpipe competitions
in history, the anticipation surrounding the Men’s Olympic Halfpipe event was overwhelming. With
bluebird skies overhead, enormous crowds and a perfect pipe, the contest promised to be one of
the most monumental moments in snowboarding history. The Olympic final was all about going
big. Burton Global Team rider Ross Powers declared that he was going to go huge, and that is
exactly what he did. During his first run, he dropped in to the biggest Backside and Frontside Airs
ever seen in competition – soaring 19 feet out of the halfpipe on his first hit. Ross capped his high
amplitude with tech tricks including a Backside 360 ending with a switch McTwist. For the rest of
the finals, the competitors tried to play catch up, but could never top Ross’ score. Danny Kass
and JJ Thomas backed up the US push and swept the medals. It was the first US medal sweep at
the Winter Olympics since three American figure skaters stood on the podium in 1956. What an
incredible day for snowboarding, the US and most of all, for Ross Powers.

Burton PGS rider Chris Klug also walked away from the Olympics with a bronze medal in the
Parallel Giant Slalom event, bringing Burton’s medal count to three – two gold medals and a
bronze. Chris received a lot of attention from the media during Olympics, even before he won the
bronze medal in the Men’s PGS event. A recent recipient of a liver transplant, the media focused
on Chris’ recovery story. After years of competing professionally, his medal win was quite
an achievement.

All in all, 23 athletes from 13 different nations represented Burton Snowboards at the 2002
Olympic Games. And it was an incredibly proud day when three of those athletes – Ross Powers,
Kelly Clark and Chris Klug brought home two gold medals and a bronze for the United States and
for Burton Snowboards.


Contents: Page:

Company Fact Sheet 25

Burton Snowboards’ Company Profile 27
Beyond Snowboards: Burton’s Family of Companies 28
How Snowboard Graphics Get Created 29
BMC Factory Tour 33
Burton’s 2004 Catalog and Website 38
Facts on Chill – Burton’s Non-Profit Learn to Snowboard Program 39
Burton’s Resort Programs Fact Sheet 40
Frequently Asked Questions about Burton Snowboards 42

The Early Years

Founded by Jake Burton in 1977, Burton Snowboards was the world’s first snowboard factory. In
the early years, the business was based out of Jake’s Vermont farm and he delivered boards out
of his station wagon.

About Jake
Jake Burton has dedicated the past 26 years of his life to snowboarding. Through the years, he
has played a vital role in transitioning snowboarding from a backyard hobby to a world-class
sport. Founder and owner of Burton Snowboards, Jake is Burton’s most avid product tester and
strives to snowboard over 100 days per year.

The Industry Leader

Burton Snowboards has led the snowboard industry since its inception. With headquarters in
Burlington Vermont and offices in Innsbruck, Austria and Tokyo, Japan, Burton is solely dedicated
to making the best snowboarding equipment on the planet. Burton’s primary business continues
to be wholesale, driven by independent Burton reps who distribute Burton product to authorized
specialty retailers throughout the world. There are approximately 4348 specialty retail shops
globally that carry Burton products - 1563 in the U.S., 451 in Canada, 1629 in Europe and 705 in

Owned by Jake
Burton Snowboards is a privately held company owned by Jake Burton himself. Because it is
privately owned, Burton does not release financial information.

World’s Top Pro Riders

Burton supports a team of many of the world’s best snowboarders. From halfpipes and rail jams
to backcountry descents in Alaska and slopestyle contests, Burton’s team dominates all aspects
of snowboarding. Burton sponsors riders who are in the earliest days of their careers like young
Luke Mitrani to the best pros in the world like Shaun White and Ross Powers.

Rider-Driven Product Development Process

Riders are involved in every step of the product development process at Burton. The pro riders
give product managers feedback on everything from the ride and flex of a board to the color of
bootlaces and the texture of jacket linings.

Burton’s Family of Companies

In recent years, Burton Snowboards has started independent companies that have their own
individual identities and product offerings. As Burton grows, so does its family of companies.
Gravis started in 1998 and makes shoes and bags that are comfortable and durable with
everyday function and style. Anon Optics was founded in 2001 and creates superior optics for
snowboarders. Analog Streetwear is the newest company with strong ties to Burton and is
launching its first casual apparel line in the fall of 2003. Like their parent company Burton
Snowboards, all three companies support teams of professional board sports athletes who are
heavily involved in the product development process.

The Open Snowboarding Championships

Founded by Jake Burton, the US Open has grown from a grassroots event to a global spectacle
attracting tens of thousands of spectators, top riders and sponsors from the world over. For 21
years, the Open has been driven by riders, for riders evolving with snowboarding and riders’
needs over the years. With events held in Europe, Japan and the United States, the Open event
series sets the standard for snowboarding events around the globe.

Giving Back to the Community
Burton Snowboards started Chill, an international intervention program for disadvantaged inner-
city kids, as a way to give back and share the sport of snowboarding with kids who would never
otherwise have the chance to get out of the city, enjoy an area mountain resort and learn to ride.
Chill takes underprivileged and at-risk kids snowboarding once a week for six weeks and provides
them with everything they need for the experience: lift tickets, instruction, bus transportation and
head-to-toe gear. Since its inception, Chill has touched the lives of over 6600 kids in nine different
North American cities.

Learn To Ride
In 1998, Burton Snowboards created the Learn To Ride (LTR) program and became the only
snowboard company in the industry focusing on instruction methods and beginner-specific
equipment. The goal of LTR is to give beginner snowboarders the best initial snowboarding
experience possible so they return to the mountain and continue to snowboard. By using a
proven instruction method and equipment created specifically for beginners, LTR helps riders
enjoy their first day on a snowboard. Burton created Learn To Ride by teaming up with the
American Association of Snowboard Instructors, the Canadian Association of Snowboard
Instructors and major resorts around North America, Europe and Asia.

Head Count
In 1977, Burton Snowboards started off with one employee – Jake Burton himself. Now, in 2003
Burton employs 309 people in the United States, 76 people in Europe and 69 in Japan. In
addition, there are approximately 100 independent sales reps located around the globe.

Powder Days and Dogs

Bringing your dog to the office and skipping work when it snows more than two feet (a rare
phenomenon in Vermont) are two of the best benefits of working at Burton Snowboards. The
dogs are some of Burton’s most valued employees, and a free season’s pass at Vermont-area
resorts keeps Burton employees on snow all winter long.


Burton Snowboards, the world’s first snowboard factory, is a rider-driven company solely
dedicated to creating the best snowboarding equipment on the planet. Burton’s passion is
snowboarding, evident by their commitment to involve riders in every step of the product
development process. Headquartered in Burlington, Vermont with international offices in
Innsbruck, Austria and Tokyo, Japan, Burton has lead the snowboard industry for 26 years.

By supporting a Global Team of the world’s top riders, Burton Snowboards has fueled the growth
of snowboarding worldwide. Their support and development of successful programs like Learn To
Ride (LTR), The Chill Foundation, Free the Snow and the US Open Snowboarding
Championships has also contributed to snowboarding’s tremendous growth and exposure over
the years.

Jake Burton, founder and owner of Burton Snowboards, has dedicated the past 26 years of his
life to snowboarding. In 1977, Jake founded Burton Snowboards in South Londonderry, Vermont.
Through the years, he’s played a vital role in transitioning snowboarding from a backyard hobby
to a world-class sport. Deemed the ‘Pioneer of Snowboarding’, Jake just sees himself as
someone who loves to ride.

Just like everybody else who works at Burton, Jake comes to the office, snowboards as much as
possible and brings his dog to work if he feels like it. Burton employees play hard and work even
harder. Working for Burton is a 24/7 job – you work and live snowboarding everyday, before work,
after work, on the weekends and during many late nights at the office. Working long hours during
snowboarding season is the norm – but that doesn’t keep Burton employees from riding. All
Burton employees receive free season passes to Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont, so there
are no excuses not to ride as much as possible. When the snow falls, people head to the
mountain at dawn, taking advantage of fresh snow before work. And if it dumps two feet or more,
a rare phenomenon in Vermont, the office shuts down so everyone can get to the mountain.

When it’s all said and done, everything we do at Burton orbits around riders. Our product
development process begins, ends and begins again with riders. We never stop innovating. We
never stop creating. And we never stop listening to snowboarders.


In recent years, Burton Snowboards has started independent companies that have their own
individual identities and product offerings. As Burton grows, so does its family of companies,
enjoying their own success and progress. Here’s a very brief overview of the companies that
have strong ties to Burton Snowboards.

R.E.D. – Rider Engineered Devices

Founded in 1996, R.E.D. creates helmets and body protection equipment
that enable riders to push their limits, overcome fears and progress to the
next level. It’s the only brand of technical action sports protective gear
dedicated to rider-driven product innovation. Backed by Burton
Snowboards, R.E.D. works with Burton’s network of pro-riders and
design resources.

Visit for more information.

Gravis Footwear
Four years ago, Gravis began with a simple idea: to create comfortable,
durable, ingenious products with everyday function and style. Gravis
makes shoes and bags that people want to live in. The line has evolved a
lot over the years and includes footwear and softgoods for men and
women as well as an extensive bag line.

Gravis is a diverse group of young individuals sharing a creative passion

for sport, design, music and art. A development team of athletes, artists
and musicians drive the company and everything they make.

Visit for more information.

anon. optics
Anon creates superior optics for snowboarders. Their products continue to
evolve through a strong commitment to their cornerstone principles:
premium materials, adaptive face fit, optical purity and above all, function
first. Filtered through a global network of development team snowboarders,
anon goggles are designed for and by riders.

Visit for more information.

Analog Clothing
Analog Clothing is the newest company with strong ties to Burton, launching its
first casual apparel line in the fall of 2003. Supporting a team of riders and
skaters like JP Solberg, Keir Dillon, Kjersti Buaas and Brian Sumner, Analog
turns to its team for feedback and design tips on every piece of clothing it

Check out the new line at


For the most part, graphics are the first features that catch
people’s eyes when they check out boards at a shop. But
it’s important to remember that there’s a lot more to a
snowboard than its graphics – kind of like the old saying
“you can’t judge a book by its cover”. Building a snowboard
with the best raw materials, shapes and technological
advancements is Burton’s top priority. But we also spend a
lot of time and energy on designing sick graphics. Here’s
an inside look at how Burton’s snowboard graphics are


It all starts with the Burton team riders, who think of ideas,
collect pictures and drawings and send in stuff made by their
friends. Sometimes riders themselves actually create their
own graphics entirely. Riders may have a whole graphic in
mind: subject matter, placement, colors, type, detail,
everything and just need someone else to execute it. Other
times it’s just the color of a CD jacket that catches
someone’s eye or maybe the symbol from a street sign in
Austria, and they send it along as an idea.

Either way, all the new ideas get funneled back to the design
agency and graphics crew at the factory. This happens any
number of ways: Sometimes it’s in person, when a rider
happens to cruise through or the whole team comes to
Burlington for a pow-wow. Sometimes it’s by phone, fax,
mail or e-mail, when the riders have a few precious days at
home and get organized enough to send the latest batch.
Once in a while it’s on the hill, when a great idea hits on the
chair lift, gets scribbled on the back of a napkin from the
lodge, and stuffed in a back pocket until an envelope and a

That’s when the designers kick in. Once they get a feel for
what the riders want, they head into the studio, where they
put all those ideas into snowboard shapes. This means
putting together all the right subjects, sizes, colors,
typefaces, textures, drawings, and more. It also means
keeping in constant contact with the riders along the way.
Several times a year, the riders fly all over the world to sit
face to face with the designers. Together, they look at
what’s been developed so far and set the direction for
revisions. It takes a while, but eventually everything gels.
By the end of the process, the designers have a whole pile
of snowboard graphics, on paper, in full color. These are
called comprehensives, or “comps”.


When the comps are ready, the riders get together to pick
the winners, and we put them on snowboards. The process
gets pretty technical, but basically it goes like this: The
designer blows the graphic up into a mechanical, or a picture
of the graphic that is exactly the same size and shape as
the board it needs to fit on. Then come the films, which
separate the picture into layers of color. Finally, the films get
made into silk-screens, which is how the graphics are
applied to the boards.

The actual screening process varies, but all the graphics are
applied in a climate controlled, dust-free room, using inks
and epoxies that are custom built for maximum visual effect
and bonding strength. Each color is allowed to dry
completely before the next coat is applied, which is why they
have to do a lot of screen prints separately, with new screens
and inks.

It’s a time-consuming process, but that’s how you get so

many fresh graphics to choose from when it’s time to get out
and ride.


Over two years ago, Burton Team Director Rene Hansen sat down with pro riders Romain DeMarchi,
DCP, Gigi Rüf, JP Solberg and Jeff Anderson and asked them if they wanted to create a board line
for Burton that they could have complete control over. The resulting creation was UnInc, the first
snowboard line of its kind.

UnInc pulled together the creative forces of five different pro snowboarders to work on a board series
together, each with the power to have complete control over his own graphics and the ride and feel
of the board. There are five boards in the line. All share a consistent shape, but each board has a
different length, graphic and rider representing it. The project typifies the product development
process at Burton, letting the riders drive every step in the board design process. “We were all so
heavily involved with the process,” says Gigi. “We were always asked for input.”

“The name UnInc, it means unincorporated, so we are kind of the punks of snowboarding,” says
Romain DeMarchi. “We want to go back to the source of why we are doing it - because it’s about
fun, friends, participation and progression. A lot of people forget that and just do it for the money -
and that sucks.”

Each of the riders chose a different artist to work on his own individual board. DCP discovered his
board’s artist, Stefan Elliot, surfing in Costa Rica. He then saw some of Stefan’s artwork at a
restaurant and asked him to work on his board. Gigi wanted a sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek approach
and chose Struggle Inc. to execute his board design. JP picked his artist Doze Green and Romain
chose Californian artist Tanner Goldbeck out of artist scrapbooks JDK Design Director Lance
Violette created for each rider. Jeff Anderson had seen some of New York City-based artist Ryan
McGuinness’ artwork in LA and was really stoked on it, so he chose him to design his graphic.

Because each UnInc board had a different rider and artist working together on the graphics, they
have a very unique and individualistic feel. “The graphics represent who we are,” says DCP. “There
is a description of ourselves on each board – at least that's the way I see it. Hopefully other people
see that, too. Like Romain's board – his graphic is just exploding.”

JP describes how he went about the graphics process. “They asked me what I wanted to see on my
board, and I started writing down thoughts and what was going on in my head because I'm

tweaked,” says JP. “I think about a lot of stuff...I think too much I guess. So that's why there is a
lot of stuff on my board.”

There is one unifying symbol on every UnInc board – a piggy bank with an ‘X’ over the money slot.
“We just wanted to say that we’re doing this line for fun and not money,” says Romain. “That is how
we came up with the idea of the pig.” DCP agrees. “There are so many ski companies and other
big companies like Pepsi and Mountain Dew that want to become a part of snowboarding because
it's cool now to everyone,” explains DCP. “With UnInc, we just wanted to express how fun
snowboarding really is apart from all the big X Games events and big companies involved.”

The UnInc series means a lot to all of the riders, their team director Rene, the Burton board crew
and artists involved – partly because they put so much of their creative energy into it, but mostly
because they all had fun working on it together.

The late Jeff Anderson sums it up. “UnInc embodies the whole Burton product development
process,” said Jeff. “It gave five kids the chance to design boards and totally put the graphics in our
hands. To me, that’s pretty much as unincorporated as it gets. I think putting a project like this in
the hands of riders and kids is not very common in the corporate world.”


So you want to know how we make our snowboards? Well, welcome to

the Burton Manufacturing Center (BMC). This is one of many
manufacturing centers that produce Burton snowboards worldwide, and
the one closest to the main hub of Burton business. At BMC, we
produce several of the most innovative and high-tech boards such as
the Powers and Troop series. We’re always working to make better
boards and improve the production process. From start to finish, more
than 40 people handle a board. At every stage of the manufacturing
process, each station performs a number of quality control checks. It’s
a lot of work, but it pays off on the mountain.

Back in the day, Jake Burton started making his snowboards from wood.
Today, a lot has changed in terms of board composition, but our boards still
have firm roots in the past. Every snowboard we make has a specially
Engineered Grain Direction (EGD) wood core that determines our board’s
riding characteristics. EGD means that wood grain is placed at different
angles and directions within the core to provide the right combination of edge
grip and support without compromising any deep-snow feel.

These wood cores come to the factory in huge stacks of rectangular sheets. The first step in
transforming the sheets into a board core is done in the assembly section of the BMC where
holes are drilled for the inserts.

Next, we drill holes in the core to put our inserts in. These inserts are the metal
screw holes that you use to hold your bindings onto the board. The inserts need to
be attached to the core so they have the strength to stay in the board when you’re
riding. A thin foil layer covers the screw holes to prevent them from being filled with
lacquer in later steps.


After the insert holes are drilled, the sheet of wood is then sanded down
to the appropriate thickness and trimmed into a snowboard shape.
Once it takes on the shape of a snowboard core, we staple ‘poly tips &
tail protectors’ and ABS sidewalls to the wood core. These are pieces of
plastic attached to the side edges of the core that provides a waterproof
barrier between the wood and the snow. We also add a sheet of
fiberglass around the inserts, getting it ready for the assembly

Our boards not only ride well, but also look great. To make the topsheet graphics, we screen the
design onto a thin plastic sheet. Each color in the graphic has an individual screen, which means
that complex graphics take a lot of time and resources to create. The more intricate and colorful a
board graphic is, the more screens, ink colors and time is required to prepare these topsheets for

In the last few seasons, we have started using some die-cut bases. This means
that we use two or more P-Tex colors and cut out different designs in each
sheet. Then, the different sections of the die-cut are pieced together like a
puzzle. The Powers 2003 board has over 40 die-cut pieces. The die-cut process
results in bold colors and crisp lines that will stand up to wear and tear. For
bases that have intricate designs and shading, we use a screening process
similar to the one we use for topsheets.

Once bases are prepared and the graphics are finished, all of these items
are placed on a cart to be assembled. These carts contain the topsheets,
the bottom P-Tex sheets, metal edges, gummies (thin strips of paper-like
material that help seal the board components together) and wood cores.

The people in the lay-up section of the assembly department build the boards from the
components on the cart. Simply put, assembling a board is like making a big sandwich. The first
step is to place the base sheet onto the bottom of the press, which is a flat, metal sheet.
Next, we place the metal edge snuggly around the base. Then we
place gummies coated with resin all along the metal edge to form a
permanent seal between the metal edge and the rest of the
snowboard. After this, we lay a sheet of fiberglass over the bottom
assembly. This sheet is smothered with resin/hardener, which makes
it very sticky. Then we place the wood core assembly on top and add
a bit more resin/hardener to wet down

the gummies and fiberglass around the inserts. These gummies are placed on the horizontal
edges of the board to help keep the ABS edges and wood parts of the core together. On top of
this, we add another sheet of fiberglass, which looks like a shiny, thick cloth, and smother it with
resin/hardener. The last component of the board is the topsheet, which we lay on top before
securing the top of the press in place.

Building a perfect board is not as simple as letting these “board
sandwiches” dry. For one thing, the tip and tail would be straight
instead of curved, not to mention that they would be full of
bubbles because the materials haven’t been pressed together.
So we need to put the boards into our presses to give them the
right shape. Since Burton was one of the first mass snowboard
producers, we spent a lot of time paving the way and developing
our own production equipment. We have twelve presses at the
BMC, each with precise specifications for making different board
models and sizes.

The board now has a lot of excess material since BMC used rectangular sheets of
fiberglass and plastic for the top graphics, as well as overlap material in the
sidewall attached to the core. The trim & shape section of the assembly
department removes this excess material.

In trim & shape the boards are put on a long narrow

table with suction cups. These hold the board securely
so workers can use jig and band saws to get rid of
extra material by hand. One wrong cut, and a board

must be scrapped. Before leaving assembly, we closely examine the

boards to make sure the required edge width remains and the board is
free from defects.

Then the boards go to the wet grind station where the base and top
sheets are run through grinding machines. In total, the boards are
run through seven machines that smooth out the top of the board to
prepare it for lacquering. This process also begins to prepare the
bottom of the board for riding.

After wet grind, the boards are sent to lacquering. First, we run the boards through a cleaning
machine that removes any debris that could prevent a smooth lacquer finish. Next the board is
put through the lacquering machine that first sprays the top with the lacquer and then transports it
through different hardening processes. Burton is one of the few snowboard companies that does
the lacquering, so this part of the BMC is very unique to snowboard manufacturers.

After the lacquering machine, the board is put into the big dryer room where
warm wind helps complete the drying process over the course of another
eight to ten hours.

After lacquering, the board is ready for its last check in the final QC
(quality control) part of the BMC. This is where the finishing touches
take place, like trimming the sidewalls so that they are slanted inwards
towards the top.

The next important process is tapping the remaining 14 insert holes. We
place guides over the insert holes, and a machine taps them accurately.
After the holes are tapped, we check the holes to make sure they are as
deep and strong as they are supposed to be.

After the inserts are checked, the boards go to the wet-grind section
of final QC. Here, to get rid of any burrs left from the initial cutting in
trim/shape, we sand the board edges.

Next, we run the board through more wet-grind machines to perfect the base surface so it holds
wax and rides well.

After this is done, we inspect the boards to ensure they are ready to be packaged. We check
inserts, sidewalls and lacquer again for quality and defects. We also check the edge width to
make sure it is wide enough to give you seasons of riding.

Once the boards are checked, they are sent to the factory tuner, fondly known
as ‘Moto Man’. This enormous robot makes it possible to give a uniform,
dependable tune so every board leaves with a precise factory tune. A board
like the Powers needs a different tune than a women’s board like the Troop.
So, ‘Moto Man’ can be programmed to tune each board model differently,
depending on its specs. Workers simply slide the board in on the front rollers
next to the robot and Moto Man’s big mechanical arm grabs it, and runs it
through machinery to give the perfect riding edge, while detuning the tip and
tail. It is an impressive piece of equipment that required a lot of brainpower to
create and program.

After the board is tuned, we send it to the waxing
station. Here we have special machines to apply the
right amount of wax to each board.


The final steps for getting boards ready to sell are removing excess
wax that splattered on the top or sides of the board and bagging each

Each week, before any shipment of snowboards leaves the factory,
Boards are selected at random and checked by an independent Quality
Control Inspector, who double-checks to ensure that each board meets
the high standards that Burton expects of its product.


Making Burton Snowboards requires a lot of hard work and physical labor.
Luckily for the BMC workers, Burton gives them a season pass at Stowe and
access to equipment they can demo for free. A good powder day makes all the
. hard work worth it.


After weeks of sleepless nights, eating ghetto take-out and blinding sessions in front of the
computer, Burton created its new 2003/2004 website, complete with a new online store. Burton’s
also dropping its single biggest catalog in the mail to thousands of riders around the world, giving
them a first look at the new 2004 line. Both the new website and catalog represent a landmark in
Burton’s history, offering riders more of what they want – product information, tech details, jaw-
dropping action photography and the ability to buy gear directly from

"Anyone who worked our rider service phone lines last season heard loud and clear the desire of
snowboarders out there for us to return to an all-inclusive catalog and to make products available
directly,” says Jake Burton, founder and owner of Burton Snowboards. “Now riders can have
access to our whole line, including Burton products not available in their area."

Burton stepped it up with its catalog for the 2003/2004 riding season, giving riders 162 pages of
product, action shots and tech to drool over. This is the long-awaited return of the Burton bible,
filled with every product Burton makes, including hats and t-shirt graphics, key products from
other Burton companies like Anon Optics, Gravis Footwear and Analog and action shots that will
have riders wishing summer was over. Its slick, magazine-style layout looks so good, you won’t
ever let your friends set their beers on it.

“The new catalog is just like a magazine…like a Buyer’s Guide except it’s only filled with the best
shit,” says Burton Global Team rider DCP. “It’s got a dope layout, too.”

You know you want a catalog all for yourself. So get on the phone with Burton Rider Service at
(800) 881-3138 now because catalog quantities are super limited this year. is also going huge this season, offering the most extensive online shopping service in
Burton’s 26-year history. For years, riders have been begging for the chance to purchase product
online. Now they can buy hundreds of Burton products, including Burton outerwear and clothing,
Gravis Footwear, Analog streetwear, Anon Optics and R.E.D. helmets, directly from Finally, riders living in the sticks can get the gear they want without making a
ten-hour road trip to the nearest snowboard shop.

Another first for the site is that all Burton brands, including R.E.D., Gravis Foot wear, Anon Optics
and Analog live under one online location – Each brand will have its own
distinct area of the site and remain accessible through individual URLs like or will again feature all the team information, news, dealer locators, board selection
tools, catalog order forms, in-depth tech facts and online communities that have stoked out riders
in the past. This year, the site will also be tracing Jake Burton’s steps as he travels around the
world, snowboarding and testing gear on six continents with his family. Visit the “Where’s Jake?”
section on to read about Jake’s latest adventures.

To get a piece of the 2004 action, visit or call Burton Rider Service at
(800) 881-3138 to request a catalog or additional product information.


Chill is an international intervention program for disadvantaged inner-city kids. Chill takes
underprivileged and at-risk kids snowboarding once a week for six weeks and provides them with
everything they need for the experience: lift tickets, instruction, bus transportation and head-to-
toe gear.

Chill’s mission is to provide troubled kids with the chance to succeed through the sport of

Burton Snowboards started Chill as a way to give back and share the sport of snowboarding with
kids who would never otherwise have the chance to get out of the city, enjoy an area mountain
resort, and learn to ride. Although Burton is Chill’s founder, Chill is now an independent non-profit
organization supported by various corporate sponsors, foundations and individuals.

Chill is currently in nine North American cities:
Boston Wachusett Mountain
Burlington Bolton Valley Resort
Chicago Raging Buffalo
Los Angeles Snow Valley Resort
New York Mountain Creek
Salt Lake City Brighton
Seattle Snoqualmie
Toronto Snow Valley Resort
Washington, DC Whitetail Resort

Chill partners with youth and social service agencies in each of our sites that serve boys and girls
ages 10-18, who are at-risk and/or underprivileged. Chill works with kids who are in group homes
and foster care, kids with chemical dependencies, kids on probation and kids who are in low-
income, underserved pockets of Chill-based cities.

Chill serves over 170 kids per city per year, for a total of over 1500 troubled kids each winter.
Chill has touched the lives of over 6600 kids since its inception. In terms of volunteers, Chill is
fortunate to have over 350 very reliable volunteers, across all nine sites, involved in the program
each winter.

Chill has one director and three national coordinators who work full-time, year-round organizing,
funding, promoting and implementing this intervention program. One of the National Coordinators
is now located in Seattle. As Chill continues to grow and expand, the need to establish a
presence outside of the Northeast also grows.

Chill Director: Jenn Davis,, 802-651-0326

National Coordinators: Ellie Gompert,
Anthony Gonzalez,
Maggie Harper, based in Seattle,

Chill is grateful to the following companies that support our efforts: Burton Snowboards,
Mitsubishi Motors, Sprint, SoBe Beverages, Clif Bar, Southwest Airlines and MTV Networks.


Resorts and snowboarding are co-dependent. Without the support of resorts, the sport of
snowboarding could never have grown. And without snowboarding, resorts would have lost out
on a significant amount of business. Burton recognizes the integral relationships between resorts
and the snowboard industry. To ensure the future growth of the sport, Burton has created several
programs to help resorts attract and retain snowboarders.


In 1998, Burton Snowboards created the Learn To Ride (LTR) program and became the only
snowboard company in the industry to focus on instruction methods and beginner-specific
equipment. Burton created Learn to Ride by teaming up with the American Association of
Snowboard Instructors, the Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors and major resorts
around North America, Europe and Asia.

The goal of LTR is to give beginner snowboarders the best initial snowboarding experience
possible so they return to the mountain and continue to snowboard. By using a proven instruction
method and equipment created specifically for beginners, LTR helps riders enjoy their first day on
a snowboard.

The Learn To Ride board is the foundation of the LTR program. The LTR board has special
features specifically designed to make a first day on a snowboard more fun and satisfying. A
special bevel on the edge of the board helps eliminate catching an edge. Soft torsional flex
makes the board easier to turn. Beginner-specific Burton boots and bindings are also provided in
the LTR program to ensure comfort and performance.


Burton Method Centers are the home of the LTR program and are located at partner resorts
around the world. At Burton Method Centers, students will find Burton LTR product developed
specifically for learning, low student-to-teacher ratios, appropriate learning terrain and shops that
set riders up right the first time. There are approximately 63 Method Centers in 9 different
countries worldwide, teaching thousands of people how to ride every year.

Kids’ Method Centers

Burton also created Kids’ Method Centers that feature trampoline exercises, balance board
training and fingerboard parks to enhance children’s learning experience. There are
approximately 22 Kids’ Method Centers in North America, Europe and Japan.

Proven Results
The only growth in lessons during the 2001/2002 season can be attributed to snowboarding up
3.3%, while alpine lessons were down 4.8%.

“Profile of Snowboarders – SnowSports Industries of America.” Source: 2002 NSGA Sports
Participation Study

With each season, terrain parks at resorts become increasingly popular with snowboarders, and a
growing number of resorts offer them. Recognizing this trend, Burton Snowboards and the
National Ski Area Association (NSAA) joined forces to create the Smart Style initiative, a program
that encourages terrain park safety. The Smart Style program offers resorts a universal message
to ease the flow of terrain park traffic and promote simple park safety rules. Major resorts like
Vail, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Stowe have implemented Smart Style with success.
The majority of the 4,000+ NSAA member resorts are participating in the Smart Style program.

For more information on Burton Resort Programs, contact Jeff Boliba at (802) 862-4500 or

1. Does Burton only make snowboards?

Burton is the world’s leading manufacturer of snowboards. Burton also designs and
manufactures snowboarding boots and bindings, outerwear, thermal and first layer pieces
as well as gloves, mittens and socks. To make it easy to carry all this gear, Burton also
makes a complete line of snowboarding bags for travel and backcountry exploration as
well as lifestyle packs. Burton also manufactures R.E.D. helmets and other protective
gear as well as a complete line of board tuning products and a full range of backcountry
gear and accessories. In addition to Burton Snowboards, three other companies live
under the Burton umbrella, including Gravis Footwear, Anon Optics and Analog clothing.

2. Who owns Burton Snowboards?

Burton Snowboards is privately owned by Jake Burton Carpenter. There are no plans to
go public in the future.

3. How did Burton Snowboards get started?

In 1977 in Londonderry, Vermont Burton Snowboards, the world’s first snowboard factory
was born. It all started in the mid-sixties when Jake Burton was one of thousands of kids
to get hooked on Sherman Poppen’s Snurfer, a device that resembles a short, fat ski
without the P-Tex, steel edges and bindings.

After a year of working as an assistant in a Park Avenue firm that sold smaller companies
to larger ones, Jake bid the Manhattan business world farewell to become a snowboard
“shaper.” One of Jake’s primary goals was to make snowboarding a sport, even though
initially ski area access was not on Jake’s agenda. Over the years, Burton Snowboards
grew dramatically, as did the sport of snowboarding. Burton is now in its 26 year of
manufacturing snowboards and leads the industry in product sales and development.

4. How is Jake Burton currently involved with Burton Snowboards?

Jake is actively involved with Burton. He comes to the office on a daily basis, tests every
single product, attends rider round tables to discuss product development and interacts
with the media. One of Jake’s favorite activities is teaching people how to ride. From
Katie Couric from NBC’s Today Show to local visitors, Jake loves to help beginners learn.

During the 2003/2004 season, Jake is traveling around the world with his family,
snowboarding on six of the seven continents. His worldwide tour will enable him to
connect with Burton partners and team riders around the world as well as test new
product on every terrain type imaginable. Jake will return to Burton’s headquarters in
April, just in time to get a few runs in at his home mountain, Stowe, before it closes for
the season.

5. Where are Burton’s headquarters?

Burton’s offices and Factory Showroom are in Burlington, Vermont while the Burton
Manufacturing Center (BMC) is in the adjacent town of Williston, Vermont. The company
was founded in 1977 in Londonderry, Vermont.

Burlington’s North American headquarters work in conjunction with two international

offices: Burton Sportartikel in Innsbruck, Austria and Burton Japan in Tokyo, Japan.

Both Burton Sportartikel and Burton Japan function as important links between Burton
North America and its retailers and consumers in those regions. In addition, these offices
service the operational and marketing needs of international distributors and dealers.

6. How many people work at Burton?

There are approximately 309 US employees, 76 Burton Europe employees and 69

Burton Japan employees.

7. Does everyone at Burton Snowboards ride?

The ability to go riding is definitely one of the best perks of working at Burton
Snowboards. Here are a few ways Jake makes riding accessible for everyone who
works at Burton:

• Every season, Burton provides all employees with a free season pass to Stowe
Mountain Resort or discounted passes at other area mountains.

• Employees can sign out the latest equipment from a fully stocked demo closet.

• Before the Christmas party, employees receive a day off to ride before the evening’s

• Employee Appreciation Day: Jake shuts down the factory for a day in the spring, and
Burton goes riding.

• When there’s no snow on the ground, skateboarders enjoy Burton’s vert ramp.

So, the answer is, “No, not everyone at Burton rides, but everyone who wants to does a
lot, and for FREE!”

8. Where can I buy Burton gear?

Starting in 2003, select Burton product will be sold on, including softgoods,
R.E.D. and other accessories. In addition to website sales, Burton created a new flagship
store located at Burton headquarters in Burlington, Vermont. In 2003, Burton also opened
its first outlet store in Wrentham, Massachusetts where riders can buy previous seasons’
gear at great discounts. Riders can also purchase Burton gear at Burton’s European
Headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria. Burton products are also sold at authorized Burton
dealers around the world. There are approximately 4348 specialty retail shops globally
that carry Burton products - 1563 in the U.S., 451 in Canada, 1629 in Europe and 705 in
Japan. To buy Burton product online or to find the Burton dealer nearest you, visit

9. How many countries sell Burton Snowboards?

Currently 36 countries worldwide sell Burton Snowboards, including the U.S., Canada, 28
countries in Europe, two in South America, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

10. What is the product development process at Burton?

Burton is truly a rider-driven company. That means riders, from pros to local kids,
influence every product that Burton makes. Burton Product Managers work very closely
with Burton’s pro riders in developing gear. And riders everywhere are encouraged to call
Burton’s Rider Service line or send emails to with product feedback.
Customer feedback is taken seriously at Burton. Feedback is shared with product
developers, upper management, customer service reps, sales reps and Jake. From start
to finish, products are tested, tweaked and perfected with the help of rider feedback.
Jake is also involved in the process, testing and critiquing all Burton products and
equipment throughout the development process.

11. Does Burton Snowboards sponsor snowboarders?

Yes. Burton Snowboards sponsors over 100 snowboarders worldwide. There are
different levels of sponsorship. Burton sponsors young riders at a Factory level, supplying
them with gear. A step up from a Factory sponsorship is the Rookie level, where riders
receive gear, occasional travel budgets and other incentives. The top level of
sponsorship is Burton’s Global Team. The Global Team consists of only 17 riders – the
best in the world. Burton fully supports these riders, promoting them and including them
in marketing initiatives and product development. Only the top riders in the world can
make it to this prestigious level of professional snowboarding.

12. How do I get sponsored by Burton Snowboards?

Burton receives thousands of sponsorship requests annually for riders around the world.
Unfortunately, Burton cannot sponsor all of these riders. We are very selective and
search for specific qualities in riders for the Burton team. The first step to getting
sponsored by Burton is to dominate your local scene, whether it’s a small park in
Minnesota or the Aspen Snowboard Team in Colorado. Enter as many snowboarding
competitions as possible and get on the podium. Then, when you feel you’re ready to
compete on a nation level, create a resume of results, a letter explaining your
accomplishments and goals and a portfolio of photographs and videos if available. At
this point, you should contact your local Burton representatives and send them your
materials. Call Burton Rider Services at (800) 881-3138 to get the contact information for
your local Burton rep.

Getting a local sponsorship through your Burton Rep is the first step to becoming a
professional snowboarder. Don’t be discouraged if your Burton Rep denies your request
for sponsorship – even local sponsorships are very competitive. Continue to work on your
riding – hard work and progressive riding will get you noticed, and hopefully bring you
one step closer to sponsorship.

13. Did Burton sponsor any 2002 Olympic snowboarders?

23 athletes from 13 different nations represented Burton Snowboards at the 2002

Olympic Games. The two Olympic Halfpipe Gold Medalists Ross Powers and Kelly Clark
are both Burton riders. And Chris Klug, the Bronze Medalist in Parallel Giant Slalom also
rides for Burton.

14. What is a signature snowboard?

A signature snowboard is a board designed with and for one professional rider.
The selected rider influences everything surrounding the board design, from technical
specs to the graphics. Only a select few riders achieve the level of sponsorship that
results in a signature snowboard. Usually pro models come in one size specific to the
rider and reflect their style of riding. Sometimes, an entire board series is developed from
one pro-model such as Shannon Dunn’s “Feelgood” series.

Burton’s pro models for 2004 are the Jussi 154 & 159, Jeremy Jones 56, Powers 158,
Shaun White 151 and 154 and the Johan 163.

15. Are there different styles of snowboarding?

Yes, there are different snowboarding styles, but most riders like to do a little bit of
everything. And some riders excel in one particular area. Here’s a breakdown of
snowboarding styles:

Halfpipe: Riders like Gold Medalists Ross Powers and Kelly Clark dominate the
competitive halfpipe scene. Halfpipe riding consists of dropping into a long halfpipe with
high walls and doing as many tricks as possible throughout the run. Halfpipe riding
received tremendous coverage and attention at the 2002 Winter Games. Most halfpipe
riders also enjoy other styles of snowboarding, like backcountry and parks and rails.

Backcountry: Backcountry snowboarding involves big mountains, lots of snow and no

chair lifts. Backcountry riders generally snowmobile and take snowcats or helicopters to
their peaks of choice. Always in search of new terrain and tons of fresh powder,
backcountry riding is full of high risks and thrills. Riders like Victoria Jealouse push the
boundaries of backcountry riding, spending their days snowboarding remote mountains in
British Columbia and Alaska.

Park and Rails: Park and rail riding is a big trend in snowboarding. Young, progressive
riders flock to mountains like Mammoth where parks and rails are constantly maintained
and updated. The rail scene got its inspiration from skateboarding. Skaters slide stair
railings and other obstacles in cities and parks. So snowboarders started hitting rails too,
from city stair railings to specially designed rails in snowboard parks. In addition to rails,
snowboard parks also have large jumps and challenging gaps that riders hit and do
tricks. Park and rail riding is super challenging. Lots of park riders also kill it in other
snowboarding areas as well. Jeremy Jones and Jussi Oksanen are legendary park and
rail snowboarders.

Alpine: Alpine snowboarding is a completely different style of riding from the above three
styles. Alpine snowboarders ride narrow race boards with hard boots similar to ski boots.
Alpine riders spend their days carving on the mountain. Jumps, halfpipes and parks are
not a part of alpine snowboarding. Alpine snowboarders compete in races with gates,
similar to alpine slalom events. Olympic Bronze Medalist Chris Klug is a top Alpine rider.

16. Does Burton Co. own any other brands?

Yes, there are other companies (wholly owned subsidiaries) and brands under the Burton
umbrella. The first one is R.E.D., which makes helmets and impact protection gear. The
second brand is Anon Optics, a goggle company that features advanced optics, with
excellent helmet compatibility and superior style. Third is Gravis Footwear, a line of
casual footwear, bags and loungewear designed for active people looking for style and
comfort. And finally, there is Analog Clothing, a new casual clothing company introducing
their first line in the fall of 2004.

17. What is the best way to learn to ride?

Your first day of riding will be hard and a little frustrating. The first rule of learning to
snowboard is, “Don’t give up.”

Here are a few helpful hints to remember when learning to snowboard:

• Take a lesson from a Burton Learn To Ride Program Instructor.

• Get the right equipment for you and have it set up correctly (goofy/regular, angles,
and stance width).
• Wear waterproof pants, gloves, and impact protection (helmet, wrist guards, etc.).
• Stretch your legs (calves, quads and hamstrings) and back before riding.
• Rent equipment until you discover your riding style.
• Ride for a few days in a row to fine-tune your new skills and gain confidence.
• Find experienced snowboarders to ride with after your lesson. They’ll be a good
source for tips and encouragement.
• Set small goals for yourself while riding. Think about making one turn, or traversing
one section of the mountain at a time.
• Don’t feel discouraged when you fall or make mistakes. All first-time riders (even the
pros were first-timers once) feel a little awkward and take a few falls on their first day.

18. What is the Learn To Ride Program and Method Centers?

Introduced in 1999, Burton Snowboard’s Learn-To-Ride (LTR) products and programs

are specifically designed to facilitate and accelerate learning. Developed in conjunction
with the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI) and major resorts around
North America, the LTR methodology stresses getting people to link turns—to actually
feel what it’s like to snowboard—in the first lesson. Burton Method Centers are resorts
that have embraced the LTR teaching methodology and equipment. They have
instructors that are trained to help teach beginners to snowboard. Coupled with the LTR
learner-specific products, LTR makes learning to snowboard fun, easy and painless.

Current Burton Method Centers include:


Sierra at Tahoe, CA Geihoku Kokusai, JP Snowboardschule Ahorn, AT
Beaver Creek Resort, CO Tangram Ski Circus, JP Allrounder Winterworld, DE
Breckenridge Resort, CO IOX-Arosa, JP Snowdome, NL
Vail Mountain Resort, CO Niseko Hirafu, JP Snowworld, NL
Durango, Mountain Resort, CO Snowpark, Kobe JP Fun & Pro Sports, AT
Loon Mountain Resort, NH Cupid Valley, JP The Hot-Zone, AT
Mountain Creek Resort, NJ Snowtown Yeti, JP Take Off Snow & Fun Center, AT
Hunter Mountain, NY Biwako Valley, JP Scuola di Kronplatz, IT
Brighton Resort, UT BIGAIR Fukuoka, JP
Stowe Mountain Resort, VT Hanshin Mt. Rokko, JP
Stratton Mountain Resort, VT Niseko Weiss, JP
Okemo Mountain Resort, VT Norn Minakami, JP CANADA
Jay Peak Resort, VT Rusutsu Resort, JP Martock, NS
Jackson Hole Mtn. Resort, WY SKIJAM Katsuyama, JP Tremblant, QC
Snova Kobe, JP Cypress Mountain, BC
Tanbara Ski Park, JP Whistler/Blackcomb, BC
Teine Olympia, JP Mont Saint-Sauveur, QC
Oze Tokura, JP
Utopia Saioto, JP

Breckenridge Resort, CO
Hunter Mountain, NY
Stratton Mountain Resort, VT
Jay Peak Resort, VT
Mont Saint-Sauveur, QC

19. What is it like to work at Burton Snowboards?

Burton is a young, fun company that works hard and plays even harder. People at
Burton are serious about what they do because they are passionate about the sport they
are daily working to evolve and innovate. From the Manufacturing Center to Product
Development to Marketing and Sales, Burton is a company of snowboarders.

20. What major events does Burton sponsor?

Burton Snowboards sponsors many different types of events on various levels. We

sponsor some events on smaller levels, such as Boarding for Breast Cancer. Burton also
owns and runs global events such as the US Open, Nippon Open and the European

21. What is the Chill program all about?

Chill is an international intervention program that provides underprivileged and at -risk

kids ages 10-18 with the opportunity to escape the city and go snowboarding once a
week for six weeks. Burton Snowboards and Chill have partnered with eight mountain
resorts in the United States to help disadvantaged inner-city kids learn to snowboard.
Burton founded Chill in 1995 as a way to “give back” and share the sport with kids from
Burlington, VT (Burton’s home city) who would never otherwise have the chance to get
out and ride. The program has since expanded into nine North American cities, reaching
170 kids in each city every winter. This winter alone, Chill reached over 1500 troubled
kids and more than 6600 kids since Chill’s inception.


Contents: Page:

Jake Burton’s 2004 Biography 49

Everyone Calls Him Jake 51
Jake Burton Chases Winter Across Six Continents 54
Jake’s Thoughts on the 2002 Winter Olympics 55

Name: Jake Burton
Birth Date: April 29, 1954
Home Base: Stowe, Vermont

Boards: Custom 58
Boots: Burton Hale
Bindings: Burton P1
Outerwear: Damn near every piece

The founder and owner of the world’s leading snowboarding company, Jake Burton’s name is
synonymous with snowboarding. Jake’s influence on the sport of snowboarding is unrivaled.
Since 1977, his company has supported the best riders in the world and created snowboarding
gear that sets the standards for the rest of the industry. This season, Jake is embarking on a new
adventure. He and his family plan to follow winter around the globe for ten months, snowboarding
on six continents and testing plenty of Burton products along the way.

1. What was your first snowboard set up and how old were you when you started riding?
I first started riding on a Snurfer when I was 14. It was only 6” (15 cm) wide, no bindings and no
edges. But, from the first day I rode that Snurfer on a golf course, I knew there was a sport there.

2. Why do you ride?

Riding is my source of energy. Like everyone else here at Burton I work hard. Without the energy
that I get from riding, I would be lost.

3. How does riding make you feel?

Good question and a difficult one to answer. At the bottom of a great run, it’s hard to pinpoint
exactly what the feeling is. It’s not like you just won something or beat somebody, because
snowboarding isn’t a competitive sport by nature. You’re not super exhausted, as snowboarding
isn’t an endurance sport either. You just feel really good. And if you push yourself to the point of
being a little scared on the way down, that can make it even better. At the end of a good day you
feel surfed-out, which is a very relaxing feeling.

4. What does a ‘perfect day’ of riding consist of?

The perfect day for me happens a lot at my home mountain in Stowe, VT and it consists of many
different elements of the sport. Catching first chair with some friends for some early morning
powder runs is the best way to get the day started. Then hooking up with my family and riding
with them in the woods and in the park is a great way to finish off the morning. Then after a solid
lunch I’ll often spend the afternoon teaching someone who has never ridden before how to ride.
Then it’s always fun to close out the day with a soul run or two by yourself or with one other

5. Why do you still teach people how to snowboard?

I’ve always gotten a lot of pleasure out of teaching people how to ride. The enthusiasm that
comes off of people as they link their first turns is rewarding for them, but is also pretty cool for
whoever is doing the teaching. I continue to teach about 10 to 20 people a year who have never
ridden before, and I think I enjoy it as much as they do.

6. What’s your favorite thing to do after a long day on the mountain?

Take a few snowmobile runs around the house with the kids, eat a big dinner and watch the
Boston Celtics crush some other NBA team.

7. What are your plans for this season?
I’m going around the world with my wife (Donna) and our three boys (George, Taylor and Timmy).
We’re going to take 10 months following winter and snowboarding on six continents. We’re
spending the summer and fall in the southern hemisphere (where it’s winter and spring) riding in
Argentina, Chile, New Zealand and Australia. In the early winter we’ll be riding in Japan. During
the winter months we’ll be riding all over Europe, Africa (Morocco), and India (Himalayas). We’ll
get home just in time to catch the very end of the season in Vermont.

We enjoy winter a lot more than summer, so we’re really looking forward to going on a safari
where winter is never going to end. It’s going to be somewhat awkward not coming to the office
in Burlington, but by riding all over the planet, I’m expecting to get some new perspectives and
ideas that will make my contribution to Burton more solid than ever.

8. If you could spend a day riding with anyone, who would it be?
Well, even though it’s only going to happen in a dream, I do fantasize about spending a day riding
with Craig Kelly and Jeffy Anderson. That would be so much fun. Those guys were role models
in very different aspects of the sport, but they shared an incredibly pure passion for riding. Their
loss was a huge blow to snowboarding, but they didn’t leave without teaching us how to love this


I had always thought of Jake Burton as the

patron saint of snowboarding. Once you start
talking to him, you realize he’s just a guy who
started to make snowboards and never stopped.

When you get past the mythology and

misconceptions about Jake you begin to realize
that Burton Snowboards is not necessarily a
result of his success, but more likely a long
succession of mistakes. Born in New York City
on April 29, 1954, Jake spent his childhood in
Cedarhurst, New York.

Jake was named after a great uncle John Burton (‘a real character’), who lived in his hometown. Living
not far from the Atlantic Beach, some journalists have inferred that Jake grew up surfing, and that it was
this interest that inspired him to develop a winter substitute. Well, yes and no. “I always wanted a surf
board for Christmas,” he says, “but I never got one. Maybe that’s been part of my drive for board sports.
Maybe if I had gotten that surf board…” For sports, Jake settled for kneeboarding (and became quite
accomplished), baseball, basketball and football. “I would routinely get my ass kicked.”

More than anything, skiing was the sporting basis for Jake’s venture into snowboarding. His first skiing
experience was at tiny Birch Hill ski area in New York at the age of seven. “I was into it.” It has helped
that Jake has gone more than a mile in ski boots; the sharing of acreage, technology and enthusiasts
has gone a long way to maintain the compatibility between skiing and snowboarding.

Jake doesn’t claim to have invented the snowboard. Earlier models as well as many other would-be
inventors preclude him from doing so. At a local garage sale, Jake found a board dating back to the
1920s. The recent discovery of a 1939 video showing a man by the name of Vern Wicklund sliding
sideways on a snowboard type of sled down a Chicago hill also deepens the history of snowboarding.
Wicklund even had patents for the boards, which had foot straps, nose cords, and a turned up nose, not
unlike the early Burton snowboards.

One recognized precursor of the snowboard is the

Snurfer: a device that resembles a short, fat ski
without the P-tex, steel edges and bindings. A rope
tied to the tip is held in the rider’s hand as a rein.The
rider stands on it like a skateboard. Jake’s first
attempt at snurfing was at Brooks, his first attempt at
boarding school, when he was 14. “Pretty suicidal.”
(The Snurfer, not the school.) Jake managed to break
his finger by snurfing, rope hand extended right into a
tree. He also managed to break a lot of rules at
Brooks. “I was an underachiever. I had the reputation
of beating the system.” The coup de grace came in 9th
grade when, after pleading with an upperclassman for
weeks, Jake was given the “keys.” Keys to what? “To
every lock in the place. The food. The headmaster’s
gun cabinet. Full access.” Unfortunately, Jake didn’t
hide them very well. The janitors found them in his bag
the same night he took possession. “I was asked not
to come back.”

Things would change dramatically at the next
school: Marvelwood-Cornwall, New York, right at
the bottom of the ski area. “Skiing was big.” Jake
excelled in the 10th grade, skipped the 11th and
graduated, skiing throughout. He continued to
experiment with the Snurfer. “I didn’t really have
an idea. I was modifying it, but in the context of
the time it was marketed as a toy."

The death of his mother at the time, and previously the death of his brother George in Vietnam (Jake’s
son is named after him) certainly had profound effects on Jake’s life that go far deeper than words on a
page. Jake inherited a small amount of money from his mother that would play a role in the beginnings
at Burton Snowboards. But that would have to wait until after college.

Jake enrolled at the University of Colorado with aspirations of making their NCAA Champion Ski Team.
Just as classes were starting, Jake managed to break his collarbone three times in two weeks, without
putting on a ski. The first time was in an auto accident, when a Suburban in which he was a passenger
collided with a VW Bug going 80mph. Number two was on campus. “I was walking with a map, not
watching where I was going, and I ran into a guy doing the same thing.” The final blow came while trying
to skateboard on a linoleum basement floor. Colorado lasted one year, and Jake never made the ski

Jake took a year off from school to groom and exercise thoroughbred horses, working in Virginia and at
New York’s Aqueduct Race Track – a foreshadowing of the kind of man that goes off to pursue an
interest as far as it will take him. In this case, dissolution with the thoroughbred racing scene took him
right back to school, this time at New York University studying economics. “Not business,” Jake is
quick to point out, as if someone might think that he actually had formal business training.

Jake’s informal business training came from two sources. First,

there was a landscaping business that he and a friend started in
high school. It was a success, but a success that would give
him a false sense of security. “Our only investment was an old
station wagon, a couple of rakes and some trash bags.” Second,
he spent a year working as an assistant in a Park Avenue firm
that sold smaller companies (“like Burton”) to larger ones. With
his boss embroiled in a major lawsuit, a lot of responsibility was
delegated to Jake. “I was in over my head. I made a lot of
mistakes. I just wasn’t happy.”

After college Jake was feeling like a true entrepreneur, like a man
who had experience running his own business and who knew the
ropes of the business world. He was thumbing a chunk of
inheritance money and feeling disdain for working in the city.
Jake was primed to make one of the biggest mistakes of his life.
“I had this burning desire to make snowboards.”

In 1977, Jake went to Vermont and began Burton Boards in Londonderry. “I hired two relatives and a
friend – big mistake.” There were other mistakes, too, for within two years he was $100,000 in debt.
“I had to go down to New York in the summer and make money the hard way.” Bartending at night and
teaching tennis by day kept him afloat. Seeing his doubting friends in the city kept him driven.

Without the cash to support a payroll, Jake was on his own. No longer was he the entrepreneur. “I was
the grunt. If the board says Jake Burton Carpenter on it, I jigsawed it. I urethaned it. The quality was
good.” Was it fun? “Step up to the pin router with a little piece of wood, it’s not fun. I was a total loser
in shop class. But I always enjoyed making boards.” Jake’s experiments with materials and designs
were never-ending. “I was going to the hardware store to get ideas.” Driving to Las Vegas for the annual
trade shows and taking the boards on the road, things began to turn around. A lot of backhill R&D kept
things evolving, like a Snurfer-sponsored open division contest in Michigan, which in 1979 Jake entered
and won.

When Jake’s wife-to-be, Donna (who unintentionally became an important part of the business), came to
live with him in Vermont, the garage business was beginning to fill the house. “The barn was
production, upstairs a warehouse, the dining room was an office, the living room was the factory
showroom.” When people called the toll-free number, it rang in the bedroom. “I would get calls from
kids on the West Coast at 2 a.m., waking me up. I’d be there, taking down their name and address…“

One of the keys to the success of Burton was Jake’s push to make snowboarding a sport, even though
initially ski area access was not on Jake’s agenda. “I kept saying, ‘this sport has got to happen”. It
worked almost too well. “Sport first,” he says, pointing to his introduction in an early catalog which
promotes the sport of snowboarding without mentioning Burton the company. “Purely sport, not Burton.
We worked with ski areas. We set up competitions. But left ourselves open.” Although he had created
a market, overnight a competitive industry was born as well. Jake realized the focus that had to be on
Burton products and dug in.

On a ski trip to Europe with Donna’s family, Jake slipped away at night to visit ski manufacturers and
learn everything he could about the latest technology. “I showed up at this one factory at 11pm. They
had to bring the owner’s daughter in from another town to translate.” As a result of his European
experience, steel edges and P-tex bases became the standard, and also, Jake became aware of the
potential of the European market. He and Donna went to Middlebury College to learn German. The
accelerated program required a pledge: to speak only German for the duration of the six-week class.
“What was I going to do? I had a company to run. I had my fingers crossed.” Ultimately, Jake and
Donna set up Burton USA’s Austrian counterpart, Burton Sportartikel in Innsbruck, which is now the
nerve center of the European market.

In 1995, the Japanese snowboard market was expanding dramatically. To keep up with demand, Jake
continued to expand the business by opening an office in Japan. With this new direct link to the Asian
market, Burton Snowboards was now truly a global company. In 1998, snowboarding would make its
Olympic debut bringing the sport into the world’s spotlight. And at the 2002 Olympics, three Burton pro
riders won medals at the Salt Lake City Winter Games – including Ross Powers and Kelly Clark who
won the gold and Chris Klug who won the bronze. From the small in-house factory in southern Vermont
to a Global company with distribution points throughout the world, Jake has truly brought snowboarding
to a world class level.


Most of us can only dream of setting off on a world tour. This year, Jake Burton and his family
will be living the dream, embarking on a 10-month trip to snowboard all over the globe, covering
six continents and following winter the whole way.

Jake, Donna, George (13), Taylor (9), and Timmy (6) set off in July for a year of adventure travel.
They will be snowboarding at resorts and in the backcountry of Argentina, Chile, New Zealand,
Australia, Morocco, throughout Europe, and in the Himalayas (India). To round out the trip, they
will be surfing in the Galapagos Islands, Peru, Tonga, and Hawaii, sea kayaking in Thailand, and
touring through China, Tibet, and Vietnam.

This trip is a far cry from National Lampoon’s summer vacation. Jake will be using the trip to get
in touch with the sport on a global basis: visiting shops and riding mountains all over the world.
The ultimate goal – to maintain the company’s global outlook and leadership and reinforce
Burton’s drive for innovation and commitment to the growth of the sport worldwide.

As part of the trip, Jake will be spending several months in Europe and Japan, both key
international markets for Burton. He’ll spend time in Burton’s headquarters in Innsbruck and
Tokyo, connecting with staff. He also plans to meet with suppliers at factories all over the world.

Throughout the trip, Jake and his family will be conducting extensive product testing, staying in
touch with the development of Burton’s ‘05 product line, while testing it under some interesting
conditions around the world. At each stop, Jake will be sent a few pieces of new gear, straight
from the proto shop back in Burlington, VT. He and his family will log days on snow before the
product is swapped out for newer gear, exchanging it in a constantly revolving cycle.

“My family and I enjoy winter much more than summer, so we’re looking forward to going on a
safari where winter is never going to end,” says Jake. “By riding all over the planet, I’ll be
developing a very good understanding of what it takes to be a more effective global company. It
will be huge to immerse ourselves in the European, Japanese, and Southern Hemi snowboarding
cultures among other areas we’re visiting, and remind ourselves that there’s a lot more to the
world than North America.”

Jake will maintain close communications with the headquarters in Burlington. On the first leg of
the trip, he will attend the Burton Summer Sales Meeting in Bariloche, Argentina with the global
sales force to kick off the ‘04 season. After that, he’ll join Burton’s Global Team in New Zealand
for a photo shoot before heading off to Australia and Japan to conduct meetings with Burton’s
senior managers and board of directors. Laurent Potdevin, President and COO, will man the
helm in Burlington, Vermont in Jake’s absence.

Snowboard the world through Jake’s eyes. Jake will be posting regular updates on his
adventures and experiences at Stay tuned for stories from the road, complete
with photos and videos of his adventures.


Clearly, the question I’m most asked these days is “How were the Olympics?”

While I was only there for the Halfpipe, they were pretty damn cool. Sure, there were some
things that would get under the skin of just about any snowboarder (such as a 40-foot high print of
a skier on the main entrance to the snowboarding venue/not a jam format/uniforms/questionable
judging-Shannon got shafted), but it was clear they made a sincere effort to design the venue and
the event with snowboarders in mind.

The format that they used featured running the qualifiers in the morning (35 men and 20 women)
and the finals in the afternoon (12 men and 12 women). Between the qualifiers and the finals
they had live music (Lit for the women's and Save Ferris during the men's) and the sound system
was good. They also had two large Jumbotrons and the riders got to select their own music for
their runs, which everyone definitely enjoyed. During down times they had Chris Jamieson
interview people who were there and showed it on the Jumbos. There was no food or vending on
the premises, and this made for somewhat of a long day, but no one seemed to care because the
riding was so incredible.

If I had to single out the most memorable aspect of the event it would simply be the overall level
of the riding. Watching Kelly and Ross win Burton’s first gold medals was definitely an emotional
experience, but simply watching the level of progression in the sport was equally dramatic. The
level of the women’s event was equal to a guy’s event from just a few years ago. When the guys
took over the next day the amplitude was a joke. Ross and Heikki went so far out of the pipe it
was hard to keep perspective since they were so high.

The overall vibe in Park City was much cooler than any of us expected. While security was
everywhere, they were courteous and tolerant. The weather was great, which can make or break
an event, but the people there were equally cool.

As far as my position on the FIS and their future involvement in snowboarding, I am still super-
concerned. While the nationalistic approach works for the Olympics, it definitely wouldn’t work for
our sport on a week -in/week-out basis. Uniforms, national coaches, a limited range of events,
and monopolistic control over riders’ careers are not what’s going to take snowboarding ahead.
Snowboarding needs its athletes to train where they want, compete in what events they want,
pick their own coach, and not wear a uniform.

Now the question about the Olympics that needs to be asked is “What will this do for the growth
of our sport?” I don’t really think any of us know the answer to this question. Presumably there
are a lot of people out there who’ve thought about trying snowboarding and now they might be
more committed to making the effort to pick the sport up. There are also a lot of kids who identify
with the sport (and the riders) and will clearly pursue snowboarding. Will this grow the sport? Let’s
hope so.

April, 2002


Contents: Page:

Snowboarding 101: Just the Basics 57

Tuning: Better Board Care = Better Riding 59
Snowboarding Terms and Tricks 61
Backcountry Basics 64

Learning to snowboard can be pretty challenging. But when you get it, the struggle to learn will be
worth it. The most important thing is to take it one step at a time and be patient with yourself.
You’ll get it, and most likely, you’ll love it.
On your first day out, start slow, learn the basics, be courageous and push yourself to try again.
In other words, take a lesson. But, not just any lesson. If you choose the wrong snowboard
school and instructor, you might as well have not taken a lesson at all. The good news is that
snowboard instruction is evolving every season and there are many opportunities to learn to ride,
easily and painlessly, the first day out.
Like anything else, there are tips and tricks to picking the right lesson and the right instructor. A
few basic rules and you’ll be on your way.


Be on the lookout for pseudo snowboard-instructors that are really ski instructors. They’re fairly
easy to spot - they’re the ones who will keep referring to your board as your “stick” and to the
mountain’s “ski” school. When looking for a lesson, call around, ask questions and find out who
is truly qualified to teach you to ride. As with any sport and training, it’s not enough to just look
the part. Check to see if the instructor is certified through a national organization, such as the
American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI) or, if he or she has taken part in a
teaching program, such as Burton’s Learn to Ride (LTR).


LTR is an innovative learning program designed by Burton
Snowboards to minimize falls and accelerate the learning curve
so students learn to link turns in the very first lesson, a great
motivator for students and teachers. Not only does LTR offer
great instruction, LTR programs provide innovative LTR
equipment for beginners. LTR boards are soft and forgiving with
extra-long sidecuts and transition zones, specifically designed
to get students used to the feel of linking turns. With LTR, you
start out on the right equipment with the right instructors, which
can make all the difference in your progress.


Group lessons may seem like a good idea, and they are generally less expensive. But, for the
most part, group lessons are less effective than one-on-one instruction. People have different
learning curves and are at different levels athletically. One-on-one instruction might cost a bit
more, but the pay off is individual attention.
Be on the lookout for well-tuned boards and equipment. You don’t have to be a pro to know that
if the bindings are loose and if the board looks pretty shoddy, it’s going to be even more difficult
for you to learn. If you don’t own your own equipment – and very few people do when trying a
new sport – there are plenty of opportunities to try out something new through high-end, high-
quality rental and demo products. Burton Snowboards offers plenty of opportunities to check out
great gear at mountainside demos all season long. Call Burton Rider Service at (800) 881-3138

for a demo location in your area. And if you take a Burton LTR lesson, you can be sure that your
equipment will be right for you.


This goes for both the rider and the instructor. Let’s face it, nobody drops into the pipe or out of a
heli on his or her first day. A realistic goal is to link turns on the first day. Most people are able to
turn and stop within a few hours.
If the guy behind the counter asks you if you’re goofy or regular, don’t get offended. He’s just
trying to be helpful and figure out which way you stand on the snowboard. Once that is sorted
out, everybody’s initial stance should be moderate – with their feet roughly equal to the distance
from the bottom of their knee to the floor. They’ll also try to minimize your toe and heel drag,
which is when your toes and heels hang off the end of the board and drag while you’re turning.
Once you’ve been on the board for a while and you’ve begun to express your snowboard style,
you may want to adjust your stance width, position and angles.
There is no shame in padding up. Knee pads, helmets and elbow pads will protect you from
inevitable falls on your first day. You can wear knee and elbow pads under your layers if you
prefer. R.E.D. offers the latest helmets and body protection for both beginners and advanced

During your first days on a snowboard, you’re going to spend a lot of time sitting on snow. So,
don’t show up to your lesson in jeans, a lightweight jacket and knit mittens. Burton Snowboards
has a vast outerwear line of waterproof/breathable jackets and pants and plenty of non-cotton
technical layers and hats. Burton’s First Layer pieces are made with advanced layering materials
designed to suck sweat off the skin and keep you dry. Second layers of fleece or wool are full of
insulating materials that breathe moisture out and keep warmth in. Throw on a jacket made from
the best in waterproof, breathable and moveable material, and you’re ready to ride.


Many riders are set to rally after their initial lessons, but a few experience a “plateau” after awhile.
Riding with better riders will help to push you for sure, but taking an upper level lesson might be a
good way to break through to the next level. Advanced lessons are also a good way to get
introduced to some of the upper levels in the sport. Riding the halfpipe, snowboard park, trees
and even bumps can be a lot less intimidating when you have someone there to help you get
through the first few attempts.


Consider the conditions before you set out to ride. After all, the sport is totally dependent on
them, and so is your success. If you’re on a gentle slope with a qualified instructor, you can learn
almost any day.
If there was a big rainstorm, and the conditions are icy, your experience may not be so great.
Wait for a day that there is a fresh snowfall and, if possible, one that is a little on the warm side so
the snow will be soft.

And most of all, don’t forget to have fun.



Tuning improves the performance of your board and extends its life. Sharpening your edges
helps remove burrs, nicks and rust. Once the board edges are sharpened, you’ll be able to rule
the ice, climb the walls of a pipe and lay down carves on the hill with greater ease.

Waxing your board base does a lot more than just make you go faster. It makes the board base
glide better so riding is safer. Waxing cleans the board base and protects it from drying and
cracking so your board will have a longer life.

1) PREP - board base and base edge prep

a. Always work from tip to tail. Your board base should be professionally stone ground for
structure and symmetry at least once a year depending upon the amount of riding you do.
b. Your board base edges should be professionally set after your base is stone ground to
ensure no permanent base edge/base damage. A zero-to-one degree base edge is
optimal and can be achieved by a base edge bevel.

2) EDGE - board side edge sharpening

a. Remove burrs and rust with a wet sand stone.
b. Use the Burton TNT File Guide Kit for edge sharpening. Sharpen the edges with the Mill
Bastard File using the TNT File Guide at a desired degree. One degree is good as a rule
of thumb, while professionals may use increasing degrees for better edge bite.

Mill Bastard
File in TNT Filing
File Guide Edge

c. Further hone the edge with a wet stone.

d. Polish the edge with the wet sand stone.
e. De-tune the contact points of the tip and tail of the board with a wet sand stone to prevent
unwanted bite in the turns.

Area to = Dull
De-tune the Sharp

a. Clean the board base with a soft, clean cotton cloth. If there is dirt in the base, try hot
scraping using steps 1-3 while the wax is still warm. Use Burton TNT Base Cleaner if the
base is very contaminated with dirt.
b. Using the Burton Hot Stick-Iron on a medium setting, drip Fluoro Hot Wax onto the base.
There should be no smoke coming from the wax or the base.
c. Evenly and completely saturate the base with wax using the Burton Hot Stick-Iron.

Much more fun than

ironing clothing

d. Once the wax has cooled to room temperature, scrape the excess off the base with a
TNT Tri Scraper. If desired, layer additional fluorinated Burton waxes on top of the Fluoro
Hot Wax. Repeat steps 1-3.

Don’t gouge the base,

just thin out the wax

e. Structure the base using a structuring brush or Fibertex pad to remove excess wax and
expose the base structure. Rub down wax.

f. For the on-mountain quick fix, use the TNT Rub-Down Wax with cork. No iron needed.

Do Not Iron


Snowboarding definitely has its own set of terminology. During the Olympics, national reporters
were constantly defining trick terms like ‘McTwist’ and ‘Backside 540s’ for the masses. Since
Webster’s hasn’t introduced snowboarding terms into the dictionary yet, here’s a quick translation
so you’re not left in the dark.
Stance Types
There are two terms that refer to the way a
snowboarder stands on a snowboard:
• Regular: Someone who rides with the left foot
• Goofy: Someone who rides with the right foot

Stance Options and Foot Angles

Snow conditions and rider personal preference
determine the stance angles a rider chooses. Stance
refers to the distance between a rider’s two feet, and
foot angle refers to the angle of the foot perpendicular
to the board.

Riding Switch
Also known as riding ‘fakie’, this is when a rider snowboards in the opposite direction that they
are normally accustomed to. So, the rider is in a sense riding backwards. For example, when
riding switch, a regular-footed rider rides with the right foot forward, or a goofy-footed rider rides
with the left foot forward.


The following are some common terms you might hear if you’re watching or reading about a
snowboarding competition.

Halfpipe Spins
Rotating in the pipe is different than spinning off a kicker or jump. A 360 off a kicker means the
rider takes off facing forward, spins a complete rotation and then lands facing forward. Because
of re-entry, this is different in the pipe. When the rider spins a 360 in the pipe, he or she actually
lands facing switch or backwards. When a rider does a 540 in the pipe he or she lands forward.
With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of spins in the halfpipe.

360: In the halfpipe, the rider approaches the wall riding forward, rotates 360° and lands riding
fakie (or backwards).

540: In the halfpipe, the rider approaches the wall riding forward, rotates 540° and lands riding
forward down the wall.

720: In the halfpipe, the rider approaches the wall riding forward, rotates 720° and lands riding
fakie down the wall.

900: In the halfpipe, the rider approaches the wall riding forward, rotates 900° and lands riding
forward down the wall.

1080: In the halfpipe, the rider approaches the wall riding forward, rotates 1080° and lands riding
fakie down the wall.

Standard Maneuvers and Terms
Air to Fakie: Any trick in the halfpipe where the wall is
approached riding forward, no rotation is made, and the
snowboarder lands riding backwards.

Backside: There are two definitions of backside in

snowboarding terms: 1) The backside of the snowboard is
the side where the heels rest. 2) Backside also refers to the
wall of a halfpipe. The backside wall of a halfpipe depends
on each rider’s stance as the rider faces forward down the

Backside Air: Any air performed on the backside wall of the


Bone Out: During a grab, when the front leg is extended

out while the back leg is crunched inward with the knee
towards the chest.

Cab 3: The rider spins fakie to forward on the backside wall

of the halfpipe.

Frontside: There are two definitions of frontside in

snowboarding terms: 1) The frontside of the snowboard is
the side where the toes rest. 2) Frontside also refers to the
wall of a halfpipe. The frontside wall of a halfpipe depends
on each rider’s stance as the rider faces forward down the

Frontside Air: A true Frontside Air is performed on the

frontside wall of a halfpipe and with a frontside grab. In the
frontside grab, the rider has his/her rear hand between the
bindings on the toe edge. In this particular maneuver, the
front leg is usually boned. Also a Frontside Air can be any
air performed on the frontside wall of the halfpipe.

Jib: Riding onto or sliding on any object besides snow –

such as a rail or table.

Lip: The top edge of the halfpipe or edge of a jump.

Method Air: This is an air on the backside pipe wall where the
rider’s front arm grabs the heelside of the board with bent
knees, the board extending out behind the head.

Grab: When a rider grabs his or her board.

Indy Grab: This is an air on the backside pipe wall where the
rider’s rear arm grabs between the bindings on the toe edge.

Mute Grab: This is an air on the backside pipe wall where the
rider’s front arm grabs between the bindings on the toe edge of
the board.

Nose Grab: Rider grabs the nose of the board with his/her front
arm on the toeside edge of the board.

Tail Grab: Rider grabs the tail of the board with his/her back
arm on the toeside edge of the board.

Inverted Maneuvers
Haakon Flip: A backflip 720 done in the halfpipe where the rider
approaches the normal backside wall riding fakie. At the lip of the
pipe, the rider flips backward into the pipe and rotates 720° landing
out of the spin, riding forward down the pipe. Named after Burton
rider Terje Haakonsen.

McTwist: An inverted aerial where the rider approaches the halfpipe

wall riding forward, rotates 540° in a backside direction while
performing an off-axis front flip and lands riding forward down the
wall. Named after skateboarder Mike McGill.

Michalchuk: An invert done in the halfpipe where the rider

approaches his or her backside wall riding forward, does a back flip
with a 180° backside rotation and lands riding forward down the wall.
Named after snowboarder Mike Michalchuk.

Rodeo Flip: An inverted off-axis 540 spinning either frontside or


Crippler: A backflip on the frontside wall of the halfpipe.

720 Crippler: A backflip on the frontside wall rotating 720 going

forward to fakie.


Backcountry riding is one of the most euphoric

experiences some riders can imagine. It can also
be one of the most dangerous experiences
people have. Without the proper equipment and
knowledge, it’s easy to get into trouble out in the
backcountry. Statistics show that surviving an
avalanche is a pretty rare occurrence. So the
more you know about the backcountry and
avalanches, the safer you’ll be.

Here is a little information to get you started. For more details visit And be sure
to take an avalanche safety course before you head out to the backcountry.

There are several ways to prepare for safe backcountry riding. The first thing you should do is to
take an avalanche safety course. After taking this course, you should read up on avalanches and
find experienced backcountry rider and/or guides to go with. The number one rule when riding in
the backcountry is never ride alone. If an avalanche happens, you are much more likely to get out
if people are around to help you.

It’s important to bring an avalanche transceiver, probe
and a shovel when you’re in the backcountry. If you, or
anyone with you is caught in an avalanche, the
transceiver will help find the general area where they’re
buried. Then you use the probe to feel around in the
snow for the rider. Finally, the shovel helps dig the rider
out quickly. The more time that passes between when an
avalanche starts and a person is dug out, the more likely
that they will need emergency medical treatment.
Remember, if the transceiver batteries aren’t working it
won’t help save anyone, so make sure the batteries are
fresh before you head out.

The two types of avalanches are called loose snow and
slab avalanches. Both are dangerous, but generally slab
avalanches are more destructive. Though avalanches
can be triggered by the people on the slopes, there must
be pre-existing factors to make the slope dangerous. If
you know how to spot these factors related to snowpack,
weather and terrain, it will help you stay safe.

When snowpack is uneven, and there are different density
layers of snow covering a run, avalanches may occur. Slab
avalanches can happen when there is a denser layer on
top of a thin, light layer of snow. Pressure from a
snowboard on upper, hard layers of snow can cause it to
shift on top of the softer layer. This can cause it to slide
down hill, taking more snow, debris and people with it.
There are several tests you can do to figure out the density
of the snow layers. The pole test and the hand shear test
are some of the most common tests used to detect
dangerous snowpack characteristics. For more information
on snowpack tests, visit

Before heading out to the backcountry, it’s important to
monitor the weather for several days beforehand. In just
minutes slight fluctuations in weather can turn an otherwise
safe slope into avalanche-prone territory. Always be aware
of precipitation, the wind and how the sun hits the slopes.
For example, a sudden storm with rain can almost instantly
destabilize a slope’s snow cover.

The terrain you left the snow resorts to find is often much more prone to avalanches, which is why
liability scared resorts don’t include it. If the slope is more than 30 degrees there is a much larger
chance of an avalanche. Until you know the snow conditions avoid these slopes. Always stick to
small inclines or wooded slopes when hiking up a mountain. If you get to the top and find that the
snow conditions are potentially dangerous, don’t risk it. If there are smaller incline slopes you can
ride down, go for it. Otherwise, stay safe and hike down. You can always come back on a day
when conditions won’t make it treacherous.

This information is only the tip of the iceberg so to speak. Backcountry riding can be the time of
your life, but you need to be knowledgeable before you head out. There are several information
sites available to learn from, including “Getting started in the Backcountry” at
Remember, if it looks potentially dangerous, come back and do it another day.



Industry Fact Sheet
SIA Stats from 72
Industry Sales Statistics
Additional Resources

New American Sports Data stats show that snowboarding is again the nation's fastest-growing
sport, up 51% this year, with skateboarding a close second, up 49%.

Participation and interest in action sports is at an all-time high. Snowboarding has seen a 240
percent increase in participation over the last 10 years.

In 2000 and 2001, snowboarding became the fastest growing sport among those surveyed by the
National Sporting Goods Association. Snowboarding grew 31 percent in 2000, and increased by
another 23 percent in 2001 to a total of 5.3 million participants. According to the 2002 NSGA
Sports Participation Study, snowboarding has grown from 1.3 million participants in 1998 to 5.3
million in 2001, a 308 percent increase.


In 1994 only 13 percent of kids snowboarded and nearly all of them still skied. In the 2001/2002
season, 40 percent of kids snowboarded. Of the 40 percent who snowboarded, the majority (25
percent) snowboarded exclusively. 60 percent of kids skied exclusively.
Total Number of Snow Sports Participants

2000 – Alpine: 7,392,000

Snowboarding: 4,347,000

2001 – Alpine: 7,660,000

Snowboarding: 5,343,000

Gender of Skiers and Snowboarders – 2001 Calendar Year

Alpine – Male: 60.2 percent
Female: 39.8 percent

Snowboarding – Male: 72.4 percent

Female: 27.6 percent

Age of Snowboarders – 2001 Calendar Year

7-11 18%
12-17 30.7%
18-24 26.4%
25-34 15.4%
35-44 4.6%
45-54 2.8%
55-64 2.1%
65-74 0.1%
75+ ----

Ethnicity of Snowboarders – 2001 Calendar Year

Overall: 11% of snowboarders are members of racial/ethnic minority groups

3.6% Asian
2.3% Hispanic/Spanish/Latino
1.6% African American
1.1% Native American
2.4% Other

Gender – Male: 72 percent, Female: 28 percent
Primary occupation – Student
Percent with a college degree – 49 percent
Avg. price paid for a snowboard at specialty shop – $270
Avg. price paid for snowboard boots at specialty shop – $127
Avg. # of days snowboarding – 7.2; male: 7.1, female: 7.6
Avg. price paid for a weekend lift ticket – $44.36

Although statistics show that snowboarding is a male-dominated sport, female snowboarders
tend to be slightly more devoted to the sport than males. Females participated an average of 7.6
days in the 2001 season compared to males who participated an average of 7.1 days.

U.S. ski areas tallied a record of 57.3 million skier/snowboarder visits in the 2002/2003 season.
The results post a 0.45% increase over the previous 57.3 million-visit record set in the 2000/01
season, and a 11.3% increase over the long-term national average.
In 1985, only 7 percent of U.S. resort areas allowed snowboarding. In 2003 every resort in
North American, with an exception of a handful of holdouts, welcomes snowboarders.

A survey conducted by the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), and funded by
SnowSports Industries America (SIA) said that up to 2.5 million snowboarders don't visit ski
areas, according to SAM Magazine. The NSGA survey tallies 5.5 million snowboarders
nationwide, including 3 million riders who turn up at resorts. NSGA head Tom Doyle surmised
that many 10- to 14-year-olds buy inexpensive boards at Wal-Mart, Target, and local hardware
stores, then ride on any local hill they can find -in their backyard, in public parks and on golf

80.1 percent of snowboarders who rented equipment or took snowboard lessons said that they
don’t ride enough to purchase equipment. 54.7 percent said they would ride more if tickets were

32.7 percent of riders who rent or take lessons came to a ski area with a friend, 32.3 percent
come with family and 22.3 percent come with both.

Almost 70 percent of riders who take lessons or rent went skiing as their first snow sports
50 percent of riders surveyed learned to snowboard by “just trying it” without a formal lesson.

82 percent of responding resorts have terrain park(s), 43 percent have halfpipe(s), 21 percent
have superpipe(s), and 14 percent have other special terrain features.

In 2002/2003, snowboarding lessons increased by 1.7 percent and accounted for 25 percent of
total lessons. By ability lever, Level 1 lessons were down 3 percent while Level 2+ were up 2
percent. Kids’ lessons increased 2.9 percent (44.6 percent), while adult lessons declined 2.7
percent (55.4 percent). Snowboard lessons increased in all regions, except the Pacific West.

Overall sales for the entire winter sports market increased by 4.1 percent in dollars to $2.2 billion
compared to $2.1 billion in 2002 for the season (August through March) according to the
SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Retail Audit. Snowboard equipment was a bright spot at
chain stores; it was up 14.4 percent to $66 million in sales.

The 1999/00 season was the biggest year-to-date for the snow sports industry in terms of dollars
spent by consumers at specialty and chain stores. Consumers spent a whopping $2.3 billion, an
increase of 4 percent from the 1998/99 season.

During the 1999/00 season snowboard equipment represented 25 percent of total equipment
dollars. In 2002 it represents 30 percent.

The hottest seller in chain stores this season (2002/2003) has been the snowdeck/skate, gaining
71.5 percent in dollars to $1.1 million.

Industry Fact Sheet Bibliography

“Fox Debuts New Daily Action Sports Show,”, 05 November 2002,
“The Snow Industry Letter,” September 10, 2002, Vol. 24, No. 35
“Profile of Snowboarders – SnowSports Industries of America”, 2002 NSGA Sports
Participation Study.
“Leisure Trends: Ski Population is Morphing,” The Ski Press Daily News, 07 February 2002
“SIA Snow Sports Fact Sheet,”, 31 March 2003
“Skier/Snowboarder Profile Continues to Change” NSGA Newsletter, 12 November 2001.
Volume 3 No. 21
“Profile of Snowboarders – SnowSports Industries of America,” 2002 NSGA Sports Participation
“Profile of Snowboarders – SnowSports Industries of America,” 2002 NSGA Sports Participation
Kottke National End of Season Survey 2002/03 Preliminary Results, May 23, 2003. National Ski
“Profile of Snowboarders – SnowSports Industries of America,” 2002 NSGA Sports
Participation Study.
“The Snow Industry Letter,” July 1, 2003, Vol. 25, No. 26
“Profile of Snowboarders – SnowSports Industries of America,” 2002 NSGA Sports
Participation Study.
“Profile of Snowboarders – SnowSports Industries of America,” 2002 NSGA Sports
Participation Study.
“Profile of Snowboarders – SnowSports Industries of America,” 2002 NSGA Sports
Participation Study.
“Profile of Snowboarders – SnowSports Industries of America,” 2002 NSGA Sports
Participation Study.
Kottke National End of Season Survey 2002/03 Preliminary Results, May 23, 2003. National
Ski Association
Kottke National End of Season Survey 2002/03 Preliminary Results, May 23, 2003. National
Ski Association
“Specialty SB Sales Down 6%, Chains up 9%,” Transworld Snowboarding, May 20, 2003

“Profile of Snowboarders – SnowSports Industries of America,” 2002 NSGA Sports
Participation Study.
“Profile of Snowboarders – SnowSports Industries of America,” 2002 NSGA Sports
Participation Study.
“Specialty SB Sales Down 6%, Chains up 9%.” Transworld Snowboarding, May 20, 2003


The following are statistics taken from, a website managed by

SnowSports Industries America (SIA). For more information, visit

Total Number of Snow Sports Participants

Year Alpine Snowboarding Cross Snowshoeing


2002 7,402,000 5,589,000 2,202,000 N/A

2001 7,660,000 5,343,000 2,337,000 N/A

2000 7,392,000 4,347,000 2,338,000 1,014,000

Source: National Sporting Goods Association, 2002 Sports Participation Study

These figures represent participants who are 7+ years old and went at least one time
during the calendar year 2002. For questions on participation, please contact NSGA
at (847) 296-NSGA.

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Gender of Skiers and Snowboarders - 2002 calendar year

Gender Alpine Snowboard Cross Country Snowshoe*

Male 60.7% 77.0% 53.5% 59.2%*

Female 39.3% 23.0% 46.5% 40.8%*

Source: National Sporting Goods Association, 2002 Sports Participation Study

* Snowshoe figures are from the year 2000.

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Age of Skiers and Snowboarders - 2002 calendar year

Age Alpine Snowboard Cross Country Snowshoe*

7-11 12.1% 17.3% 12.7% 9.4% *

12-17 17.2% 29.7% 8.4% 7.6% *

18-24 14.5% 20.6% 5.6% 5.5% *

25-34 16.8% 17.8% 10.9% 23.8% *

35-44 23.2% 7.9% 14.6% 20.4% *

45-54 10.0% 5.0% 32.6% 17.4% *

55-64 3.5% 0.4% 10.6% 12.6% *

65-74 1.5% --- 4.6% 3.4% *

75+ 1.2% 1.3% --- 0.0%

Source: National Sporting Goods Association, 2002 Sports Participation Study

* Snowshoe figures are from the year 2000.

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Total Number of U.S. Skier-Visits (In Millions)

Season Northeast Southeast Midwest Rockies Pacific Total

2002-03 14.2 5.8 8.3 18.7 10.6 57.6

2001-02 12.2 5.0 7.0 18.1 12.1 54.4

2000-01 13.9 5.5 7.6 19.1 11.1 57.2

Source: National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Kottke National End of Season
Survey, 2002-03. For more information, contact Kate Powers at NSAA, (303) 987-
1111. Please note: The National Ski Areas Association defines a skier-visit as one
person visiting a ski area for all or any part of a day or night. This includes full-day,
half-day, night, complimentary, adult, child, season and any other ticket type that
gives one the use of an area's facility.

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Products Purchased by Consumers at Snow Sports Specialty and Chain
Stores (in dollars)

Season Apparel Equipment Accessories Total

2002- $666,350,414 $810,290,406 $724,480,477 $2,201,121,297


30% 37% 33% 100%

2001- $662,873,351 $787,437,233 $662,664,394 $2,112,974,979


31% 37% 32% 100%

2000- $691,452,301 $815,846,444 $693,167,634 $2,200,466,379


31% 37% 32% 100%

Source: SIA Retail Audit - August 1, 2002 to March 31, 2003

SnowSports Industries America (SIA) is the national, nonprofit, member-owned

trade association of more than 800 competing snow sports product manufacturers,
suppliers and distributors working together to promote and develop the snow sports
industry. SIA produces The SnowSports Show in Las Vegas (January 26-29, 2004),
North America's largest order-writing show and gathering place for the snow sports
industry. Proceeds from The SnowSports Show fund market development programs
for all snow sport disciplines. SIA also annually produces more than a dozen industry
research studies.

Specialty SB Sales Down 6%, Chains Up 9%
by Transworld Business Magazine

Friday May 23, 2003

MCLEAN, Va. (May 15, 2003) – Overall sales for the entire winter sports market increased by 4.1
percent in dollars to $2.2 billion compared to $2.1 billion in 2002 for the season (August through
March) according to the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Retail Audit. "The strong apparel
and accessories sales in specialty stores helped make this the fourth best season ever for the
winter sports industry," said Julie Lynch, Director of Market Research for SIA, the not-for-profit
industry trade group that represents manufacturers and distributors of snow sports products. The
SIA Retail Audit tracks and reports sales in all snow sports product categories. This is the final
report of six that looked at sales through March 31, 2003, the end of the winter season.

Sales at specialty ski and snowboard shops through the end of the season were up 7.1 percent
compared to last season. In dollars, that translates to $1.71 billion in sales compared to $1.60
billion in 2002 and $1.67 billion in 2001. Unit sales were up significantly from last season tracking
14.4 percent ahead. "East Coast sales, with a higher concentration of specialty stores and
abundant snow, led the advance," said Jim Spring of Leisure Trends Group. For the month of
March, specialty store sales decreased by one percent to $122.5 million from $123.8 million in

All equipment (alpine, snowboard and Nordic) in specialty stores was flat (-.03%), tracking at
$662 million compared to $664 million in 2002. Alpine equipment (including skis, boots, bindings
and poles) increased 1.0 percent to $454 million as compared to $450 million last year. Units for
alpine equipment tracked ahead 3.4 percent.

Snowboard equipment (including boards, boots and bindings) was down 4.8 percent to $179
million. Sales for snowboard equipment in 2001 tracked at $188 million. With winter storms in the
East, Nordic equipment (including skis, boots, bindings and poles) sales propelled forward,
tracking at $29.5 million, an increase of 10 percent.

Apparel and accessories lead the way with the largest gains in specialty stores up 5.5 percent to
$476 million and 18.6 percent to $575 million, respectively. Last season, sales for apparel were
$451 million while accessories were $485 million.

"Looking at the end of the season inventory levels, unit inventories were down over 20 percent
compared to 2002. Apparel sold through the best with only 19 percent available hanging at the
end of March. Equipment is at 22 percent and accessories are at 21 percent. The rule of thumb is
that 20 percent carry-over is a very good year," according to Spring.

Ski Poles Sold Briskly this Season

Alpine ski sales (including systems) were up 4.3 percent to $206 million. Ski binding systems had
strong sales this season, gaining 47.7 percent to $55.2 million. Midfat skis, representing almost
50 percent of alpine skis sold, tracked 5.4 percent ahead in units but stayed even in dollars (up
0.1 percent). Fat skis saw the largest gains in dollars, increasing 146 percent to $6.9 million,
however; this category had the least amount of units sold. The second largest class, junior skis, is
up 20.9 percent to $11 million. Twin tips skis also had a great season, tracking 25.9 percent
ahead to $6.6 million. The only categories to see any type of decline in dollars were carve skis
and skiboards, decreasing 40.5 percent and 15.1 percent, respectively.

As in the past, alpine boot sales were the unit leader in the overall alpine equipment category.
However, alpine boots were only up 1.4 percent in dollars to $173.2 million compared to last

season. High performance and recreation boots stayed strong through the end of the season,
gaining 15.9 percent in dollars to $75.2 million and 20.6 percent to $24.5 million, respectively.
Soft boots did really well this season, gaining 122.7 percent in dollars to $13.6 million. In addition,
junior boots gained 31.6 percent in dollars to $9.8 million.

Alpine binding sales were down 11.7 percent in dollars to $59.8 million, however; binding sales
(counting system sales) dropped only 1 percent in units. The only category to see any gains were
junior bindings, up 21.3 percent in dollars to $6.8 million. In addition, alpine poles grew 12.6
percent in dollars to $15.1 million.

For the second consecutive year snowboard equipment sales sagged. Snowboards declined 6.5
percent in dollars to $83.1 million and 3.8 percent in units. Inventory levels are at a trim 21
percent. The carry-over category in snowboards saw the most growth, increasing 21.7 percent in
units. All snowboard categories saw declines in dollars including: Freeride/Freestyle (down 13.1
percent to $15.4 million), Freeride (down 1.4 percent to $31.9 million), Freestyle (down 7.6
percent to $26.1 million), and All Mountain (down 29.7 percent to $4.7 million). Even though
dollars declined for Freeride boards, unit sales increased by 2.6 percent.

Snowboard boots are the category leader in unit sales for snowboard equipment. However,
snowboard boots declined 2.4 percent in dollars to $53.7 million. Non step-in boots did see an
increase of 9.7 percent for the season. Snowboard bindings were also off by 4.4 percent in
dollars to $41.7 million, with a 3.0 percent increase in dollars for non step-in bindings.

Junior Apparel Stays Strong

Apparel tops tracked 9.4 percent ahead of last season in dollars to $264.6 million. The clear
dollar winners were insulated parkas (up 28.0 percent to $101 million), softshell parkas (up 85.1
percent to $8.5 million), vests (up 37.0 percent to $3.9 million) and sweaters (up 32.6 percent to
$26 million). Even though shell parkas were not up significantly, they did increase 6.1 percent in
dollars to $61.6 million. This season women purchased more insulated parkas than men. The
junior apparel categories stayed strong in dollars, both insulated parkas (up 28.7 percent to $16.6
million) and shell parkas (up 190.0 percent to $2.6 million) registered gains in dollars.

Suits turned around in 2002/03 because insulated products are making a come back. Overall the
category gained 6.9 percent in dollars to $20.8 million.

Bottoms were also up 4.6 percent in dollars to $107.3 million thanks to a boost in the average
selling price (up $4), however; units were on par with last season, tracking only 0.6 percent
ahead. Softshell (up 46.7 percent to $963,645), insulated waist pants (up 47.3 percent to $29.4
million), and juniors (up 22.4 percent to $12 million) all saw increases in the double digits.
Inventories are very low for apparel pants (19 percent) as the season ends.

Snowboard apparel dropped 4.5 percent in dollars to $83.5 million. Snowboard bottoms outsold
snowboard tops by 7 percent. Snowboard tops gained 7.7 percent in dollars to $43.2 million while
snowboard bottoms leaped ahead 6.1 percent in dollars to $35.7 million.

Accessories Sales are Up from a Soft 2002

Accessories represent 74 percent of all units sold in an average specialty ski/snowboard shop
and 34 percent of dollars. This season equipment accessories were up 13.7 percent to $279.7
million. Goggles and helmets led all equipment accessories sales. Goggles were up 42 percent in
dollars to $55.2 million and helmets 28 percent to $61.1 million. Weekend snow did not help
sunglass sales (down 4.5 percent to $29.4 million) and slower new car sales put a damper on

auto racks, although sales were up 7.4 percent to $33.8 million. Snowshoes declined 8.7 percent
in dollars to $14.7 million.

New top and bottom purchases mean new accessories to go with them. Apparel accessories are
up 23.6 percent in dollars to $295.4 million with hats (up 38.8 percent in dollars to $46.5 million)
and turtlenecks (up 32.6 percent in dollars to $19.5 million) leading the way. All other apparel
accessories categories saw double digit increases in dollars including: winter boots (up 18.3
percent to $9.1 million), gloves (up 10.4 percent to $46.9 million), mitts (up 16.7 percent to $20.3
million), socks (up 15.9 percent to $34.2 million) and base layer (up 25.3 percent to $66.6 million).

Accessories categories are seeing substantial gains this season due to a soft market during last
season where ski/snowboard specialty stores had a significant level of unsold inventory at the
end of the season.

Chains Down Overall, Snowboard Sales Up

Chain store sales were down 5.1 percent for the 2002/03 winter sports season (August through
March) compared to the same period in 2002. In dollars, that translates to $487.6 million in sales
compared to $513.7 million in 2002. The unit sales tracked 10.5 percent behind last year. Sales
for the month of March in chain stores were down just slightly (-0.5 percent) from 2002 recording
$48.2 million in sales compared to $48.5 million. According to Jim Spring of Leisure Trends
Group, "Chain stores moved the needle downward for the second straight season. Part of the
reason was slower than normal sales in the Western half of the country."

All equipment (alpine, snowboard and Nordic) for chain stores was up 10.7 percent to $148
million from $134 million in 2002. Alpine equipment (skis, boots, bindings and poles) was up 12.9
percent to $74 million as compared to $66 million last year. Snowboard equipment (boards, boots
and bindings) was a bright spot at chain stores; it was up 14.4 percent to $66 million in sales.
Sales for snowboard equipment in 2002 tracked at $58 million. Nordic equipment (skis, boots,
bindings and poles) was down 25.0 percent to $8 million.

Both apparel and accessories were down in chain stores. Apparel was down 10.0 percent to $190
million as compared to $211 million last season while accessories declined 11.4 percent to $149
million as compared to 2002, which was $169 million.

Snowboard Equipment Sales Stay Strong

Alpine ski sales declined 5.3 percent in dollars to $26 million while units dropped 22.5 percent,
excluding ski/binding systems. Carry-over (closeouts) skis dropped 57 percent in unit sales. Even
with advances in alpine ski technology and the increase in the average retail price from $152 in
2002 to $186, alpine ski sales have not increased. Alpine ski binding systems gained some
traction at the end of the season with an average retail price of $427. Almost 15,000 were sold
which is an increase of 449 percent over last season. Carve ski sales dropped 75.3 percent in
dollars to $1.1 million. However, other specific categories are doing well. Midfat skis (up 28.1
percent to $14.6 million), fat skis (up 178.7 percent to $880,990), twin tip skis (up 180.1 percent
to $725,148), ski boards (up 55.5 percent to $1.2 million) and junior skis (up 56.5 percent to $1.6
million) all saw double digit gains or more in dollars.

The alpine equipment sales were driven by boots, which increased 23.7 percent in dollars to $27
million at pretty much the same average retail price of $157 compared to $156 in 2002. All alpine
boot categories saw increases in dollars over last season. High performance (up 56.9 percent to
$5.7 million), sport performance (up 30.4 percent to $7.5 million), recreation (up 95.1 percent to
$6.3 million), soft boots (up 215 percent to $1.5 million) and juniors (up 95.0 percent to $1.5

million) all grew. The increase in dollars could be attributed to the lack of carry-over sales this
season (down 40.2 percent in dollars).

Bindings are tracking similar to skis. Units are down 16.7 percent while dollars were down 11.3
percent to $10 million. Junior bindings are a hot product increasing 60.4 percent in dollars to
$877,479. The only other category to see gains was DIN 12-14, increasing 15.6 percent to $2.3
million. DIN 1-7 and DIN 8-11 declined 39.1 percent and 5.9 percent in dollars, respectively.
Poles were up (32.5 percent) to $4.5 million.

Snowboards ended the season up 1.3 percent in units and 9.1 percent in dollars to $27.9 million.
The two largest categories in terms of unit sales both saw significant gains in dollar sales this
year as well. Freeride and all-mountain snowboards gained 38.7 percent to $8.4 million and 280.2
percent in dollars to $7.6 million, respectively. Snowboard boots and bindings followed suit. Boots
advanced 16.1 percent in dollars to $21.2 million while bindings tracked ahead 22.0 percent in
dollars to $17.0 million. Non step-in boots and bindings saw all the action, gaining 53.1 percent
and 72.7 percent in dollars, respectively. As a result of increased sales, there is a lack of carry-
over sales in boards (down 47.9 percent), boots (down 26.6 percent) and bindings (down 45.5

Junior Apparel is Hot in Chains

Apparel tops declined 8.8 percent in dollars to $112 million; however, units gained 2.5 percent.
The categories which did really well this season in chains were juniors, softshell and carry-over.
Both junior insulated parkas and shell parkas gained in dollars, increasing 13.7 percent to $5.9
million and 52.0 percent to $2.4 million, respectively. Soft shell parkas advanced 59.7 percent in
dollars with an average retail price of $179. It was men that were buying softshell jackets
(representing 91 percent of all sold). Carry-over apparel tops sold really well in chain stores, up
74.2 percent in dollars to $16.6 million. Vests (down 30.3 percent in dollars), fleece (down 13.2
percent in dollars), and sweaters (down 25.1 percent) all saw double digit declines.

Like tops, bottoms declined 7.7 percent in dollars to $41.4 million. Carry-over accounted for over
50 percent of all alpine bottom sales ($14.1 million) which was the only category to see increases
in dollars besides soft shell waist pants which grew 34.4 percent in dollars to $198,586.

The opposite was true in the snowboard apparel; lack of carry -over hurt this category. Snowboard
apparel was down 13.8 percent in dollars to $34.5 million. Snowboard tops were slightly up (1.2
percent in dollars to $17.2 million) while snowboard bottoms were down (5.2 percent in dollars to
$13.3 million).

Snowdecks/Skates Were a Hot Seller in Chains

The accessories business remained in the doldrums all season and ended the season down.
Equipment accessories were down 7.0 percent to $61.3 million. The hottest seller in chain stores
this season has been the snowdecks/skate, gaining 71.5 percent in dollars to $1.1 million and
141.4 percent in units. The only other category to see any growth was sunglasses, up 36.8
percent in dollars to $13.7 million, however; the average price dropped from $42 to $31 this
season. Apparel accessories had a tough time of it also. This category was down even more at
14.3 percent to $88 million. No apparel accessory classes advanced.

The SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Retail Audit tracks and reports sales in all snow sports
product categories. SIA is the not-for-profit industry trade group that represents manufacturers
and distributors of snow sports products. This is the final report of six that looked at sales through
March 31, 2003, the end of the winter season.

SnowSports Industries America (SIA) is the national, not -for-profit, member-owned trade
association that represents snow and winter sports outdoor companies. SIA produces the SIA
SnowSports Show, the largest trade show and gathering place for the snow sports industry.
Proceeds from the SnowSports Show fund market development programs for all snow sport
disciplines. SIA also annually produces more than a dozen industry research studies. For more
information, check out SnowSports Industries America, 8377-B Greensboro
Drive, McLean, VA 22102-3587. Phone: (703) 556-9020, Fax: (703) 821-8276, Email:,13009,452378,00.html


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