Vermont dedicates marker in honor of birthplace of Burton Snowboards
LONDONDERRY, Vt. (AP) — The state of Vermont, dozens of snowboard enthusiasts and local history buffs dedicated a site Tuesday in honor of one of the most iconic brands in the sport, which played a key role in its rise from a curious hobby to an Olympic event.
Snowboard lovers used the event to commemorate the birthplace of Burton Snowboards with a small blue sign down the road from where the company was born more than 40 years ago. The sign states that “from its humble beginnings in Londonderry, snowboarding grew from a backyard hobby to one of the world’s most popular winter sports.”
The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation participated in the event to recognize the creation of the first Burton snowboards. Jake Burton founded the company in 1977, preceding a revolution in winter recreation.
The company’s Londonderry factory, which was lost in a fire, is critical to the history of snowboarding, said Hilary Batchelor, president of the Londonderry Arts and Historical Society.
“It is where they were invented,” Batchelor said. “It’s where his first shop was - where he did prototypes in his shop.”
Burton, born in 1954 in New York, first started skiing in the early 1960s. He left behind a job in New York in 1977 to move to Londonderry and start “Burton Boards” out of a barn in a house where he also worked as a caretaker and tended to horses, according to the company’s website.
The state, the Londonderry Arts and Historical Society and others dedicated the Vermont Roadside Historic Site Marker honoring Burton at Williams Park in Londonderry. Burton, who died in 2019, opened the first workshop nearby on Main Street in Londonderry before moving the company elsewhere in the state.
The exact site of the original workshop was not available to serve as a historical site, Batchelor said. The company is now headquartered in Burlington.
The historical society is also presenting an exhibit about Burton through Oct. 8.
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