I love Burlington, Vermont. From my college days following Phish to the most recent Heady Topper to hit my lips, this place holds a special place in my heart thanks to all the great people, places, food and beer I’ve met while raging the Queen City. There are several great companies and manufacturers based in Vermont, but the most well known throughout the world is Burton Snowboards.
I stopped into Craig’s Place at the Burton Headquarters to say hi to some friends, so I got the grand tour and snapped some pics. Craig’s is Burton’s 10,000 sq. ft. building that serves as their prototype factory, testing grounds, and museum. It isn’t where all Burton boards are manufactured, just where they are created and eventually archived. It’s a research and development facility where they also have a sick collection of all their old boards, molds, ads, and complete Burton archive spanning from 1977 through today.
We were toured around by my man Zack, who is an expert of all things Burton. It is incredible to see the entire process that goes into making a custom board for any of their team riders. What’s really nuts is that if a Burton Pro is coming to Vermont, they can have a new board completed and on the mountain within three hours!
The story of Craig’s goes as follows: In the late 1980’s Craig Kelly was one of the premier snowboarders in the world and Burton wanted him on their team. The only problem was that by the time 1989 came around and Burton had produced a signature board for Craig, he was still riding for SIMS. Burton decided to call this board the “Mystery Air”, and began shipping it in a wooden crate labeled “Top Secret”.
Craig Kelly went on to become one of Burton’s most successful riders, winning multiple World Championships and U.S. Open titles. He later became a pioneer of freeriding and snowboard films, until his life was tragically cut short by an avalanche in 2003.
Burton chose to honor Craig Kelly by naming this amazing space “Craig’s Place”. The next time you are planning to be in Vermont make sure you call Burton to schedule a tour of the facility and check out how the real pros get it done.
Burton is definitely the pioneer of modern snowboarding and they have preserved and chronicled all their sketches, prototypes, innovations, ads and gear for all of us…so go and enjoy it.