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The History of Burton Snowboarding

Updated on December 15, 2013
Burton's Official Company & Product Website
Burton's Official Company & Product Website | Source | Source

How in the world did such an extreme sport begin?

Burton and the keyword snowboarding goes a long way back digitally on the Internet, and to the year of 2003 where the selling began of its products online, as well as on the snow surfaced grounds many years prior. Upon such a time the company that is now a multimillion dollar industry was just getting started online, but was already famous for its extravagant fun and wintertime extreme sport of riding snowboards.

All the way back in the year 1977 was its humble inception, the concepts of riding a wooden surface, or placing a piece of wood onto a mound of snow had begun prior to this occurrence however, but not like what was soon to occur with the bright ideas of a cool dude named Jake, who happened to have that infamous name Burton as his middle name at first, and years later it became his last (Jake Burton Carpenter to be exact – link from Wikipedia to his life history).

Years were to blow by quickly, and the next thing you know it this Burton dude’s spin of recreation of his version of a hot looking snowboard was setting sail onto the slopes for the very first time, making him a number one contender of the product.

Back then he must have been very tickled to know that his creative works had begun to pay off hugely, and when you come to think of it. So when anything like a small business or start-up company gets its first initial launch onto the scenes, all is very unknown. Now as time moves along into much more successful pastures, things will always have a certain glow to it all, and feel extremely awesome, which brings much cause for celebration for all the hard labors such an active business or company was responsible for conducting and working out.

Cool location where snowboarding got one of its first lift off's

Londonderry, Vermont:
Londonderry, VT, USA

get directions

This was the very location where Jake Burton had begun his snowboarding enterprise, and worked tirelessly to make it what its become today.

Let him tell it!

Snurfer Patent (US 3378274) diagram
Snurfer Patent (US 3378274) diagram | Source

How did he get the idea or where did he get it from

Burton snowboards are truly slick in their overall appeal, look and design functionality for the more modern snowboarder today, and those who have stepped their feet into these cool sporting vehicles know, that Burton does it the best!

So where did the idea really come from in the first place to make such a stylish sporty looking snowboard. Well, according to Wikipedia Jake, actually borrowed his ideas from a previous design known as snurfer (The very first snowboard ever created in 1965), which pretty much means to surf on snow.

This previous invention and the official first ever concept of the sport of snowboarding to hit the scenes of the slopes was originated from a cool guy by the name of Sherm Poppen. He created it out of two children’s skies tied together that were wooden in structural design and 36 inches in length. It was said that he first had made this contraption for getting his kids out the house during his wife's pregnancy years back, and so they could have fun at first.

Later his young girls friends liked it and he figured why not develop upon the idea which his wife entitled for him the Snurfer, soon this new invention had caught the attention of the Brunswick Corporation years later when he redesigned it for official usages and product sales, which began the sport of Snurfing as it once was called, which lead to Jake Burton even making his own purchase when he was a 14 year old boy.

Poppen made millions of sales, but it died out after a while when years later this young teen named Jake, became determined to improve on the idea, and after college dove deep into adding the improvements to make it much more navigable. Some years later Jake's redevelopment which was actually an evolved version of the original snurfer idea, which was introduced in an actual sporting event during a Snurfing competition on Jan 30, 1979. (Entire news papers and magazines, journalism and reporter coverage were erected to cover the outbreak of this Snurfing sport, the competitions and all, but it became no match years later for this new breed of what is known today as the sport of snowboarding, thanks to its pioneer Jake Burton.)

Stylist Boards to choose from

So what’s up with the sport today

Skiing on the slopes has never been the same ever since the days of surfing on the snow had emerged onto the scenes. The sport of snowboarding has become a super power when it comes to attracting fans, television, media, sport enthusiast's, people looking to learn how to ride one, and those who’ve become known as professional athletes of the sport.

Today the Burton company is extremely successful and has made a place for its cool flashy products onto the stock market, with an entire clothing and winter gear line up. It’s net worth is at a whopping $120 million dollars today, and Jake Burton’s share is $100 million (According to the Celebrity Networth network) of it as he earned every red cent from his hard laboring.

A snowboarder practicing jibbing
A snowboarder practicing jibbing | Source

Oh what a feeling it is to burst into the air, I done it once!

Climbing the financial slopes was tough

Burton had it hard when he first was trying to get things going financially for his once small company. It took him a great deal of time, and countless efforts to sell his new product, and mainly because there wasn’t a demand for it at all pretty much, and he needed to figure out a way to create such a market from scratch. Also he had to content with the well known fact that snowboarding wasn’t accepted by the Skiing industry at the time, and or their luxurious snow resorts many years back, since it was looked upon as a deterrent to the sport of skiing, skiers, and potential profits as well.

It wasn’t until the economy took a dump back in the mid 80’s and ski resorts had been forced to shut their doors, that pioneer Jake Burton was to be victorious, and after he had been facing massive failures for his company to break even as he fought his way back up, and even after he suffered from taking a financial loss of $130,000 (According to the Funding Universe network) back in the year 1981.

Awesome manuveurs and flipping stunts performed by experts


Skiers had a new contender


Cool winter sports poll

Have you ever tried snowboarding before

See results

The motivation to succeed & prosper

Knowing now that such a demand for his product was off and running, as well as his sport being accepted into ski resorts across the United States, this was all he needed as added motivation to push even further, as his ingenuity helped him to master the manufacturing process of his bindings over the years to come, which was the deal breaker pretty much for the predecessor snurfer, and its lost industry with the Brunswick corporation. Poppin quickly fell into the back burner as well, and it soon became a childhood toy again.

Bindings and a much larger surface area, plus new synthetic redesigns of the Burton board proved to be a wiser function for a better ride, and more controllable safer one too as the years progressed.

He was able to leverage things in his companies favor financially and with this redesign it created such a demand for his new board creation, in which helped to catapult his company to the top of the economic food chain of winter sports all throughout the 90's, and for years to come he was to see a great deal of success from that point onwards.

This is words from Jake Burton himself, when he competed with his first model prototypes of his concept boards with bindings

Diagram of a Snowboard and its various elements that affect sizing.
Diagram of a Snowboard and its various elements that affect sizing. | Source

Acceptance into anything takes time

At around 1985 or so the same Ski resorts that once had rejected Burton’s concept, was somehow forced to accept his new concept after realizing the potential marketing benefits from the newly growing demand for his product, which lead to further opportunities for his company. He soon was able to sell a total of 100,000 snowboards a year, which helped his company to do much more then break even (they were now in the black), where he then decided on expanding his newborn snowbound empire abroad in Europe and at a place known as Austria that very same year.

This new found success also came later from the help from would be skate boarders, supporters and surfers who looked towards the cool sport of snowboarding as a promising career to pursue as well, and from fans looking to watch. Where his company then flourished in the 90's and beyond, making for a super success and leading to its world renowned popularity of the sport and corporation of today.


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    • CloudExplorer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Pugh 

      6 years ago from New York City

      Never say never Bill, this sport is super fun, that dude Poppen was 65 years old and he got into doing it himself finally, actually one of them cool videos up there shows him on a board, and it's a fun & super cool sport to learn indeed. Anyhow enjoy your Turkey time too, and thanks for the cool visit!

    • CloudExplorer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Pugh 

      6 years ago from New York City

      Thanks Carol for the cool comment for sharing and yup I love this cool winter sport so much, and maybe even more then I fell in love with scateboarding as a kid.

      I hope to get back to the slopes some time soon as well, oh catch you in your comment area soon, when I get some time. Chat with ya soon!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Trust me when I tell you that there is no way this old fool is going to be trying this sport. I love watching it on tv, when I have access to tv, but no way I'm doing it. :) Great information here Mike; nice job of constructing this hub. It is visually quite nice.

      Happy Thanksgiving buddy!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Snowboarding is the hot sport of the day. I used to ski some pretty tough runs and thought I was a good skiier.Today this snowboarding takes a lot of balance and guts. Great hub on the subject along with terrific photos. Voting up and sharing!!!


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