Canadiana from start to finish. Here’s a first look at Burton’s Canadian Olympic Snowboard Uniform.
On November 9th, we had the absolute pleasure of viewing Burton’s Canadian Olympic Team Uniform at their newly opened flagship store in Toronto. The unveiling event showcased the outfit for the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Games. It was hosted by company founder Jake Burton, CEO Donna Carpenter, Head Designer Greg Dacyshyn, Chief Marketing Officer Anne-Marie Dacyshyn, First Nations Kwakiutl and Tlingit Heritage Contemporary Artist Corrine Hunt and team rider Mark McMorris.
Burton’s Toronto Flagship feels like a historic upscale board shop. It stocks product from cozy and technical soft goods to the latest hard goods, including Burton’s Step-On bindings. On the walls are photos of snowboarding through the ages as well as some of the original Burton Snurfers. It was the perfect place to showcase the Olympic Uniforms.
This is Burton’s first Canadian Olympic Uniform design and they are super proud to be a part of the magic, “Snowboarding isn’t a team sport, and most of the time, it’s not nationalistic at all,” said Jake Burton, Founder & Chairman of Burton Snowboards, during a powerful speech midway through the event. Burton partnered with Canada Snowboard to outfit all the Canadian Freestyle athletes, coaches and support staff during the halfpipe, slopestyle and big air competitions. “…Every four years when the Olympics roll around, everything changes for a few days because snowboarders become a part of their national Olympic team. And since uniforms are required by most countries at the Olympics, Burton wants to design and manufacture outerwear that the riders back and trust to perform at the highest level. Burton’s connection with Canada has been there for decades…”.
It was great to see Mark McMorris – pro-snowboarder who has been sponsored by Burton since he was 15, now 23 – looking healthy and positive as ever. Mark is ecstatic about the Olympics and Burton’s collaboration, stating that gear feels like home. He had full say in the design of the uniform, opting for the bib pant for practicality and style. Mark suffered from a near fatal injury earlier this year; he drifted left off a feature and hit a tree in the Whistler Back County. It’s amazing to see him now gearing up for the Olympics.
“I went to the closet point to not being able to snowboard again,” Mark says. From the accident his jaw was hanging, arm shattered, seven vertebrae is his back destroyed, five broken ribs, broken pelvis, ruptured spleen, bruised heart and collapsed lung. “I was given the opportunity, they were like ‘you CAN make a fully recovery.’ So then like 100% that’s where all my energy went there… During trauma you can come out negative or you can come out positive and I felt like I came out really positive.”
Mark has been spending the better part of his year training intensely and snowboarding everyday. His days in rehab are over, “Everyday I wake up I’m like “I’m not in ICU and I don’t have 17 broken bones so everyday is so much better than what it was and what it [could have been]. I’m not saying I was ever bummed on my life but when you go through something that gnarly it really makes you appreciate everything. It makes me want to work a bit harder.”
We’ll be seeing Mark McMorris alongside the other Canadian Olympic Freestyle Team Riders sporting this set during the PyeongChang Games this February. See Mark’s latest rotations on Instagram.
The Jackets are based on Canadian Heritage Sweaters and are so Canadian from design to development. “…It so happens that Greg, our main designer guy [is Canadian], I love Canada, my wife loves Canada. We’re ready to move here…” Jack Burton cheers, “and Mark is such a great friend and Canadian snowboarders are crushing….We went about trying to incorporate Canadiana.”
There are four different symbols that make up this uniform: the raven, bear, orca, sun and moon. One is on each jacket. The jackets are replicas of sweaters that were hand-knit by Granted Sweater Company based in Richmond, British Colombia. The artwork on the sweaters was designed by Corrine Hunt, who was born in Alert Bay, British Columbia and hails from the same village as Spencer O’Brien. Corrine has been creating contemporary art that reflects the themes and traditions of her First Nations Komoyue and Tlingit heritage for more than 24 years. She also co-designed the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic gold, silver and bronze medals.
“I want to show how both the First Nations people and the art have evolved,” she Corrine says. She is doing this by continually inventing and reinventing stories from her culture, honouring her roots and cultivating a refreshing artistic expression. The results are beautiful pieces that are both ageless and contemporary.
For the Burton Olympic Jackets Corrine chose four iconic symbols relative to her culture and snowboarding, and the Olympic spirit. “First of all, I chose the Raven. The tail of the raven on the back and the head on the front of the jacket,” Corrine says, “The Raven is the most creative creature, who is fun in the playground, very smart and agile. I thought snowboarders meet all of that criteria.”
The second symbol is the bear; strong, quick and secure. We agree it’s a Canadian Classic. Third is the Orca. Corrine tells me that the Orca represents community, “The community of a snowboarder… The Olympic team in general. They have to work together and they sometimes have to go out on their own. They do their own thing but they always come back.”
The last sweater is the sun and the moon, “While you are on the mountain you always either see the sun rising or the moon rising,” Corrine finishes.
Once the designs were complete, Burton used a unique digital printing process and transferred the artwork directly onto the jacket’s technical, stretch 3L fabric. They used a high resolution photograph of each of the sweater panels and created an stunning replica of the hand-knit sweaters. You can actually see the wool fibres on the jackets’ print. The jacket is made out of Sonora® fabric, which is a corn based fabric and uses sustainable properties. “It’s very light and technical,” says Burton head designer, Greg Dacyshyn, “We used the same tech as we did in Japan for a very niche line called K457. Mark [McMorris] has been riding in it all year, [and] he really loves it… It’s like putting on a mini-sleeping bag.”
The set also features a classic coaches’ jacket, bib-style pants, down insulators, fleece, first layers, gloves/mitts, fleece hoods, a merino neckwarmer and beanies. The four-way stretch shell fabric is super comfortable for snowboarding because it allows extra freedom of movement. It’s also very lightweight and durable with high-tech water-resistant properties.
We can’t wait to see this technical, wearable art soaring through the air, just like the raven, at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games.