Company founder and chairman, Jake Burton was on hand to present the new astronaut-style uniforms with Burton team riders Danny Davis, Chloe Kim, Kelly Clark, Ben Ferguson and designer, Greg Dacyshyn.
“I don’t think it was something anyone cared too much about at the time. All of a sudden, we found out that ISF, in its infinite wisdom, had decided to put snowboarding in the Olympics,” Burton, 63, said about snowboarding's debut in the Olympics in Japan in 1998. “It caught everybody off guard.
“For a minute, it turned our sport upside down because riders that had sort of taken a different angle thought ‘Wow, I should compete again because this is a huge opportunity.’ And it was a transition. The first Olympics in Nagano were rough. And they spelled the names wrong, but then it got better and better. Despite adverse conditions venue-wise, they’ve really done an incredible job. It’s not as divisive as it was and people are backing it. It’s terrific.”
Dacyshyn has been with Burton for 20 years, most recently as Chief Creative Officer. He stepped down from that role last March, to start his own agency called Camp High, but will continue to set the direction for Burton’s creative and marketing. He has done four Olympic uniforms for Burton.
Where past uniforms have been flannel and plaid themed, the new white and silver are NASA influenced. All the pieces are unisex. The competition jacket and pant are of a liquid metal look made with an exclusive iridescent silver fabric coated in fine aluminum.
The additional one-piece and village down jacket, are both bright white non-woven Dyneema, the world’s strongest fiber known for its lightness, breathability and waterproof properties.
The competition jacket, sure to get a lot of attention, features hand-drawn patches depicting the American flag and “USA” reminiscent of the space program.
The artwork sewn into the interior lining includes translations for common phrases in Korean.
“The problem is that ‘uniform’ isn’t a big word in snowboarding. You don’t really see it much. Nationalism isn’t a huge part of snowboarding. So that was a transition. But everybody realized that for five days, every four years, that’s the deal. And if you really want that kind of exposure, which snowboarding deserves, that the athletes want and we all want, that’s sort of how the game goes. So we got involved. We started to make uniforms and Greg made like a Yankee uniform, just to piss me off,” joked Burton.
The PyeongChang games will take place Feb. 9-25 at Bokwang Phoenix Park, including Halfpipe, Parallel Giant Slalom, Big Air, Slopestyle and Snowboard Cross.
All of the riders in attendance at the unveiling are Burton riders who are looking to qualify for the winter games. The qualifying events are the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix series that include Copper Grand Prix, Dec. 7-9, Aspen Grand Prix, Jan. 10-13 and 2018 Mammoth Grand Prix Jan. 17-20.
Long-time Burton team rider, Shaun White and Kelly Clark took the wins at the Mammoth earlier this year. White, who was not at the unveiling has struggled through several injuries of late. The U.S. Men’s Slopestyle Team at the 2014 Olympics in Park City consisted of Sage Kotsenburg, Chas Guldemond, and Shaun White. The Halfpipe Team was Greg Bretz, Taylor Gold, Shaun White and Danny Davis.
“I really like the new puffy once piece,” Davis told GrindTV on Wednesday night. “When Greg showed it to us last December, it seemed super durable, technical, doesn't rip super easily and its really packable.
“In the past, we’ve had some material that’s not as technical, like corduroy isn’t something you want to wear out in the elements. This time, they made a bunch of layering pieces. You just wear your choice of insulation underneath.”
The 2014 U.S. Women’s Slopestyle Team was made up of Jamie Anderson and Ty Walker. In the Halfpipe, it was Hannah Teeter, Arielle Gold, Kaitlyn Farrington and Clark.
“The silhouettes and the material is going to be closest to an AK, and that’s the most technical outerwear that we make,” said Kelly Clark, who has one gold and three bronze Olympic medals, who is also hoping to qualify for her fifth Olympics. “I love knowing that we’re wearing the highest quality as well as an awesome creative statement piece that reminds you that you’re an American.”
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