Into the White Room – Creating Snowboarding’s Next Evolution, Burton Step On™
Innovation has defined Burton since day one.
An idea is all it takes to get the next project rolling, and in the case of Burton Step On™, it came from some of the leading minds at Burton, including Jake Burton Carpenter himself.
“Over the years I stressed upon the hardgoods crew and the R&D team that we have to make product more convenient,” says Jake. “I had very high expectations. I did not want to make a product that represented a compromise.”
A strapless system that doesn’t compromise comfort or performance may sound like a tall order, but we knew it was attainable. We pulled together our best developers, and set them to work exclusively on this top-secret project. Three years later, Step On was born.
According to Rapid Prototyping Engineer and mad scientist, Chris Doyle, “We were told, 'You four are going to be pulled away from everything that you were doing. You’re gonna go into this area, and this is what you’re working on from now on.'”
They went into Craig’s and built a whole new room specific to Step On development. It’s called the White Room, and once they entered it, nothing took a higher priority than developing the system that would soon become known as snowboarding’s next evolution.
“We locked the door and there we were, just four of us staring at each other,” says Doyle. “All it said up on the whiteboard was two things: comfort and convenience. We all agreed, we want to make something that we want to ride. We want to make something that Terje wants to ride!”
Ideas spanned the spectrum. If you can think it, they tried it. Magnets, screws, adhesives – literally thousands of ideas were on the table. Multiple concepts were being pulled into prototypes at the same time. The idea of a three-point connection system finally revealed itself as the ideal design because it delivered the closest feeling to a traditional binding, while also passing all of the rigorous strength and performance tests both on snow and in the R&D lab.
We want to make something that Terje wants to ride!
It wouldn’t have been possible without Craig’s Prototype Facility in Burlington, VT. Here, instead of waiting for prototypes to come from a factory far away, we’re able to produce multiple iterations of one in a single hour, and get them on snow that same day.
Every concern was met with a solution, and every model tested under the absolute worst conditions. Burton CEO, Donna Carpenter, recalls her amazement when she finally tried them on snow.
“The first time I tried it on snow was in Chile,” she explains. “The snow wasn’t great – it was hard pack and it was very steep, and I thought, “okay, I’m going to be the one to bust out of these things. All of a sudden I’m riding like, oh my gosh, it feels just like a strap binding.”
We knew that the R&D process was complete when we put Step On in front of world champion and snowboard legend, Terje Haakonsen. You can’t make Terje ride something he doesn’t like. He simply won’t ride it. He tried Step On on a carpet in Craig’s, and seemed interested. He was then seen sporting them at the Riksgransen King of the Hill event, and then again at the Step On launch event at Vail, Colorado. Terje was sold. In our eyes, that meant the process was complete. Step On was finally here, and backed by some of the best riders in the world.
Three years in the making, Step On delivers unprecedented convenience, comfort and performance. Experience it yourself by visiting one of Burton’s Official test centers, or by purchasing a pair of your own from an Authorized Step On Retailer .