This year Burton did something really unique at SIA, our annual Snowsports Show, by allowing us to make our own Throwback board. The Burton Throwback is an updated version of the 1981 Backhill board and really takes you back to the roots of snowboarding. I wasn’t sure how much, if at all, I’d really use one but regardless it wasn’t anything I was about to turn down. I went ahead and booked an hour long time slot, which at the time seemed longer than necessary. I was wrong. An hour and a half later I ended up with a board I was pretty proud of. Here’s how it went.
Enlisting the help of Riley, one of our shop guys, I started off by picking a nose and a tail shape. We wanted to stick with an old school shape, so we chose “the backhill” for the nose and “the chum” for the tail. We traced them onto the wood, but added our own signature shark’s teeth to the tail to make it unique. We drilled two holes for the rope and then it was time to cut the shape. Unfortunately, they didn’t let us do this part but it was a good thing they didn’t because the shark’s teeth seemed tedious even for the seasoned vet on the saw. A good 15 minutes later the shape was revealed it was on to the paint.
Stencils were laid out for spray painting, and we decided the Burton safari print was the one for us. We spiced it up by starting with a layer of black paint, then overlaying and fading blue paint into yellow to give it a shadow effect. We then added the 1977 stencil near the tail in white to give it a bit of authenticity. It was now on to the pads to make it rideable and finish her off. It would have been easy to peel the adhesive and slap on two pads, but we got a little creative and cut a few shapes including a window to the 1977 logo and some teeth to go along with the cut of the tail. We grabbed a handle, tied some glow in the dark rope on and signed off on the project by burning our initials into the wood. A little bit of wax and she was done. Again, at this point I wasn’t sure if I would end up riding it, but it sure was fun to make.
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Jump to two months later and I’ve actually gotten a few days on the thing! After a full day of riding, it’s pretty fun to take to the backyard and find a new way to slide on snow. We did figure out a couple of things though. To start, it’s scary as hell when your feet aren’t strapped in and you have very little control. Hills that would be graded less than the bunny hill are straight up terrifying. We also found out pretty fast that each run gets faster and faster the more you pack the snow down. That means you look like you know what you’re doing the first couple runs and by the end you’re eating it pretty good.
Overall we’ve had a blast on it. It’s pretty amazing to think of how anyone could have started out on something like a Backhill board and thought “gee, I bet this would be easier if I was strapped in and couldn’t bail”, yet, now of course we all know where bindings took the sport. It’s given me a new appreciation for snowboarding and how far we’ve come. At the same time though, it’s fun to look at the cues we’re still taking from the past.