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SBD Global/February 13, 2014/Olympics

Burton Says Olympics Provides Key Exposure For Healthy Snowboarding Industry

Good snow on the East Coast has offset a bad winter on the West Coast, helping Burton Snowboards to increase snowboard and apparel sales this year, Founder & CEO Jake Burton said prior to Tuesday night’s halfpipe competition at the Sochi Games. News reports two years ago suggested the sport had peaked in popularity and used data showing the decline in snowboarding participation over the last decade. But Burton said that was “bullshit.” “The sport is healthy, and the business is doing great, but it’s not as easy as it used to be,” he said. “We’re impacted more than ever by weather and the economy.” The European economy has been particularly problematic for Burton’s company. Youth unemployment in some European countries is 50%, and that has been a challenge for snowboarding’s business. "Snowboarders are young,” he said. “They’re punished by the economy.” Snowboarding is participating in its fifth Olympic Games, and Burton Snowboards outfitted the U.S. and Finnish snowboard teams and sponsored more than 25 snowboarders participating in the Games. Burton said the Olympics usually provide a small boost to the company’s e-commerce business and retailers. But the real upside is the exposure it provides to future participants. “The Olympics lights up kids and all kinds of people,” Burton said. “If they were thinking about snowboarding, this might push them over the ledge.”
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Olympics, Russia

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