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Powder and Rails: Jake Burton

Powder and Rails: Jake Burton


[MUSIC PLAYING] TODD KOHLMAN: That’s one of the
first early Burton signs that was on the Manchester
buildings. It’s based off a shot, an actual
shot, of Jake from the ’82 catalog. So here’s a timeline on our
history here at Burton. As you know, it started
in 1977. Great early shot of Jake here
slashing some powder turns on a BB1 back [INAUDIBLE]. Here, another great shot of
Jake getting some air– ’78. Another one of Jake. JAKE BURTON CARPENTER: When I
started the company in ’77, when I moved out of New York
City and came up here, I tooled up this factory– I had a good friend
and two relatives. And we got to where we could
make 50 boards a day and that was our objective. And that wasn’t easy. It was tough, but we
figured it out. TODD KOHLMAN: Jake here in ’81,
carving some boards– shaping, I should say. And Jake made 100 different
prototypes. It’s amazing to think of his
passion before even coming up with the final product to
make 100 different ones. This is one of Jake’s first
prototypes, and its interesting that it’s
made of fiberglass. And he said it worked great in
powder, but he did say if you come across a rock, it just
blew the thing up. JAKE BURTON CARPENTER: So the
second year, we had already basically made enough boards. They were sort of pre-done, and
just had to be assembled. But nobody wanted them. So I went from myself plus three
full time employees, to basically myself plus one or two
high school kids working a little bit after school. So in other words, I had these
sort of bigger expectations, and then it just want way down
in terms of the whole scale of the company and the scale
of my expectations and everything else. That’s probably what I’m
proudest of, looking back on everything, is just having the
perseverance to get through the whole thing. TODD KOHLMAN: In ’81,
actually there was a change in the shape. They went from the narrow, maybe
Snurfer type, to this wide shape. It just changed the game– better float in the powder,
and just a better ride. JAKE BURTON CARPENTER: Those
boards were barely ride-able. But as a kid, I get a Snurfer,
which is a toy-like version of a snowboarder. It was much much
less expensive. But it was fun. There was no doubt about
it, and that’s I pursued it with my life. And so I think once we get
boards out there, we got them to the right people and found
the right ways to advertise them, that’s when it
just started to go. I mean, I think people
just had fun on them. DONNA CARPENTER: I met him at
a bar on New Year’s Eve. I was up skiing at Stratton– so this is like 1981. I was living in New York. He said his name is Jake, and he
made snowboards, and nobody had ever heard of
snowboarding. And I said, whatever, I’m
way too sophisticated. The first date we had
that night I said, well let’s try it. And it was just a wooden board
with a rope and a water-ski binding in the front, and a
strap in the back, and we wore high top sneakers. And I never thought I’d leave
New York for that, but I did. TODD KOHLMAN: You put one of
these on there, that would help you keep the nose
up in powder. And notice, like I mentioned
before, the front binding is more like– it reminds me of water-ski
type bonding. And then back here, is just
like a strap that would go over your toes. And this is a BB1. And then the BB2 is a back-hill,
so it just basically was this without
the bondings. The super big change in ’84– right in this area here, then
from here, we started doing P-Techs and metal edges. And so this Performer Elite
was pretty breakthrough– ’85. Originally, I think Jake started
off riding in the backyard and stuff. I think it’s just amazing how
far it’s come from those days. PAT BRIDGES: Skiing and
snowboarding in the ’80s was a scary place. Lawyers ruled the day. Introducing something new to
that environment was not welcome, and he took it upon
himself as a challenge, and he literally did the leg-work– went door to door and
sold our sport. Other people did too. I just don’t think they
did it to his extent. Granted, you could question the
motivation, be like yeah, he’s motivated by money, wants
to spread a sport. Well regardless of his
motivations, 20 years later there’s 10 million snowboarders
in the United States who reap the
benefits of that. JAKE BURTON CARPENTER: We didn’t
get on Stratton until ’84, so I look back and it’s
like, what the hell were we doing those first seven years? But we were hiking hills,
riding and stuff. So it took awhile before
we got on the resorts. And that was clearly a huge move
in terms of growing the whole thing and making
it bigger. But it took a long time
just to get there. DONNA CARPENTER: It was very
intense in the beginning. It was sort of 24/7. You never got away from it. It’s not like you go home
from the office, and the problems go away. But there was never a time
when we would have really given it up. I think we were just passionate
about the sport. I think that we wanted to
see the sport grow. We wanted to see more ski
areas accept it, then we wanted to see it grow in Europe,
and then we wanted to see it grow in Asia. And now we’re committed
to seeing the women’s market grow. So there was always a challenge
ahead that had to do with getting more people into
the sport, which is what keeps us going I guess. JAKE BURTON CARPENTER: And
there’s Brush, Andy Coghlan, Neil Khan, and I think that’s
Johan right there. And there’s Ossie Loftus
right there. There’s a classic Craig shot. That was a great era. That was in Europe, and the
O’Neill outerwear thing was going off, and the colors were
just pretty fluorescent. TREVOR ANDREW: Jake
is the man. He’s one of the realest
people. The riders, to him,
he’s always just considered them family. And since day one, he’s not the
typical owner of a huge company like that, that
you would expect. He totally is like riding with
you and just as stoked as everybody else about it. He’s not all business. He totally loves snowboarding,
and loves the team. And that’s just his thing. He’s just so into it, and I
guess that’s what’s brought him so much success, just
because he has genuine love for the sport. He’s one of the pioneers. JEREMY JONES: His office
too is sick. You walk and it’s
just couches– full chill, like hippie. It’s dope. You walk in, and you’re like,
this is your office dude? You make how much
money a year? This is sweet. Jump on the couch– it’s all cushy and big
and throw your feet up on the table. He’s doing the same. It’s pretty sick– pretty sick that he’s the
one that started it all. JAKE BURTON CARPENTER:
I think resisting the temptation to sell out– or whatever, or go public, or
cash out, or whatever– is probably the best thing
that we’ve done. If I were to point
to one thing, I think it would be that. KEIR DILLON: And you hear it
all the time, Burton’s corporate, and it’s crazy to
think that you’re going to call the person that helped
pioneer the sport, fought to get it in the mountains, made
the R&D, invested so much money to bring it to where
it is, you’re going to call them corporate. It’s like the best case scenario
on the planet. The dude that pretty much
invented the sport– yeah, he’s the corporate guy. It means he handled it. And you have a dude that cares
that much about snowboarding dictating where it goes. JAKE BURTON CARPENTER: We
haven’t remotely come close to selling out. We’re not public. We’re privately held. My family– we own
the whole deal. But we are big, and
we are successful. And being big, there’s certain
limitations to that. But we try to move as
quickly as we can. We try to create fresh stuff and
always have part of what we’re doing be very
forward thinking. But at the same time, have the
engineering backbone and functionality stuff that
we have so down. HANNAH TETER: He just wants the
best product, and that’s we all want. That’s why Burton is the
rider-driven company– because they’re all about
input from us. They want it to look good,
but they want it to function more so. At first I was like,
wow, he’s the boss. But he’s just like a friend. He’s just chill and a
down to Earth guy. It’s nice to have a
boss like that. Not many people get nice
bosses, but we do. NILS MINDICH: Being the first
person we met from the family of the Carpenters was Taylor. He was about his
age in school. HANS MINDICH: His son, Taylor,
was pretty much him, Taylor, and then two other kids that
live near Jake’s house– they’re my three first
friends basically. And so my first sleepover
was actually at Jake’s house, for one. So it’s kind of like,
I’ve known him as a friend’s father. NILS MINDICH: It’s ironic. SHAUN WHITE: I don’t know, I’ve
never really felt like he was a boss ever. It’s been one of those things
where he’s just like– I don’t know if you’ve met him
or not– but he’s like this really mellow, fun guy. I think the first thing when we
were hanging out, he made some joke about what some
woman was wearing. And I was so blown away by it. It caught me so off guard,
I’m like this guy rules. He’s all time. YALE COUSINO: I’ve rode with
him a few times at Stowe. It was a storm. There was like two feet of fresh
snow, so it was pretty cool to ride powder with him. He shreds. For sure, he’s good. He’s real good. NICHOLAS MULLER: Who doesn’t
dream to ride for Burton? And he starts to ride, and
it’s the best company out there for the products, but
even more for the team. I mean, all the idols
that were there. Johan, [INAUDIBLE], and Terry. What makes the brand? You know, the team. JAKE BURTON CARPENTER: I hope
snowboarding keeps going and that the riders continue
to make more dough. It’s weird in this country. Sports that people participate
in isn’t necessarily where all the money is. Nobody’s stopping snowboarders
from looking like NASCAR drivers, and putting patches
all over them, and selling themselves to everybody. That’s not what people
want to see. And that’s kind of good. There is this sort of sense of
couth that’s associated with– I think all board sports– that we don’t want to lose. And I think that might keep
things down a little bit smaller, but I think it’s where
we all want to live in. We don’t want to live in
that kind of world. So I think it’ll continue to
grow, and it’ll continue to get bigger, but it’s going to
necessarily ever get to the point maybe where everybody is
such a big deal that they got to carry a gun and
stuff like that. Hopefully it’ll just sort
of keep its scene.

100 thoughts on “Powder and Rails: Jake Burton”

  1. Snowboarding has come a long way… Would love to try some of the oldtimers, they look like fun. You probably need to raid a museum to get one of those… And now lets spin the jacket wheel of fortune!

  2. my brother won the Transworld/Burton trip to Chile and is taking me! would love to win this jacket for him as payback for taking me!

  3. As a racer still riding at the pro level, and as someone who went to the first factory in the late 80s to buy my boards in person I have very mixed feelings on Burton. Loved em at first and even still raced on a Factory Prime a few years ago, but now it's all jibing and powder, Shawn White gets all the glory and racers are forgotten about. Chris Klug will probably be the last guy to ever race on a Burton in the Olympics. I feel Burton has sold out but I still thank him for the start!

  4. I don't ride burton but thanks for pushing the sport jake and making all these other brands what they are!

  5. I love burton but there so far behind as far as modern technology goes. They always seem to be a few years behind over the last few years

  6. I remember riding a Sims 510 blade and a Kemper and having the same sticker on both… "boycott Burton. You can't out a patent on fun"

  7. 2:50 Even the reported knew the dickhead was contradicting himself. He was only looking at his own point of view. But yea, it's fine to say… cause he's older.

  8. Carry a gun. Do famous people carry guns? Like if they don’t have security? It seems like a lot of athletes do but mainly ones from the hood or the sticks.

  9. LUDAS HAND … stop making super model then you LOOK what going on and there you find USA talking sneek picture for the HOMO masturbations https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhCD9qxlczo

  10. Thank you Burton for making my childhood what it was I had a burton freestyle board and bindings and any chance I could get I was on the hill all day long my favorite thing where handrails but that was back in the day when I was in high school now I'm 30 in the last time I was on a board with seven years ago

  11. This is when you know Dimitrije Milovich is the real thing..in 1977 he was already ripping on a real surfboard not a snurfer like plank..

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