Snowboards and outerwear maker Burton Snowboards has laid off around 4 per cent of its global workforce of 900 this week, as a fallout of what it termed as one of the company’s toughest winter seasons.
Company president John Lacy, in an email to the employees, dated March 16, put the blame on the “unfavorable weather, global economic instability and a challenged retail landscape”.
It is not known for certain how many people were laid off in the company’s headquarters in Burlington, but sources say that all departments have been affected. Apart from its headquarters, the company, founded by Jake Burton Carpenter in 1977, has offices in Austria, Japan, Australia, California, Canada and China.
“In sum, days like today are as tough as they come,” Lacy wrote to his staff. “And the challenge in front of us is significant. It isn’t going to be easy, but beating the odds and being a leader is in Burton’s DNA.”
With sport enthusiasts gradually losing interest in snowboarding across most demographic groups, this seemed to have been inevitable. The news of the job-cuts came out first in Portland, Ore-based snowboarding blog, Yobeat.com, followed by a New York Times report in March 6, in which it was stated that snowboard equipment sales industry-wide were down $60 million annually since 2007.
The only silver lining in all this is that women’s participation in the sport has increased. Earlier this week, Seven Days had reported that male snowboarding participation in all age groups declined from 5.4 million riders in the 2010-11 winter season to 4.7 million riders in 2014-15. According to data from Snowsports Industries America (SIA), an industry group, however, during that same period, the number of female snowboarding participants rose from 2.7 million to 2.9 million, according to data from Snowsports Industries America (SIA), an industry group. Women’s participation in snowboarding jumped 10 per cent in the last season as compared to the previous season.