The Burton Blog

20 Years in the Making – Burton [ak] Just got a Refresh

Based on feedback from riders, our top-tier Burton [ak] line is getting a total refresh.

When choosing your outerwear, what are you searching for? From what we hear, it's something long-lasting, durable, and proven to charge as hard as you do. Most of all, you want gear you don't have to think about – it just performs as well as you do. Enter the Burton [ak] line.

For 20 years, [ak] has been the final word in technical and high-performance backcountry snowboarding gear. It's our team rider’s first choice for heading into the backcountry, undertaking a big line or objective, charging hard on epic powder days, optimizing storm days, and, thanks to the total versatility of the [ak] line, it’s also their everyday resort riding kit. Why wouldn’t you choose the best? In the words of Burton team rider Danny Davis, “[ak] makes tough conditions easier.”

[ak] makes tough conditions easier.
– Danny Davis
Terje blasting an air in Japan
Terje Haakonsen reaches for the sky.
Yuka hiking in Japan
Yuka Fujimori stays dry on deep days.

We want to keep it this way, so recently we took a step back to look at the whole [ak] line with an eye for a refresh. We listened to our rider’s feedback, including Kimmy Fasani, Terje Haakonsen, Yuka Fujimori and Danny Davis. We also incorporated decades of your feedback and reviewed 20 years’ worth of warranty data (Did you know that Burton outerwear is protected by a limited lifetime warranty?). We committed to heavy research with a goal of updating the [ak] line with the most current technology, from seams and zippers, to new fabrics, materials and features. Countless hours of punishing R&D, on-snow testing and even more rider feedback followed.

In the end, we found opportunities for improvement in increased durability, added mobility (including fit!) and with a huge dump of new features. All combined to take our highest performing [ak] outerwear line to an even higher level. The result speaks to everything you need on-snow, from comfort to tech and beyond. After all, your gear should be the last of your worries on the mountain.

Durability Updates

The majority of our durability updates came from insights from past warranty issues. If you've brought in a jacket for repair or return, we've made note of the reasons why and poured over that data. Improvements were made, starting with the zippers. The new Burton [ak] zippers are eight-times stronger than previous versions. We built a medieval zipper testing machine that put these new zippers through the paces, testing the durability of the teeth and wear encountered during regular repeated use. Rest assured, these zippers won't let you down.

Back to the drawing board.
Notes from our product team.
Jeff Yeager working on the [ak] collection.
Jeff Yeager, Burton softgoods developer, gets hands-on with the zippers.

We saw a pattern of wear in places where the board edge came into contact with outerwear, and found a solution in calculated placement of 200 Denier side panels. We tested these with another custom-made machine, this time for board wear. We asked: “How will this jacket stand up to a board edge? Is this the best place for this seam?” Results: solid seams and ideal seam placement, so your gear is the least of your worries on the mountain.

Additional durability updates include rejigging the stitches per inch for added strength, and triple-needle stitching to prevent seam blowouts. These improvements are all thanks to your warranty samples, great team and customer feedback, and a hell of a lot of product testing.

Up-close shot of Burton [ak] Upshift Jacket
Burton [ak] Upshift Jacket: stylish design and timeless construction.
Up-close shot of Burton [ak] BK  Down Insulator
The Burton [ak] BK Down Insulator stays toasty no matter where you are.
Up-close shot of Burton [ak] Swash Jacket
The Burton [ak] Swash Jacket keeps you dry and comfortable in the white room.

Adding More Mobility

Thanks to your feedback, we saw more opportunities for improvement in fit and mobility. We asked: “Does this jacket lift when you raise your arms or when you reach down to strap in?” The answer is the addition of an underarm gusset (paired with new waterproof ergonomic pit zips) to prevent hem lift. Additionally, we added a crotch gusset (plus Testicool zippered venting) for improved fit and durability. Shout out to all the riders who’ve blown out their crotch seams in the past—we’ve got you covered!

Rider round table meeting
Rider roundtable meetings are where gear improvements are born.

A major new update in hood pattern was introduced to improve the fit over helmets. This was a full overhaul that started with a pattern modeled after a helmeted head. The overall length of the hood was also increased to ensure it stays put no matter where you're looking. You’re going to love this new, roomy fit. We also updated and improved articulation on all pants and jackets and standardized fit across the [ak] line.

All The New Features

Throughout the year we hear from our team riders with feedback that inevitably includes a wish list of features they’ve identified to improve their days in the backcountry. We combined this list with standouts from an exhaustive survey of features available across the industry. The result is a slew of new features incorporated into the [ak] line, making this our heftiest update ever.

It was a no brainer to incorporate Living Lining® into the [ak] line for automatic climate control and consistent comfort whether it’s hot or cold. We also added a new Therma Pocket made of lining material and insulation that helps to keep your devices warm. We tested it extensively, and found it significantly increases battery life in cold environments, so you won't have to call it quits to find a charger. We designed new internal wrist gaiters in [ak] jackets to keep snow out, while not inhibiting movement. The wrist gaiter is a material that we call “power mesh,” it’s durable, breathable and low profile enough to slide right into a glove.

You asked for an even bigger dump pocket and we delivered. [ak] jackets now feature a pocket big enough for goggles, snacks, climbing skins, avalanche science gear…whatever you need to quickly access on the go.

We could go on—additional feature updates include:

  • Recco rescue devices in the hood brim of [ak] 3L
  • Cohesive cord locks in all jackets
  • Sleeve pocket on all jackets
  • Reflective logos

These updates have been tested and approved by the Burton team. Big mountain riding demands gear you can rely on, unconditionally. Our [ak] line is fully revamped and ready. Let’s see what you’ve got.