The world of snowboarding got its mind blown early last week as Burton Snowboards and its founder, Jake Burton, announced the all-around destruction of The Program brands, meaning Forum Snowboards, Special Blend, and Foursquare. Burton bought these brands eight years earlier and they grew to stand for “what snowboarding was really about,” much of the industry said. Burton will officially be done with the brands in the winter of 2014.
Along with transitioning away from the brands, Burton also said its brand Gravis will be shifted to a strictly Asian-distributed brand with the headquarters moved to Tokyo, and its brand Analog, which was initially a skate, surf, and snow brand, will be altered to simply snow.
Jake Burton explained the decision in a press release: “Burton has experienced several years of income growth since the recession and paid out bonuses to employees over the last two years,” said Jake. “That said, the economy has a voice of its own that we all have to listen to, and the message is clear: do what you do best and focus purely on it. In our case, that means to narrow our focus to the sport and lifestyle that got us here: snowboarding. We will continue to support Channel Islands in its endeavor to make the best surfboards in the world and Gravis in its new home in Japan, but when you walk through the front door here in Burlington, Vermont, it will be all snowboarding and snowboarding lifestyle all the time–driven by the Burton, Analog, and anon brands.”
As the news hit, social media outlets began to buzz with the news as pro riders, employees of The Program, and the everyday snowboarder reacted. Forum has generated quite a following with a stacked team that included Pat Moore, Stevie Bell, Andreas Wiig, Daniel Ek, Peter Line, Nic Sauve, Jake Welch, Austin Sweetin, Alex Oestreng, Cam Pierce, and Mario Kaeppeli. Their videos were consistently at the top of the pack while still documenting the pure joy of riding and having a good time.
The all-around consensus of many in the industry and, ultimately, fans of the brand is “Give Forum to Peter,” meaning Peter Line, a legendary rider who helped found Forum more than a decade ago and who has been with the brand from the very beginning.
Indeed, here are some reactions from Twitter:
Pro snowboarder Kjersti Buaas: “Support the pledge. Support the culture! www.giveforumtopeter.com #giveforumtopeter
Method Magazine: Don’t forget to sign the petition and help save Forum!
Pro snowboarder Marius Otterstad: “Make things right Jake!” www.giveforumtopeter.com
Pro snowboarder Eric Jackson: “Travis Rice said it best. www.giveforumtopeter.com”
Electric Visual: “support #giveforumtopeter”
Pro snowboarder Elena Hight: “Agreed! @peetard for President RT @btoddrichards #giveForumtopeter”
In response Line wrote the following on Facebook: “With the unfortunate news today of the demise of Forum and Foursquare, I just wanted to reach out and thank everyone who has ever supported these brands. It’s a sad day in snowboarding. I helped start these companies 16 years ago and am proud of all that we accomplished along the way. I feel we left a positive mark on the snowboarding world, one that I hope will be remembered for a long time. I have to thank everyone who was involved in making it all happen, especially the riders. It was a tremendous honor of mine to have your support in building these brands, and even more of an honor to be your teammate. These were the best years of my life, thanks for being a part of it. Forever my Team: Ingemar Backman, Bjorn Leines, Chris Dufficy, JP Walker, Joni Malmi, Devun Walsh, Willie Luoma, Jeremy Jones, Mike Page, Jake Welch, Sean Tedore, Jason Murphy, Chad Otterstrom, Nate Bozung, Mikko Sjoblem, Eddie Wall, Pat Moore, Iikka Backstrom, Lauri Heiskari, Travis Kennedy, Stevie Bell, Jake Blauvelt, Peter Konig, Trevor Jacob, Niko Cioffi, Jed Anderson, Cheryl Maas, Daniel Ek, Nic Sauve, Cameron Pierce, Andreas Wiig, John Jackson, Alek Oestreng, Austen Sweetin, Mario Kaeppeli (and all that I may have missed.) Forum Forever.
Will it happen? Head HERE to support the Give Forum to Peter movement.
Photos: top, right, a photo reaction that has been floating around the Internet; bottom, a screenshot of some Twitter reactions.