An Expert Guide to Burton SnowboardsPublished on 05/09/2023 · 11 min readOne of the most popular brands in the snowboarding world, Burton Snowboards makes some great boards! Snowboarding Expert Gaelen Mast dives into their products!
TL;DR: If you’re interested in buying a Burton snowboard, there are many Burton-specific technologies to consider, such as the Channel System, Flying V profiles, Frostbite Edges, Squeezebox Core, Infinite Ride, and Pro-Tip. You should also consider your skill level, riding style, and preferences to decide which of these Burton features would be useful to you and which of their boards to purchase.
Hi! My name is Gaelen, and I’ve devoted more than half of my life to snowboarding! Over the past 11 years, I’ve worked as a snowboard rental technician at multiple mountain resorts and in a snowboard shop. I’ve also worked with thousands of customers on Curated to help them find the right gear for their specific needs and wants. In addition, I’ve had the privilege of snowboarding 50+ days every year in locations such as Vermont, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska.
Over the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to demo many of Burton’s most popular models and attend Burton brand clinics. Additionally, I work with their products in the snowboard rental shop I currently work in, where we carry Burton boards for our rental fleet exclusively. During this time, I’ve gotten to know this brand inside and out, and today, I hope to provide a basic guide that’ll give you all the basic knowledge of all things Burton!
What’s the Deal With Burton Snowboards?
Burton is one of the most well-known snowboard brands in the industry. It was founded in the small town of Ludlow, Vermont, in 1977 by the late Jake Burton Carpenter, who is widely considered the godfather of snowboarding. Burton’s headquarters now resides in Burlington, Vermont, only two hours from where it was originally founded!
With a rich history as one of the key players in the early days of the snowboarding industry, the company is known for its high-quality snowboard gear. They’re well-known for not only their boards but also their innovative products, such as step-on bindings. Burton's commitment to performance, style, and sustainability has made them popular among professionals and enthusiasts. They’re true innovators in the snowboard gear space, and choosing them means investing in a reputable brand with a proven track record of delivering top-notch snowboarding products. This is the reason they’re one of the most sought-after brands on the market today!
What to Consider When Purchasing Burton Snowboards
1. Is Burton the “Best” Snowboard Brand?
The quick answer is no. Burton is not the best snowboard brand on the planet. That’s because there simply is no “best” snowboarding company (despite what some diehard snowboarders will tell you). While Burton has been around since the beginning of snowboarding and is one of the most recognized brands on the market today, plenty of other brands make comparable snowboard gear. Saying one brand is “better” or the “best” simply isn’t accurate because it all comes down to a rider’s needs and preferences.
2. How Expensive Are Burton Snowboards Compared to Other Brands?
Burton tends to fall on the pricey side for snowboard gear compared to other brands, but not by a huge margin. Some will argue that you’re paying for the brand’s name, while others say it’s because Burton gear has exclusive technology that other brands don’t (more on this later). While the actual reason is somewhat ambiguous, it is worth noting that Burton products will be just a bit more expensive than the average snowboard brand, not to the point where you should stay away from them, but perhaps look elsewhere if you’re on a strict budget.
3. How Does the Burton Binding Step-On System Work?
Burton step-on bindings are arguably one of the biggest technological innovations in the recent history of snowboard gear. Step-on bindings require specialized boots with " cleats " that snap right into the bindings and hold the boot in place without using straps. Boots are released from these bindings via a small lever a rider must pull that’s attached to the side of the binding. Burton claims you can use step-on bindings for any sort of terrain, and they’ll perform the same as traditional strap-in bindings. However, it is worth noting that step-on bindings and compatible boots are more expensive than traditional boots and bindings, and you should expect to pay around $600 minimum for a set.
4. How Does the Burton Channel System Work?
The Burton Channel System comes standard with every Burton board (since 2011) instead of the standard 2x4 or 4x4 mounting pattern inserts you see on most snowboards. It is a shallow channel with two hardware inserts that bindings are mounted to. It is intended to make it easier and quicker to adjust your bindings and tweak your stance width and binding angles more precisely. It’s worth noting that you can only mount “Channel System compatible” bindings on the Channel System.
Technology Specific to Burton Snowboards
As I mentioned above, Burton features some exclusive or semi-exclusive technology in their gear that is worth knowing more about:
- The Channel System: I covered the Channel System in the above section, but it’s worth mentioning again here as it’s arguably the most noteworthy technology Burton has come out with.
- Step-On Bindings + Boots: Again, this is another topic I covered above, but it’s also a very well-known technology that Burton pioneered. Other companies, such as Nitro and K2, have made their own versions of step-on equipment as well.
- Frostbite Edges: These are specialized edges that extend slightly outward under your binding inserts. They’re meant to enhance edge hold on icy or hard-packed conditions, which is great for East Coasters who see variable conditions. This technology is similar to Magne-traction, which is a technology used by several large board brands.
- Squeezebox Core: Burton strategically places thicker and thinner core sections along the length of the snowboard. This improves the board's energy transfer and pop.
- Infinite Ride: Burton claims to have a “factory pre-break-in process,” which ensures that the board’s flexibility remains throughout the life of the snowboard.
- Pro-Tip: Burton boards with “pro-tip” have a tapered tip and tail thickness. This reduces swing weight and therefore improves maneuverability along with overall board feel.
While none of these features will instantly make you much better (or worse) at snowboarding, it is worth understanding them to make sense of the different options out there when researching Burton products. To learn more about basic universal snowboard technology that WILL make or break your riding, check out this guide here: “How to Choose a Snowboard.”
What Are the Different Types of Burton Snowboards?
Like most snowboard brands, Burton offers a diverse range of snowboards to cater to different riding styles, skill levels, and preferences. Below I’ll cover the main snowboard types they produce and their most popular model for each type.
1. All-Mountain Snowboards
These versatile boards are designed for riders who enjoy exploring various terrains and conditions on the mountain. They’re made for anyone looking for one board to do everything and can be suitable for day-one riders up to advanced riders.
- Versatile for various terrains and conditions
- Suitable for riders of all skill levels
- Typically a good mix of stability and playfulness
- Keep in mind
- Not specialized for specific riding styles or conditions like park or powder
2. Freestyle Snowboards
Freestyle snowboards are built for riders who love the terrain park and want to spend most of their time there. They will be better for rails/boxes, jumps, and general jibbing than other boards out there but aren’t designed to spend much time outside the park.
- Excel in a freestyle setting
- Typically very playful
- Easy to ride switch on due to true twin shape (usually)
- Keep in mind
- Less stable at high speeds and in challenging conditions
- Not good for aggressive carving or powder
3. Freeride/Powder Snowboards
Freeride/powder snowboards cater to those who like to ride aggressively on gnarlier terrain and in powder. They generally float better in powder, have superior edge hold, and have better stability at high speeds than other types of boards, but they aren’t suitable for beginners.
- Great for ungroomed trails and powder riding
- Can stand up to more aggressive riding styles
- Keep in mind
- Not suitable for park riding and jibbing
- Not suitable for beginners
Splitboards are designed for backcountry enthusiasts and allow riders to access remote terrain. These boards can be split into two separate skis for uphill touring and reassembled as a snowboard for downhill riding.
- Allows access to remote backcountry terrain
- Enables uphill touring and downhill snowboarding
- Keep in mind
- Requires additional gear (skins, bindings, etc.) and investment
- Not suitable for anything other than backcountry
- Not suitable for beginners
Examples: Burton Hometown Hero Camber Split, Burton Flight Attendant Camber Split
By understanding the different types of Burton snowboards, you can make a more informed decision when selecting the right board to suit your individual riding style and preferences. Considering the benefits and downsides of each snowboard type will help you choose the best option to match your individual riding preferences, skill level, and the conditions you typically encounter on the mountain.
How to Choose the Right Burton Snowboard for You
Now that we’ve covered many of the important details concerning Burton snowboards, let’s put this information to work! Below are three examples of customers I’ve helped on Curated with their own specific needs and wants. Based on their preferences, I outline what sort of board technology they should look for and Burton boards that would be good for them based on this information.
Jack is an aggressive rider who wants to ride anything and everything in his path. He likes to venture off-piste and into powder when he can, lay down hard carves on groomers, and take park laps when no powder is found. He’s looking for a board to keep up with his riding style.
Features to look for:
- An all-mountain Burton board for maximum versatility
- A Burton board featuring a medium/stiff flex for stability when riding aggressively
- A Burton board featuring camber for enhanced edge hold
- A directional twin shape for better float through powder and decent switch performance
Jessica splits her time between long groomers, which she loves to carve down, and park, where she is learning the basics of sliding rails and hitting jumps. She wants one board that can do both well and especially let her advance her skills in the park.
Features to look for:
- An all-mountain or freestyle board from Burton that meets the criteria below
- A Burton board with a medium flex for a combination of stability and playfulness
- A Burton board featuring camber or hybrid camber for stability and pop
- A true twin or directional twin shape for good switch performance in the park
Nick is obsessed with powder and wants to make the most of it whenever his area gets a storm. Therefore, he wants the best possible board for powder and doesn’t care how it would do on other types of terrain, as he already has an all-mountain board.
Features to look for:
- A freeride/powder board from Burton that meets the criteria below
- A Burton board with a stiffer flex for stability at speed and in choppy terrain
- A Burton board featuring rocker in the nose for optimal powder float
- A directional shape for maximum float on top of fresh snow
Burton Boards to consider: Burton Pow Wrench, Burton Deep Thinker
Ideally, after reading this article, you’ve gotten a feel for Burton and some of the technology they bring to the table that makes them famous on the slopes. Burton is a great brand, and if you’re interested in their boards, they likely make one that would suit you well. Hopefully, this guide can act as a starting place for your research on Burton products; however, there is no need to take on this research process alone! That’s because here on Curated.com, you can work with a Snowboarding Expert like myself (for free) to determine the best board based on your needs and wants. It takes only a few minutes to connect with an Expert and start chatting, and there’s no obligation to purchase anything or any hidden fees! So, if you’re interested, you can get started here.