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Burton Snowboards moves forward with gender-expansive products in its 2021 collection
The rapidly expanding global movement towards inclusion has been embraced by the snowboard industry. Brands and media companies have begun to realize the need to step up and embrace change. Burton Snowboards—no stranger to pushing things forward in snowboarding—has gone a step beyond talk by releasing an entire line of gender-neutral gear. Enter Mine77 and the Family Tree Collection.
“It’s 2020 and inclusivity is not only needed but shouldn’t feel forced,” says John ‘Tiggs’ Cartiglia, Senior Product Manager of Special Projects for Burton and Mine77. “I think it’s great that Mine is doing it—it’s a natural evolution of where Burton is as a progressive company, but our work is not done. We can always make it better towards the future—the second you become complacent is the second you’re not doing enough.”
First conceptualized by the late Jake Burton Carpenter, founder of Burton Snowboards, Mine77 was an incubator project for the pioneer when his wife, Donna Carpenter, encouraged him to ‘do his own thing’ and create something for himself. He started with a mantra: ‘The Mine is Ours.’
“What I take away from the mantra of Mine from my past conversations with Jake… it’s a collective effort, and for everyone,” Cartiglia shares. “Ideas, feedback, and criticism can come from anywhere and the product is for anyone who feels they want to put it on and wear it. It shouldn’t be gender-specific. Jake always wanted anyone, of any gender, to rock it if they think it’s cool.”
Creative Direction for Mine77 is now spearheaded by Timi Carpenter—one of the Carpenter’s three sons—who is pushing it forward with three to four limited drops a year since its debut in 2018. The latest release includes a recent collaboration with Tupac Shakur’s estate, producing a set of bindings, the Mine-Vita, and a board, All Eyez on Me, showcasing some of the late artist’s lyrics. Another highlight from this drop is a Merino-lite Reversible Insulator set in either desert camo or striking purple, which boasts an exceedingly cool ‘77’ embroidered baffling.
“Jake always wanted anyone, of any gender, to rock it if they think it’s cool.”
Longtime Burton team member and frequent Jackson Hole rider Danny Davis continues to be an integral part of research and development for Mine77. From roundtable feedback sessions to living and breathing the product at its core and intimate time spent riding and hanging with Jake, Davis has a deeper perspective on the line.
“With Mine77, Jake involved everyone,” says Davis. “He had women, he had men involved; his son Timi was being shot for campaigns… He wanted his friends to wear the collection—and Jake was friends with all walks of life. ‘If we make this and if you like it and fit into it, then awesome, wear it.’ Jake was making it for everyone.”
From a hardgoods perspective, the intention of making boards gender nonconforming is equally important for both Mine77 and the Family Tree collection. Davis’ opinion on gender with boards is both futuristic and fluid. He shares some of his inspirational foundation with Burton Field Testing Engineer and Product Developer, John ‘JG’ Gerndt, and says, “JG is the kind of guy who has always ridden women’s boards. He’s never seen a board as binary. The Family Tree boards are all shapes and work for people with different heights and weights.”
The spirit and attitude of the Family Tree collection have been identified with a nonbinary approach since its launch in 2013, yet the 2020/2021 quiver marks the first time it has been marketed without male or female labels. This year they are solely boards—boards that are ideal for Jackson Hole and the Tetons as they are specifically tooled for powder, freeriding, backcountry, and beyond, gender notwithstanding.
“For the first time in the 2021 Family Tree Collection, we completely removed gender,” shares Lesley Betts, a 13-year veteran at Burton who has put in her time as a Senior Product Line Merchandiser of Hardgoods.
Betts is integral in the arc of the progression of the Family Tree Collection, and it suffices to say, she knows her stuff. “Product doesn’t know what gender you are, product doesn’t know what gender you subscribe to, it has no idea what color your hair is—product only knows where you want to go and wants to be the tool to get you there,” she explains.
One of the ways the Family Tree Collection has achieved that this season is with its size offerings. All boards in the collection range from a 142 or 144, on the smaller scale, and all the way up to a 164 or 170, allowing for any body shape or size or height to find a board that fits.
Snowboarding will always be a beacon of freedom and personal expression. It feels right that brands like Burton continue to push snowboard culture forward to include all of humankind. Betts respectfully shares, “I feel honored to be working for a brand who is allowing us to take the wheel and experiment with chances on something like this. I’m very stoked Burton was ahead of the curve and not solely a reaction to what is happening in the world right now.”