Bonus gallery above. Click “next” to scroll through the photos. Main photos below.
All Photos: Laura Austin
Morning Ride at Stowe With Jake
Words: Laura Austin
I lived in Stowe, Vermont for 6 years, ridden well over 100 days at that mountain, but none were as memorable as the day I was given the opportunity to ride with one of the creators of this “sport” that now consumes my life. On January 13th Burton invited a lucky few in the snowboard media to ride at Stowe Mountain Resort with Jake Burton Carpenter before the opening ceremony of the Craig Kelly Proto Facility. Unfortunately for most, but luckily for a few, a snow storm had hit the night before, preventing some from flying in in time to catch the morning ride. But for Pat Bridges, Dean Seguin (the editor of Snowboard Canada), Anne-Marie Dacyshyn (Global PR Director for Burton), Jake and I it meant powder. Deep, fresh, white, powder. And what better tour guide to have at Stowe than Jake?
A few runs on Spruce, a few runs on Mansfield, and the last run down the Bruce Trail to finish the day off. Stowe locals might know of the Bruce, but it is an out-of-bounds run that takes you halfway down the access road to the mountain. Meaning one very long, barely tracked tree run for our riding pleasure. Personally, that was one of the best runs I have had at Stowe. There are very few feelings that beat launching off natural features into powder, and this run was full of them. But you can’t go downhill forever. By the end there were some flats we had to hammer through in order to get out. Jake came prepared with poles, and we had no choice to get a bit of an upper body workout. A small price to pay for the amazing run before it. We ended the morning of riding with a few drinks at Jake’s cabin located conveniently located at the end of the Bruce Trail and a lunch back at his house. A day for the history books. Next stop, back to Burlington for the tour of the new Craig Kelly Proto Facility at the Burton Headquarters.
Craig Kelly Proto Facility
Words: Pat Bridges
“Nothing beats snowboarding at a mountain that offers the right lines. Whether it’s hopping rocks, jumping cliffs, board-sliding the nearest strip of metal or wood, simply carving a nice bank or popping an air over a small knoll, freeriding is where it’s at. Whenever the conditions allow, my snowboarding objective is to use the mountain to its fullest potential.” –Craig Kelly
The endeavor Craig speaks of in these words not only dictated his drive for onsnow progression on a grand scale but it bled into the peripheral aspects of his duties as a pro snowboarder. The same passion Craig applied to finding the perfect line was apparent in his role in helping to produce the perfect riding products. The fruits of this side of Craig Kelly, the icon, are felt in the carve of a quadratic sidecut, the practicality of the 3D hole pattern and the freestyle sensibilities of, well, freestyle specific highbacks. In the 80’s for snowboarding to be taken seriously, we needed serious products capable of being utilized to their fullest by serious riders. Enter Craig Kelly the world champion and his signature Mystery Air, the pairing of which broke down resort barriers at a record pace and changed the face of the ski industry in the process.
Now, 8 years after Craig’s passing Burton Snowboards continues to grow their commitment to rider driven products, an initiative which above all other reasons prompted Craig to begin the relationship in 1989, with the opening of the Craig Kelly Proto Facility. Located adjacent to the Burton headquarters in So. Burlington, VT. This state of the art R&D lab includes all of the tooling and machinery to take virtually any board or binding from concept to rideable prototype in less than 24 hours. This includes everything from cores and sidecuts, to highbacks and heelcups. Even graphical tangents can be exploited within this space as high tech screening machines and laser printers spew forth the latest work ups.
There is no telling what sort of creations Craig could conjure were he to have had a facility like this at his disposal back in the day, yet without his talent and vision one could safely surmise that Burton and in turn snowboarding would be much different.