Jake Burton the founder of Burton Snowboards and the highly disputed inventor of the modern day snowboard remains a key figure in snowboarding to this day. He was a champion Ski racer in his youth before a car accident abruptly ended his spandex days and he returned to his Economics studies, eventually working as a stockbroker for a time before the lure of standing sideways pulled.
Head-to-head against Tom Sims, Jake set-up and eventually became the headline sponsor of the US Open snapping up riders like Craig Kelly. Over the 80’s, Burton product development was some of the most innovative in snowboarding’s history. The boards quickly developed from elastic foot straps into legit high back bindings, boots and sidecuts.
Burton opened a European office in Innsbruck, Austria back in 1985 to support Euro operations and to snap up the hottest talent from the continent. Extending out to the east, Burton began a distributor model in Japan in 1994, identifying the country as a hotspot for young rippers.
In more recent times, after buying the brand from Peter Line, Burton announced that it was discontinuing the Forum brand in response to the economic downturn, literally enforcing austerity measure shredding. Burton has now refocused on its core line as well as expanding product lines like backpacks, clothing and other accessories.
Burton also ran the Burton Global Open Series until its demise a few years ago and now runs the Burton US Open, Burton European Open and the Burton High Fives in New Zealand.