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At Burton, ‘we are all riders’

Chris Doyle is a mad scientist. And at Burton Snowboards, where he’s known as “the Mad Scientist,” he’s a leading visionary with extreme passion in the field of adaptive snowboarding—creating innovative gear that adapts to individuals’ abilities and needs in order to make snowboarding more inclusive.

“Our philosophy since we started the project is accessibility, adjustability, and durability. The idea is to make snowboarding inclusive for all riders,” said Doyle.

And that’s why Burton, Microsoft, and the students at the University of Vermont have come together to help create and design custom Step On® binding systems in collaboration with adaptive riders.

A love for snowboarding and innovation

Doyle has always been a “take it apart to see how it works” kind of guy. And since 1996, he’s been the Innovative Rapid Prototype Engineer on Burton’s R&D team. But as far back as the beginnings of the sport in the 1960s, he’s always loved snowboarding.

From tweaking his own board, boots, and bindings in the early days to working directly with pros to develop new prototypes that push what’s possible on snow, he’s dedicated his life to moving the sport forward. But for Doyle, his driving force isn’t just about what’s happening on the slopes—it’s also about who’s on the slopes.

Inclusivity for all riders

When Doyle started working with engineering students at the University of Vermont (UVM) two years ago, it only made sense to integrate ideas from these young passionate minds who care about impacting the future.

The collective team is exclusively designing on Microsoft Surface devices—designing to inspire and going beyond what is ordinary for these snowboarders—making adjustments using the touch-screen capabilities and the Surface Pen to optimize designs with precision ink, then output to 3D.

Maggie Leon, a UVM student, has played a lead role with Doyle in creating the smart boot technology. In particular, she’s been working on a toe adapter that will eliminate the sole plate altogether—a development that enables amputees with artificial feet a simpler way to insert their foot in and out of the adaptive boot.

Collaboration on and off the slope

Riding isn’t just a sport, it’s an attitude, a mindset, and a culture that is represented on and off the mountain with adaptive world-class snowboarders, Mike Schultz and Kiana Clay.

Read more about the project, Mike Schultz and Kiana Clay