Interview with Dave Downing on Burton's new splitboards and family snowboards
Dave Downing.Famous as a nice guy that everyone knows well, he is an all-round snowboarder and is currently involved in product development.I was able to hear more about Burton's new splitboards and family snowboards from Dave Downing, who came to Japan this time.
Please introduce yourself and explain your role at Burton Snowboards
First of all, please tell us about yourself and what you are involved in at Burton Snowboards.
I'm Dave Downing and I'm 46 years old. I have been snowboarding since 1990, and since I stop being a professional snowboarder, the last 3 or 4 years I have been involved with Burton in a lot of different roles, sales and marketing, I do lot of a grass roots marketing. I work with retailers in North America. Yeah All North America. Including Canada. Mainly like snowboard specific stores.
Dave Downing, 46 years old. I've been in charge of Burton Snowboards and Grassroots Marketing and Sales Marketing for the last three to four years since I met Snowboards in 1990 and left the pros.Most of the time I work with American retailers.All over North America.Including Canada.I wonder if there are many shops specializing in snowboarding.
Retail Marketing. And Grass Roots marketing. And Split board yea, I still involved with product development too. But I mostly with Marketing stuff like grass roots marketing, events, I work with closely work with lot of reps in United States. But uh with split boarding, it's something that I like to do. And uh I have been involved lot of product. Yeah, that's about it.
It's retail marketing.And grass roots marketing.Yes, and split board.I'm still involved in product development.But most of them are marketing, events, etc.I'm working with an American salesman.And I like splitboarding.So it has a lot to do with the product.
I guess you are pretty busy, aren't you?
So that's it.So you're pretty busy, right?
Yeah busy. I work with Channel Island too in the Summer and spring, I do a lot of marketing with Channel Island, and winters are snowboarding marketing.
Oh, I'm busy.I also work for Channel Islands in the spring and summer, I'm also in charge of marketing Channel Islands, and in winter I'm marketing snowboards.
My schedule are crazy you know, but I try surf everyday.
It's a crazy schedule, but I try to surf every day.
How much are you riding these days?
How often have you been slipping in the last few years?
I would say… Let's see It's January and I probably ridden about 20 days so far this year. Last year I probably rode 45days to 60days maybe?
Lot of my snowboarding is done with retailers. Snowboard retailers like .. You know you guys saw. Lot of my times doing that, I don't spend much time snowboarding by my self, but I ride with my family. So either I ride with my retailers or with my family.
That's right.It's January now, so maybe 1th this year?Maybe 20 to 45 days last year?Most of the skiing days are with the shop people.Like the people at the snowboard shop here (exhibition).It's almost like that. I don't think I'm going to slip alone, but I'm going to slip with my family.That's why I wonder if it's a business partner or a slip with my family.
Where are you normally riding?
Where and with whom do you usually skate?
Nowadays I don't have a normal place but, either like Big Bear or Mammoth in California, Like if I go with my family, Big Bear. My kids love to go there, but un I ride there a lot. I have been riding And I really like Lake Tahoe, but it hasn't been that good last few years. And the rest of my times I have been traveling Utah, Colorado, Canada, riding with my people, but I would say my local is Big Bear.
I don't have a fixed place lately, but maybe it's a big bear in California or a mammoth.When I go out with my family, I'm a big bear.I love my sons.But I wonder if I often slip there too.I've been skating there for the last 24 years.The season pass is also 24 years in a row.
Lake Tahoe is also the best.But these days it's not in such a good condition.After that, I went to Utah, Colorado, Canada and skated with my friends.But Local Mountain is a big bear.
And I have two boys 10-year old and 9-year old. And Sharon, my wife we ride together.
My child has two sons, 10 and 9 years old.It is my wife Shannon who slides with it.
Do they love snowboarding?
Do your sons love snowboarding?
Yup, and surfing too. I skateboard a little bit. Yeah. My kids skateboarding little bit.
Oh, I also surf.Just a little skating.Oh, my sons skate a little too.
Who is the most talented snowboarder you had ridden with?
Who was the best rider you've ever skated with?
Oh Terje for sure. Without the doubt. On the snow, he is the best snowboarder ever.
It's a terrier, Zettai.definitely.On the snow, he's the best snowboarder.
Un, I probably met Terje 96 maybe? Yeah he was pretty young, yeah.
I rode with him last year in Tahoe. Actually in his Burton movie last year, I helped him get all those shots, I guided him in Tahoe. And those are all shots I read it. all of it from those three days.
Did you first meet Terrier in 96?Oh, I was still young.
You had a session with him in Tahoe last year.Actually, I helped him shoot the Burton movie last year.Guided Tahoe, all his shots are where I took him. I had only 3 days, but I was able to leave all the shots for 3 days.
Where was the favorite location to ride in Japan?
Do you have a favorite place to ski in Japan?
Yeah, I would say either like Tenjin or Seki Onsen. I like down here more than Hokkaido.
It's less crowded I think, maybe? Seems like Hokkaido get more tracked out. And more of the crazy scene. And down here, nobody. So I like that.
Tenjin or Seki Onsen?That's right.It's better than Hokkaido.It feels like it's not so crowded, right?Hokkaido will soon be full of trucks.And it's even more crazy.But there is no one here.That's why I like it.
Are you developing & testing Burton split snowboard?
Do you think you are developing and testing Burton's split board?
Yeah and another boards too. I mean the split boards, shapes come out from regular line. Yeah, like Family Tree. I still work pretty close to work with JG, and uh, he is the main guy for Burton Hardgoods, and I have a good relation ship with him. We actually developing couple split boards in Family Tree line, but yeah that's mainly what I do.
Well, I also help with other boards.The shape of the split board is based on other lineups.Yes, like a family tree.I'm also deeply involved with JG, who is the main person in charge of developing Burton's hard goods.I have a good relationship with him.In fact, I'm developing a family tree split board with him.Yeah, it's mostly like that.
Please explain new features of 2014-15 split board.
What are some of the features of the 2014-15 model split board?
So the new Channel System. That's the Biggest newest thing we have. And also like the collaboration with Spark R & D. So That's the binding and split board has the channel links comes with the pucks, and it's just a incredible system, very easy to set. up, cuz that was always really hard with the Voile puck and inserts and it's almost like a puzzle to get the right. My stance never be the exactly what I wanted.
And this, you just un-screw and you get anything you want. It's better to get change, and for me, personally, to get the stance dialed on splitboard. I think for the industry it's huge because you able to demo these boards to people.
Because before, once you set it up to goofy foot, you can't really change to regular foot that easily, but this system takes like a minute. You can just Shoot shoot! Change it you know. Lot of shops in the States are It's something for spilt board you don't know if you gonna like it. But if shop can demo it, and let people try it first. It's huge ..
It's a new channel system on the split board, but it's a completely new thing.And by collaborating with Spark R & D, I was able to connect the board and binding with a channel link.It's the best system.It's easy to set up.The volley system is like a puzzle, and it's really difficult to match it perfectly, so I couldn't set my ideal stance.
But in this case, if you loosen the screw, you can get the stance you want.It's good to evolve, and for me it's nice to be able to perfectly match my stance with a split board.It's really big for the snowboarding industry because you can have a lot of people test drive the splitboard.
Previously, once set up in goofy stance, it was difficult to change to regular stance.But with this system, it takes less than a minute.Shu!Shu!Can be changed.Many shops will be available for test drive in the US, and split rentals are also available.More people will enjoy this sport.Even if you don't care about the split board, you can try it if you can test drive it at the shop.It's the best.
How easy is it?
Super easy. I can show you later.
It's great I mean. If you are riding split board in powder, you can't feel the difference. I can't you know. And that's the only time that I'm riding the split board. And what I really like a bout. split board is once you going up on you board, you coming down on the same thing. You don't have to carry a board. It's incredibly easy hike to hike and walk around.
Some days I don't even take runs, I just skin around take one run and. But I just like walking around in the back country make it so easy to do that you know. Cuz you don't have to pick your feet up , you just sheww sheww.
It's that easy.I'll show you later.
It's easy and it's really great, pretty.If it's powder, I can't really feel the feeling of riding a split board.I didn't understand.Besides, only powder can ride on the split board.Also, the nice thing about split boards is that you can climb on that board and slide down on the same board.You don't have to carry a board, and it's incredibly easy to hike and move around.
Sometimes I don't even slip.Just skin up (hike up) and slip only one.I just love to hike in the backcountry.You don't have to raise your legs high, it feels like a shoe or a shoe.
And this binding is incredible. The is no more removable pin you know. It has a internal pin system in it. Yeah, I can show later. It's super easy to use. And the performances are really stiff tray so that's where you getting a lot of integrity on the board, is the threw this binding system.
Last year was my first year riding the system. Just change the system you know. I can show you the video. I mean it's a riding video, uh I can fin it and forward it to you. You can put it on your web site But It's a video of my self, on like a Gopro you know, and uh, It's just me going out putting it together take a run, going up taking a run putting them back together then. It's a simple video. About 5 minutes, but It's shows you what we can do. That's what it is.
And this binding is pretty good.The pin I had to remove is gone, it's built into it.I'll show you later.It's very easy to use.Thanks to the solid base of performance, the degree of perfection for the board is extremely high.
I tried using this system for the first time last year.I just changed the system.I also took a video so I'll show it later.It's a riding video, but I'll email you later.Well, it was a video of myself, and I shot it with GoPro.It's just a simple video that I set up, slipped, hiked up and back up again. It's about 5 minutes, but it's a video showing how to use it.
Click here for Dave Downing's split board movie
By using split board, Did you feel new possibility of backcountry snowboarding?
If so, what is it?
Did you feel the new possibilities of backcountry snowboarding by using splitboards?
I mean, when I first started riding a split board was probably 96 and, yeah and it just opened everything up. I was living in Utah at that time, and it just allowed me spend a whole day in a backcountry. Hiking around without getting tired. So just changed everything really. And before I used to live near Brighton and I do this hike and maybe I get two runs a day, and slpitboard I get like 8. And I wasn't tired. So It changed a lot.
And uh I forget but probably it was 96 or 97 when develop the first Burton Split Boards, you know. It's a yellow and red one, remember that? It was the first, and I was filming the, it was TB 9 video part in And I did that because to show to people this is what you can do on a split board.
You know, but it's uh, split board is a great thing for people ride more powder and they wanna have a very like a mellow experience in a backcountry. Very easy, with couple of friends, skin up with them, ride down, skin back up, ride down. It's a good day. Riding powder. Like low stress you know. That's what I like about it.
That's right.I think it was 96 when I first got on the split board.Yes, that really expanded the world.At that time I lived in Utah and skated backcountry all day thanks to the split board.You can hike up without getting tired.Everything has changed.
Previously, when I lived in Brighton, I could hike two a day and it would be over, but with a split board I could slip eight.Tireless of it.That's why there were many things that changed.I don't remember well, but maybe it was 2 or 8, when I first developed Burton's split board.Do you remember the yellow and red ones?That's the first board.That's why I shot TB96.All the parts of the movie were shot on a split board.Because more people can do this with a split board!I wanted you to know.
Anyway, splitboards are perfect for those who want a backcountry mellow experience and the best powder.It's easy.Skin up (hike up), slip, climb again, slip with your friends.It's the best day.Powder riding.There is no stress.That's why I like it.
Yeah it's really good, and in Japan it's seems like really good you know. Because on the split board you don't really need to go ride really gnarly terrain. It can be just trees, Skin up, ride trees down. That's the best part.
I think it's really good.I think it's perfect for Japan.Because it's a split board, you don't have to slide in extreme places.Just slide the tree, skin up, and slide the tree again.That's the best.
Like early 90's, many young people starts snowboarding, and now some of them have their own family.
It means there are new snowboarding scenes and lifestyles have been born. What are you thinking about family snowboarding?
In the early 90's many young people started snowboarding.And now that generation has a home.I think this means that a new snowboarding scene and lifestyle has been born. What do you think about family snowboarding?
It's a good question. I think about a lot. You know a lot of friends of mine, or people in 90S who were getting into a snowboarding, like when they were 18 or 19 years old whatever, you know it was a big snowboarding boom And then now 2014, and those people might be 35 years old and they have a job and kid now. Maybe they don't even snowboard that much, cuz thay have other responsibilities in life. And they are not gonna like leave the family and go snowboarding by them selves.
But I'm trying to encourage people to bring your family to snowboarding because it's a best experience I have ever had, riding with my kids, like helping them learning snowboard and falling love with them. Like first two years were very hard, like they. take like one run and go like “oh my hands are cold! I wanna go into the lodge!” But now they are old enough and are riding. Like Shannon and I go up, get off chair lift and buckle them self and take off We just follow them. It's the best experience ever. So we can try to encourage that and help promote that by showing people that.
We had done a couple of things on burton.com. Last year, um Jeremy Jones family, they snowboard and they have two kids. We did photo shoot at North Star, and my family and Jeremy's family we all snowboarding having a good time. That's what I think we need. Cuz peole that learned in the 90s, snowboarding is still the passion and the love if they know how to do it with their family. Cuz they are still snowboarders, even though 35 years old. I'm 46 And I'm gonna be a snowboarder for ever. And hopefully I'm gonna be able to teach my grand kids how to snowboard, and have a good time with my grand kids.
That's a good question.I'm always thinking about it.Like most of my friends, people who were addicted to snowboarding when they were 90 or 18 in the 19's.You see, the era of the snowboard boom.It's 2014 now.They are 35 years old, have children, and work.Maybe I don't even snowboard so much.I also have other responsibilities.Besides, they don't leave their families at home and go skiing alone.
But I want to spread my family to snowboard, because I have the best experience.Slip with your sons, teach them how to skate, and get hooked on it.The first two years were tough.I slipped one and said, "My hands are getting cold! Let's take a break!"But the two have grown up and can slide properly.Take off with Shannon, me and the lift, strap on ourselves.Just follow them.It feels great.
So we want to spread the word and promote it. You also worked through burton.com.Last year with the Jeremy Jones family.They also have two children.I shot it with North Star.My family and Jeremy's family.We all enjoyed snowboarding.I think that's what's important. I met snowboarding in the 90's, and I've been enthusiastic about it ever since, so I hope my family will enjoy it. Even at the age of 35, they are still snowboarders.I'm 46 years old, but I've always been a snowboarder.If possible, I would like to teach my grandchildren snowboarding.I want to have a good time with my grandchildren.
What is the important thing for kids to enjoy snowboarding?
If you have any personal ideas from your experience, please let us know
What's the secret to kids enjoying snowboarding?
Dave What do you personally think?
So It's a family snowboarding, it's like un .. For me it's like a going backcountry for the first time. Still unknown you know. How do I do it? How do I teach my kids snowboarding.
But once I start doing it, Figuring out and having those experiences with my kids. It a best experiences you can have on pow. I just want my kids spend more time out. I don't want then stay home and playing around with iPhone or whatever. I want them to go out, snowboarding, be active.
It's family snowboarding.I mean, it's like going backcountry for the first time.I don't know anything yet.What should I do?How do you teach your son snowboarding?
But once you start, you can experience and understand the same things as your son.The best time to taste on powder.I just want my son to spend more time outside.I don't want you to stay home and play with your iPhone.I want them to go out more, snowboard, and be active.
How do you manage your snowboarding and work?
How do you control your snowboarding and work well?
It's work but it's my life. I feel very blessed to be able to involved with snowboarding. Cuz I love it you know. It's just I love to do.
This is my job, but it's also my life.I'm really lucky to be involved in snowboarding.Because I like it.So I'm happy.
It's a balancing act you know. Because .. Yeah working is a important thing, but family is way more important so. It's just a balancing. You have to work but, I mean how important is it. How many hours you have to spend working.
Yeah yeah, lot of times I'm fortune I can bring them on trips maybe. And get them involve you know. Un, on the weekends, instead of me going snowboarding by my self, I go snowboarding with my family. Does that make sense?
Because if I was being selfish, I leave my family going snowboarding by myself, but that's not the best thing, and also I found that going snowboarding with my family is more fun, than me going snowboarding backcountry by my self. I found I really really love it. You know.
I think balance is important.Work is important, but family is more important.It's a balance.I have to work, but is it so important?How much time should I spend on my work?Well, I'm lucky to be able to take my family on a trip once in a while.Connect your family.
On weekends, I don't go skiing alone, I go snowboarding with my family.For example, let's say I left my family at home and went skiing alone.But that's not the best. It's more fun to go snowboarding with my family than going backcountry alone.It's really the best.
Look I have photos of my kids I show ya.
So that's Dylan, he is a, He is 9. Yeah, it's at a Big Bear. And that's Logan. Yeah they are goofy. That's my kids.
I'll show you a photo.You see.This is Dylan. I'm 9 years old.Big bear photo.So this is Logan.Yeah, both of them have a goofy stance.I'm a proud son.
That's me on the chair lift with my kids. So it's fun you know. Oh here you go. It's my family. That's right by our house. Surfin.
This is a picture of me and my son on the lift.It's really fun.Oh, this is my family.Right next to the house.When surfing.
I just try to keep them active you know. But the family snowboarding is a big thing I think.
Always keep them active.But it's best to go snowboarding with your family.
For Burton, you know we make products for everybody, woman, kids, man and… I think we should show to the world like “we go snowboarding with our family!”
Jake! He goes snowboarding with his kids. Why doesn't everybody go snowboarding?
Burton makes products for women, children and men.So I'm proposing to the world, "Let's go snowboarding with my family!"Even Jake, he goes skiing with his sons.You guys go snowboarding together, right?
What is your most monorable snowboard?
Which snowboard is your favorite snowboard so far?
Most memorable, I don't know .. Probably the first Custom 59 I have, which is the the one with red bottom and Pegasus horse on the bottom. That's probably most memorable but uh,… Ahhhh The Root, the board Root, that's my most favorite board 148. It changed my whole view of snowboards. Probably the Custom 59 and the Root. Those are most memorable.
The most memorable board.Well, I don't know.Probably the 1996 model CUSTOM 159.The base is red and Pegasus is drawn.That is the most memorable board.
The rest is The ROOT Yes ROOT. 148 is my favorite.I changed my view of snowboarding. CUSTOM 159 and ROOT.That's a memorable board.
Cuz I rode, Customs for long time and then. I like riding some other boards too. Like Big Bear, like small jibby board. And uh, I really love the new Land Load. It's a great board.
I've been riding CUSTOM all the time.Of course I used other boards as well.Big bear, a short jib-like board.Oh, I like the new Landlord.It's the best board.
Flight Attendant, Very similar. It's a little softer than Land Load, but the Flight Attendant is a really good board. Perfect Japan Board.
Flight Attendant is very similar. A little softer than Landlord.But it's a good board.It's the perfect board to use in Japan