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Thursday, November 15, 2012
Jake Burton 'Stone Hut' board out now

Jake Burton at Burton's Vermont facility, where all 100 boards were produced.

Burton has been around for well over three decades, but one pro model in particular has always been missing from their line: a board from founder Jake Burton. Now, with the release of a limited, 100-unit run of "Stone Hut" decks, Burton has added his signature to what promises to become a cult-classic design.

One look at the Stone Hut -- named after the warming hut and overnight lodge at the top of Burton's home mountain, Stowe -- tells you this board is built for making the most of all terrain and snow types. Inspired by the varied conditions most riders face on an everyday trip to the hill, Burton took the freestyle-friendly maneuverability of his brand's Nug shortboards and added a decidedly powder-friendly nose.

"Around here, especially, the powder is in the trees, so you don't want to submerge at all, and you want to be able to turn quick," says Burton. "The Stone Hut rides like a true twin all the time on hardpack snow, but when you get into powder it becomes a little bit more of an asymmetrical powder deck with a nice big nose. I think this board blends it all."

The goal of creating a shape that's able to rip a mountain top to bottom -- running the halfpipe, park and groomers, then dipping off the trails to a secret stash -- is something that Burton says "a lot of people are chasing." While Burton's preferred size, a 150 cm, will likely please East Coast riders, he also added a 155 cm length for the bigger mountains and terrain of the West Coast and Europe.

With such a long history with the Burton brand, and his own standout performance as a rider, we had to ask why a signature board hadn't happened before.

Jake Burton enjoying the perks of the job at Baldface Lodge, British Columbia.

"I just felt that the boards were more about the team, and while I had a lot of involvement with every board, I didn't want to call one out in particular," says Burton. For the Stone Hut, "I had been thinking about this shape and I think that was part of it, so when the board-design guys approached me this year with the idea of doing a real limited-quantity release, it all came together at the right time."

The limited run meant that Burton had the chance to produce all 100 boards in Vermont at the Craig's facility.

"I'm a big fan of straight production boards," says Burton, "but to have this board built by a few guys over there that I know really well, in a facility named after Craig Kelly, who put us on the map -- it all just felt really cool for the board."

The board, which features a suitably tripped-out Jimi Hendrix graphic, also comes with a kit that contains essentials that Burton wanted included, among which a Sharpie figures big time. With a few quick strokes, says Burton, riders can outline their normal stance, giving them the confidence to slide their stance back on a powder day. It's a simple change-up that Burton heartily advocates, saying, "You can literally change a snowboard into a crazy powder machine."

Will the deck live on beyond this one release? Burton is uncertain about what the future holds for the Stone Hut, suggesting that it could get folded into the brand's larger line of boards. "I'd love it if that shape survives," says Burton. "I haven't gotten on anything else that suits me more."

A deciding factor will be feedback from riders, something Burton is both eagerly and anxiously awaiting.

"I think a lot of collectors will buy them," says Burton, "but really, I'd like them to get ridden."