Burton Fish Snowboards
Ever get that burning back leg sensation on a powder day, because you’ve spent every run fighting to keep your nose out of the snow so you don’t go over the ‘bars? Rocker has helped ease the pain, but taper—defined as the difference in width between the tip and tail of the board—makes all the more difference when it comes to float and turn-ability. The more taper, the wider the difference between the tip and tail widths, and the better it will slash and turn on deep days.
Taper lets the back of the board sink in powder, so more weight can be applied to the front of the board and you don’t have to over-weight your back leg nearly as much. Being more balanced on your board enables you to make turns with more control because you are not leaning back—you never want to ride in the backseat if it’s avoidable. Taper also shifts the center of sidecut (see Sidecut) toward the back of the board, so you can set your stance back from centered but still be over the sidecut. When you have more taper, and less tail, it’s also easier to make turns in tight trees and chutes since there isn’t as much board behind you to swing around.
Burton’s Fish LTD is an example of a board with heavy taper (30mm), which makes it very adept as powder and soft snow but not ideal for hardpack. The nose is 30mm wider than the tail. To compare, their Malolo (20mm of taper) is a bit more versatile but still strongly tapered for maximum floatation, versus Burton’s Jeremy Jones, which is twin-shaped and not tapered at all. Not all tapered shapes are so powder specific, and many freeride boards have smaller degrees of taper to enhance float while maintaining all-mountain, all-conditions utility.
In the mid-60's, 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.
In the first few years, snowboarding was an underground sport struggling on sledding hills and snowcovered 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.
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 livingroom/showroom, employees led "Safaris" - snowboard tours of local powder stashes. Turns were earned by hiking.
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 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.
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.
(Taken from www.burton.com)
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