[The Burton 40 Years Forward fam shready in Kühtai. Photos: carlosblanchard.com]
40 years is a long time in anything, let alone snowboarding. In 2017 Burton will ring in this landmark moment, so to prep us for the occasion we were shuttled in to Burton Europe HQ in Innsbruck to be walked through the new 2017 swag and put it through its paces on-hill in Kühtai.
Beginning with a look back on Burton’s long, rich heritage in snowboarding we were treated to a few nuggets from the vaults – one of Jake’s first ever production models, his initial press release where he described what ‘snow surfing’ was to a doubtless nonplussed public and a recap of how far both the sport and the brand have come from their humble beginnings in Vermont back in 1977 – before being given some more in-depth presentations on some of Burton’s key drives for the 2017 winter range.
Though they make a ton of different gear these days, Burton’s foundations lie in hardware and ‘Built on Boards’ is a mantra we heard often. And when it comes to making boards they’re still at the cutting edge, as they were four decades back.
Between booting bindings across the room, an entertaining product honcho explained their Infinite Ride concept (overbuilding their boards and then breaking them in with a fancy machine so they’re good to go off the rack) and how all their high-end decks are still made in Austria before getting to the nitty gritty of 2017 where, in addition to some finely tweaked classics like the eternal Custom, Process, the Fish et al there are some killer-looking new models like the Branch Manager and Gate Keeper in the Family Tree line. Of course, as usual there are a few tasty colabs coming out too – the Led Zeppelin one on the new Easy Living was certainly turning heads.