Forty-plus years of pushing progression while having as much fun as possible.

Since Day One

In the mid-1970s Jake Burton Carpenter quit his New York City suit-and-tie job to follow a gut feeling that sliding on snow could become a sport. He moved to Londonderry, Vermont, and began building boards by hand. In 1977 Jake made Burton Snowboards an official company. After almost four years in Londonderry he moved to a farm in nearby Manchester, where his operations slowly grew. The next year he met his future wife, Donna, who quickly became an integral part of building Burton.

Jake and Donna spent the late ‘70s and early ‘80s growing snowboarding towards legitimacy in every way they could. Jake gave one-on-one lessons, organized events, and worked tirelessly to improve the product. But the next decade presented an even greater challenge: convincing ski resorts to let snowboarders on the chairlift. Before snowboarding was on primetime TV, or in the pages of magazines, riding sideways was banned at ski resorts. Jake, Donna, and Burton played a pivotal role, often going from resort to resort giving demonstrations and making pitches for the benefits of allowing snowboarders.

Jake shaping a Backhill board in Manchester VT, 1981

Europe was the global manufacturing hub for ski equipment in the ‘80s, and Jake found a home for snowboard manufacturing at Austria’s Keil Factory. Burton opened its first European office in 1985. In 1992, the company moved its factory and headquarters to its current home in Burlington, Vermont. Throughout the following years, Burton continued to spread its roots around the world.

Passion for Progression

In his intro to the 1994 catalog, Jake wrote, “Check into any feature: we didn’t do it to be cool. We saw a need for it, tested it, and made it work.” This approach was a direct result of Jake’s personal passion for the product, and resulted in a development cycle that became known as “The Process.”

At the heart of “The Process” is an ethos that shaped Burton’s journey: listen to the riders. Jake saw an early need to have riders out there testing the product seven days a week and thought, “They might as well be the best riders in the world.” This culminated in the Burton Team of pros from around the globe, pushing progression in the sport, guiding product development, and feeding the culture.

We Ride Together

Today Burton has offices in Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea. Our community is grounded in our purpose of being a force for good, and passionate about doing things our own way. 

Jake passed away in 2019. Donna and their three sons continue to lead the company and celebrate his legacy, along with the lifestyle, community, and mindset they helped create.

Riding isn’t just an activity. It’s a state of mind that transcends the physical act of sliding on snow. We choose to push forwards while having as much fun as possible, even when it means choosing a line that’s yet to be ridden. Every choice we make presents an opportunity to stand sideways and fight for the future of our people, our planet, and our sport.