Company Culture

Snowboard Giant Burton's Headquarters Are Big on Dogs, Gardening and Snow Days

When there's fresh powder on the ground, the snowboard-brand's team ditches the office and hits the slopes.
Snowboard Giant Burton's Headquarters Are Big on Dogs, Gardening and Snow Days
Image credit: Adam Friedberg
Magazine Contributor
Associate Editor
4 min read

This story appears in the November 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

There’s no shortage of passion at Burton’s Burlington, Vt., headquarters. The 41-year-old snowboard company employs a team of 360 who love the sport their work revolves around -- and when there’s two feet of fresh powder on the ground, the company closes for a snow day and encourages the staff to hit the slopes. The office doesn’t feel that far away from the mountain anyway: In addition to ski-lodge-like details that make for a cozy working space, HQ is packed with employees’ dogs, offers an expansive garden with individual plots for staffers and features impromptu happy hours in the great outdoors. 

Related: Evernote's Silicon Valley Headquarters Offer Company-Wide Collaboration (and Lego-Building Classes)

Megan Tracy / Receptionist

“We have a company ride day a few times a year, where we have a huge meeting and then go to Stowe Mountain afterward to snowboard. We also do random acts of ‘kegness’ -- after-hours events at the office where we get together with food and drinks when it’s nice outside, especially in the summertime.”

Ali Kenney / VP of global strategy and insights

“We started our organic garden about eight years ago, and about 10 percent of our employees have these nice little plots. There are sunflowers, tomatoes, vegetables, flowers. At lunch, you’ll see one person weed-whacking and another one mowing. It’s a unique way for people from all levels of the company to find some tranquility.”

Related: Rent the Runway's New Office Space Reminds Employees 'Everyone Deserves a Cinderella Experience'

Ashish Ahlawat Senior materials manager

“I’m responsible for the materials we use across all our products. We have our own prototyping center outside Shanghai, where we test new materials and designs to really stay ahead of the industry in terms of innovation. And at our small sampling room here in Vermont, we can make snowboards within 24 hours.” 

Erin Kennedy / HR business partner

“Candidates ask me on a daily basis what it’s like to work here. One of the best parts is that the work-life lines are pretty blurred. Burton employees are always together either hiking, riding or mountain biking -- we all live our lifestyle together.”

Cory Sweitzer / Video editor

“During the winter, I get to travel with our events crew for the Burton Qualifiers, a Rail Jam series across North America. We’ll fly to the event on a Thursday and fly back home Sunday, so it’s a 72-hour mini-­vacation, jam-packed with traveling, working and enjoying ourselves in between. We’re exhausted on Monday, but those are my favorite weekends.”

Chris Doyle / Innovative prototyping engineer

“I’ve been here for almost 23 years, and Jake Burton has always wanted his team to think of this place as an entrepreneurial setting. Each one of us is an entrepreneur in our own right, and you’re always trying to grow your own business and output, and grow the entire business as a result.”

Lesley Betts Senior product manager, hard goods 

“My absolute favorite thing about the office is that we are allowed to bring dogs. There are about 85 here every day. It really adds a lot of life and color to the building, and it’s a great way to feel better if you’re having a rough day. I think we’re at a 1-to-3 ratio of employees to dogs.”

Related: Inside Richard Branson's New Cruise-Line Startup

Fay Leuck / Product operations manager

“I work with both the hard goods [boards, helmets, boots] and the soft goods [clothes, outerwear] product teams, so I interact with everybody from designers to developers, as well as the finance and sales teams. We sit in an open-concept room, so if I ever have a question, it’s easy for us to gather together.” 

Click Image to Enlarge

Image Credit: Adam Friedberg

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