Why I hate Burton

Talk about snowboarding clothing, travel bags, accessories, and other snowboarding gear not talked about in other forums.

Why I hate Burton

Postby bernwern » Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:58 am

Snowride asked in the board section about why I hate them. I am posting here, as I hate Burton in general, not just boards.

First, let me say I have Burton products right now. Also, if the price is right, I will get them in the future. I am like most boarders and like things on the cheap. Now for the meat of it:

I give Burton respect for pioneering and developing the commercial success of snowboarding in general. They have definitely helped bring the sport to more of a mainstream status. For this alone, I am glad.

But Burton has ignored its roots, like many corporations. They are now more controlled by money-grubbing whores than by innovative snowboarders looking to advance the sport. Burton consistently puts up sub-par outerwear that falls apart faster than a better quality product...and the retail price is the same. Also, they charge insane prices for shitty gear....like some of their high end stuff that is 10k/10k ratings selling for 300+ dollars. Or how they copied the Elan Inverse by making the Burton Vapor board....and charge more for it, even though the Inverse is still lighter. Burton now uses its brand recognition and marketing to sell standard or inferior gear at the same price point as competitors. They have not updated the tech in most boards for years. They invest their profits into sponsoring events, advertising, and other channels to keep their market share high. This allows them to sell a Burton Air with a friggen "spinner" built into the top-sheet....WTF is the point? Why not put that time, energy, and money into aramid stringers for dampening and core longevity? I think you see my point.

I could go on, but there is no point. I respect burton for what it has done, but I hate them for what they have become.

-B
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Postby canoer » Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:03 pm

I can take them or leave them and try to look beyond the brands anyway.

I am a bit surprised that Burton is still private and hasn't sold out to Johnson Outdoors or Confluence. The big dogs have pretty much screwed up the canoeing and kayaking market for little guys. Not that Burton is little. I remember when North Face outsourced to Asia and quality took a dump. Kelty diluted their brand with Ridgeway crap sold at Costco and Wal-Mart.

Elan gets no respect in this country.

And yeah, my Inverse is light. 8)
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Postby John » Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:03 am

I've got a "Boycott Burton (sort of)" column in draft status that I should release soon. Anyone know if they have awarded the $5,000 to the watch-me-poach video crews? That's one reason I don't the company much.

But like Bernwern, I also have some of their products, including my wheelie bag. (It started to show wear after only one trip. Do I blame them or baggage handlers?)
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Postby dcdrumrider70 » Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:21 pm

I had a TravelSmith bag get ripped after one trip. If you are familiar with them it is supposed to be quality luggage with a guarantee. Didn't take much for that to get trashed. So I guess anything goes with airline baggage handling. I would strongly recommend a hard case for any boards/skis.

There are things I like about Burton and some I don't. I don't like the prices. Is a Vapor really worth a thousand bucks? I don't think so. I have the Ion boots and Co2 bindings and I am very happy with both, but I did not buy them until I came across a good sale price. I think the LTR program is good for beginners and other snowboard companies should take similar initiatives.

I like the poacher contest for the most part. I remember the promo video showed a few teenage girls poaching DV smacking some skiers down the trail. I think that is very poor taste and should have been removed (actually never happen in the first place). I think most of the submitted videos were pretty clean. As a long time skier (30 plus years) who has converted to snowboarding, it kind of pisses me off that I will be accepted if I show up to Alta, DV, or MGR with two plankers and if I show up the next day with a board I will be scathed upon. I do like in the MGR section of the promo where the one skier asks "Did you guys lose one of your skis" and the rider responds "we lost them all".
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Postby snowd0gg » Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:25 am

dcdrumrider70 wrote:...

I like the poacher contest for the most part. I remember the promo video showed a few teenage girls poaching DV smacking some skiers down the trail. I think that is very poor taste and should have been removed (actually never happen in the first place). ... .


Yeah, if they get much of that kind of thing going on it will simply reinforce the resorts' decisions about banning riders. I'd rather the approach be to bring money to the resorts that DO allow boards and let the money do the talking. That always seems to work.

Given Jake Burton's history and the trouble he had with resorts being less than friendly in the beginning, it's not surprising he would encourage the poaching idea.
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Postby John » Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:02 pm

On the topic of poaching and the ban on snowboards by less-than-a-handful of resorts, I recently rode around Cannon Mountain/Mittersell with the marketing director of Mad River Glen. Nice guy doing his job, genial, helpful, etc. And a very good skier.

http://graysontrays.com/blog/2008/03/sn ... river.html
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mad love for mad river

Postby leftcoast larry » Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:23 pm

LET THEM BUY SHARES! I love it.

Oh and did I mention how much I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE my brand new (got 'em all for half off) "Villians from Vermont" Custom 162, Cartels, and Motos.
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Re: mad love for mad river

Postby bernwern » Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:56 am

leftcoast larry wrote:LET THEM BUY SHARES! I love it.

Oh and did I mention how much I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE my brand new (got 'em all for half off) "Villians from Vermont" Custom 162, Cartels, and Motos.


Wait until you become an advanced rider. A Custom is a good starter board, but there are many other choices. Moto's are a soft boot, and I noticed a heavy trend towards free-riding with us older riders.....which means you will eventually want some stiffer bindings and boots. If price was your goal, congrats. But there are many other cheap buys if you watch and/or wait. WM has a Forum Seeker for $119 right now, as an example.

Remember, we are a free market in the US. As long as people continue buying inferior products from Burton, they will continue their shenanigans. Supply and demand.

Also, for another point, the previous Design and Marketing Directors at Burton quit a few years back for the exact reasons I have come to loathe them. Know what they did? They started Rome SDS. Rome has quickly become one of the major players in the industry and actually puts out quality gear, more in tune with what Burton used to do.

-B
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what's love got to do with it

Postby leftcoast larry » Wed Apr 02, 2008 2:49 pm

Hey Brother b (and John, etc.)

At 56 years of age and all of 19 days on slope - "advanced snowboarder" is unlikely to ever appear anywhere near my name.

I have to say though, I'm getting great entertainment value over this whole Burton is the Devil thread. When I sought recommendations for a "good all around beginner to intermediate snowboarder for a guy interested in cruising and carving (no rails, tables or gymnastic gyrations for me thank you)" the Custom came up again and again. Personally, I was focusing on the Arbor line - they're just plain gorgeous (it's probably a CA-thang), and I'm happy to pay green for green.

Maybe it is my socal locale? Living in the land of brand name awareness and marketing has it's pros and cons. I'm telling you there are crazy people here who have brand name tattoos! Then again this is also the land of garage start-ups that blow up global huge, whether it's surfboards (Hobie or Channel Islands I know, I know Burton gobble them up), surf clothing (Hang Ten, Ocean Pacific, Stussey, etc.) skateboards, skate clothing, hi-tech, software - whatever. (Look at Apple, Jobs and Wozniak went nothing to worldwide - got tossed - then came back, and are now galatically gargantuan, and Woz criticizes Jobs all the time. The number of successful former Apple employees is legion. And yes I'm typing this on my Mac Powerbook) The reality of spin offs and employees striking out on their own is not unusual - it's expected. So great for guys at Rome - may they have employees strike out on their own too!

There is something to the simple reality that when "fill in a name" is no longer the hands on guy of old, quality suffers. Then again sometimes - in some peoples minds - there's no greater failure than success (or bigger sin.)

I don't care if Sims and Burton go to they eternal reward still arguing over "who did it first." Or that "so and so" is a sell out. I've seen it so many times - maybe I'm just immune...or numbly stupid.

But I do know this - Monday I went sliding for the second time on my "V of V" joy toy. I'm still smiling today and looking forward to going again Friday (day 20 - YEAH!). That - in my mind and experience - indicates money well spent.

Happily hoodwinked
LcL
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Postby bernwern » Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:08 am

Larry, you touched on exactly what my sentiments are. Burton has "sold out".

I just bought Let It Ride: The Craig Kelly Story on DVD. Amazing movie. I have been riding for 16 years now and remember him well, from even before I started. Most of you here may not. But one very interesting thing came up in the movie: Burton vs. Sims in the early days.

Sims was THE company to start. Part of what drove them was Tom Sims being the "Rock Star" type rider. But when they signed Craig Kelly, Burton took a huge hit. Craig dominated the sport like no other. The problems started when Tom and the rest of the Sims people didn't allow Craig to help with the boards....and because Craig was at so many competitions, Jake Burton knew him and they were friends. So, some of you may recall when all the mags had pictures of Craig riding the "Mystery Air" black board for 2 years...with NO logos. In reality it was a Burton. Sims sued. Eventually the suit was tossed out, and Craig became a Burton rider. With his expertise and feedback, Burton started making the better boards and won the market. Craig was the first snowboarder with his own pro-model line of boards and outerwear! This was part of Burton's rise to glory. Craig gave up everything to become the first big back-country rider...giving up fame, money, and even a chance to own his own board company to pursue what he loved: freeriding.

My problem now is that Burton does not develop their equipment like they did before. They develop it more for a fashion show, or to make profits on dated tech in their boards. That's why the founders of Rome SDS left Burton....and why on every single Rome board you will see they are rider driven, refining their tech and materials based on rider feedback.

If any of you want to get a good sense of where snowboarding came from, get two DVDs: Let It Ride, and First Descent.

-B
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Postby John » Thu Apr 03, 2008 9:32 am

Man, this sounds like a soap opera. To quote from a country music song, "Who's cheatin' who, an who's being true? And who don't even care anymore?"

I don't know, but this all somehow makes me happy that I now ride a board from a ski company (Salomon) rather than Burton.

It sounds like there are several lines of argument in the "I hate Burton" line. I find some more valid or worthwhile than others:

1. They've got bad gear. (I'm not qualified to say.)
2. They've "lost their soul" or "sold out." (I conjure up images of reality-challenged hippies when I hear this, but lately I've been getting a better understanding of it--and realize that it's a desire to see others act in a way that maintains the world as you'd like it to be. That's human but also unrealistic.)
3. They're big and therefore bad. (I don't generally hold this, but I do believe in the value of competition, and that the big dog can become the lazy dog.)
4. They cater to and promote the worst stereotypes of riders. (This is huge with me.)
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Postby Snowride » Fri Apr 04, 2008 7:14 am

I don't know about all the items John posted above, but as for #1, I can attest to the fact that MY Burton board is GOOD, not bad. In my life, I've had 3 Burton boards, and they've all been great boards.
Hey, has anyone out there checked out their NEW design on how to mount bindings? The new boards basically have a small slit part of the way down the center (from tip to tail) so you can mount your bindings (Burton only, of course!) anywhere you want and adjust them at a finger's touch (farther back for powder etc.) I know it's a gimmick and I'm just watching to see if this takes off or not. It looks practical, from what I could observe.
I'm a snowboarding grandma approaching 60. Got a place at Bear Valley California and would love to hang with others like me.
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Postby Snowride » Fri Apr 04, 2008 7:21 am

P.S. If you go to Gear: Boards - Let's talk boards, you would notice that most of the people posting there ride BURTONs and love it.
I'm a snowboarding grandma approaching 60. Got a place at Bear Valley California and would love to hang with others like me.
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Postby bernwern » Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:51 am

Snowride: of course most of you ride Burton boards! They own the market share! Why not just tell us your PC also has an Intel chip (they have 93% of the market).

As for Burton's "new" binding mount, it is a new take on something that has been done before. I don't recall the maker, it may have been Lib-Tech, but they had a channel-lock system that was nearly identical. It had lots of problems due to board torsion loosening the mounts, the board becoming less torsionally stiff, added weight, and snow/ice building up in the channel and not allowing the quick adjustments they promote.

Maybe Burton fixed a lot of these issues, but I doubt all of them have been.

Some other new Burton ideas for this year: an announced cross-promo with Carhart to make Burton outerwear that looks like Carhart gear with both logo's on it. Also, one model of board will be having Playboy pinups on the base. I have pics of both of the prototypes somewhere....just google it and you will see.

-B
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Postby canoer » Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:43 am

That's why the founders of Rome SDS left Burton

Funny, my neighbor is shopping gear now and bought a pair of boots yesterday. He really thought the sales guy was knowledgeable. The sales guy told him "you need this board" and held up some model of a Rome.

My friend didn't buy (yet). Didn't like the color of the topsheet. :D
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