It’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means it’s prime time for snow sports. Recently, I caught up with Elysa Walk, senior vice president of international and Americas for Burton, the world’s leading snowboarding company. We talked about everything from that infamous Bernie Sanders meme (yes, he was wearing a Burton jacket with those mittens) to brand building, growing female ridership and the impact of gender balance on the company’s operations.
For those unfamiliar with the world of shredding and half pipes, Burton is the brand that helped propel the growth of snowboarding. The company was founded in a Vermont barn in 1977 by Jake Burton Carpenter, a pioneer of the sport, who passed away in 2019. Burton has grown into an outdoor lifestyle brand, global retailer and major sponsor of athletes and competitions. Women’s leadership is a key to its success. Now that snowboarding is part of the “establishment,” how does a brand like Burton keep its edge and maintain brand relevance?