Burton Snowboards has announced the impending closing of their Vermont snowboard manufacturing plant. From the Burlington Free Press:
“The environment here is not very manufacturing-friendly… a board costs more to make than you than you sell it for,” Burton CEO Laurent Potdevin said Tuesday. Burton will keep its global headquarters in Burlington.
Specifically, the CEO said, labor costs, real estate and utility expenses made it difficult to turn a profit with boards made in Vermont. Health care benefits are among the factors making manufacturing here expensive, he said. It costs “significantly less” to manufacture in Austria, where Burton has made boards for more than 25 years, he said.
I won’t even go into the “health care benefits” issue, being that Austria has tax-funded universal health care, and the health care debate is currently raging, and the main difference between health care in the U.S and health care in Austria is profit, and..oh, wait, I said I’d not go there.
Burton already makes most of their snowboards in Austria and China, but it’s sad that a company that once made all their boards in Vermont is totally pulling the plug on U.S. board manufacturing.
My second snowboard was a Burton. As was my third. And my fourth. But my fifth, a splitboard, was made by Voile in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. And my next snowboard purchase will likely be handcrafted by a backcountry-loving dude in Silverton, Colorado, USA.
Oh, and if any soon-to-be-laid-off Burton employees are looking to move out West, Voile and Venture are hiring:
Ski and snowboard production workers Looking for anyone with experience working with a combination of wood, fiberglass, and composite materials. Ski and snowboard building includes wet lay-up of wood, fiberglass, and composite materials. Hand bending and fitting of steel edge material. Router cut-out of plastic base material. Band saw cut-out and machine sanding and grinding of skis and snowboards. Email your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 801-973-8622.
PRODUCTION TECHNICIAN Full time seasonal worker needed to assist with all phases of the production process at our Silverton, Colorado factory from April through October. No experience necessary but a positive attitude, strong work ethic and passion for snowsliding are a must. For a complete job description and application email email@example.com.
Here’s a little old school Jeff Brushie to cheer you up: