There seems to be a fabled myth that after you’ve ridden for Burton there’s no where else to go but into retirement. Last fall Burton shuffled things around and dismissed a grip load of their riders. Riders that had created programs for them, been with them for either their whole career or for over a decade, riders that fundamentally shaped their team. Was it a right move on Burtons end and is their truly life after Burton?
It’s always easy to point the finger at the biggest player in snowboarding and blame them for everything, except this time around it’s not Jake pulling the strings. If you have the chance to read the August issue of Snowboarder Magazine I highly recommend checking out pages 160 through 163. David Benedek has an exert from his book Current State: Snowboarding in which he interviews Jake Burton Carpenter about where things are at in the current state of snowboarding. There’s some interesting statements made by Jake that potentially show that he is further withdrawn from his company than people think. He alludes to the fact everyone that snowboards wants to be young, that the future is in the youth, and that the industry should be run by riders who get out there 200 days a year. I’m not going to spoil the interview, but if you get a chance take a look at it and see if what he says makes you believe he’s a bit withdrawn for what’s really going on in snowboarding.
Maybe the industry does need to be in the hands of the riders, but frankly I know of very few people that are reps, work for companies, or live on the side of the mountain and work in a shop that get 200 days a year in this industry. It’s the nature of the beast you sacrifice riding days to do what you love. But if they’re off riding that many days a year what is actually getting done?
So what are these ex riders having to say about being dropped from the Big B? Jp Solberg in an interview with Transworld had this to say, “You live in a bubble when you work for Burton you know, but I want to be proof that there is actually life after Burton. I felt that over the years a lot of riders are scared when they’re with Burton because what do you do after? But there is life after and I want to be the epitome of that.”
Big mountain rider and No board extraordinaire Johan Olofsson talks about in an interview with Snowboard Magazine about when his time was done and what was going on over there, “Yeah that’s right. Burton Snowboards had a pretty shitty attitude at the time. I don’t really know what happened cos I didn’t talk with them after I got dropped. I thought they were being idiots, so I didn’t want to waste my time thinking about it. After Jake Burton went on his year long vacation around the world, it was like an army style power struggle in his absence. They try to make young riders who haven’t formed their own opinions do crazy jumps “Hey that guy did that jump – lets mark it down in the black book !” I felt the spirit of snowboarding had been lost somewhere.”
So where has everyone ended up now? Well DCP, JP, and Romain are doing one of the more anticipated new brands for this season with Yes. Snowboards. DCP is also riding for Drake/Northwave and The North Face. JP is rocking Helly Hansen outerwear and Flux bindings along with Romain. For eye wear Romain just signed with Shred Optics.
Gigi along with Elena Hight are on the Volcom board program. He’s part of the mega team of Nike boots and locking himself in with Unions. She’s rocking Volcom outerwear as well. Anne-Flore Marxer is riding for Billabong, Fiat, Swatch and some perfume company. Heikki Sorsa just got on super green upstart Bond outerwear and will be joining Mark Carter on Weekend Snowboards. Molly Aguirre is over on the DC program with former Burton alum Kimmy Fasani.
People are definitely proving there is life after Burton right now. The big question is what happens when Mr. White crosses the line with his off hill antics? Does he get reprimanded or will they try to media spin it to make him out like the savior of snowboarding? The bigger question is what is really going on over at Burton and when will Jake wise up to the ass hat tactics of Laurent?