The Burton Blog

Sharing the Love and Lifestyle of Snowboarding with the Chill Foundation Europe

What is the Chill Foundation?

Chill Foundation is a global non-profit whose mission is to inspire young people through boardsports and build a more equitable outdoor community. Chill was conceived by Donna Carpenter and the late Jake Burton Carpenter in 1995. Since the first event, at Burlington’s Bolton Valley resort, Chill’s goal has been to increase access to boardsports for young people across the globe. Since Chill’s founding, the organization has given thousands of young people a pathway to a new future with sports, the natural environment and the community at its core.

Burton Employee and the Chill Foundation
Getting the basics down with Burton Employee Andrea

“Chill Foundation development was another big project,” remembers Hermann Kapferer, former GM of Burton Europe and now Board Member of Chill Global . “Under the motto of giving back to the community, it was about sharing snowboarding, while offering young people the opportunity to work on their self-confidence, learn about life and help them achieve anything they could imagine.”

Chill is now a global organization, with programs in the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and Europe. The first Chill Austria event was held in -2008.“It was small,” recalls Hermann, “with like 10 to 15 participants.” 15 years on in Hermann’s local resort of Axams – Axamer Lizum ( where the Olympic winter Games took place 1964/ 1976), a stone’s throw from Burton’s European Innsbruck headquarters, the latest Chill Austria -program included 64 kids from diverse backgrounds and life circumstances. “It was the biggest European Chill yet,” Hermann says with pride.

“The leaders of tomorrow are the ones who find their voices today''
– Hermann Kapferer, Chill Global Board of Directors

Chill participants are from diverse backgrounds, religions, ethnicities and nationalities, all coming together for Chill through an assortment of partner charities, including SOS Children as well as Innsbruck-based organizations that care for vulnerable young people and refugees: “It’s all about inclusivity,” says Hermann, who is incredibly proud of the program’s many success stories throughout its history.

Respect, Courage, Patience, Persistence, Responsibility, and Pride.

There are six core value components in the philosophy of Chill’s curriculum, which are Respect, Courage, Patience, Persistence, Responsibility, and Pride. The intention is that participants not only experience sliding sideways, which now includes skateboarding, SUP and surf, but also live the unique and enquiring lifestyle of boardriding and become a part of the core community with its problem-solving worldview. For some the program also provides their first experience of the great outdoors, - and provides them with a space for reflection, healing and inspiration.

In the words of -Hermann Kapferrer, “The leaders of tomorrow are the ones who find their voices today.” “It’s about allowing kids to experience belonging, have fun, increase their self-confidence through sport and in turn encourage others in their crews to come on board,” says Hermann. “As we say, they ride alongside us and we ride alongside them”.

Clemens Millauer taking his crew for their first piste turns

Keeping it Chill

Helping Chill operate is a network of partners and volunteers, including Burton staffers, who for a small fee can become contributing member of the foundation. The list also includes filmers and photographers, doctors and snowboard coaches, as well as local bus companies that provide transport to and from resorts and Laax in Switzerland who donate lift tickets, accommodation and food and drink to keep the kids fuelled up on the hill. For Hermann it goes beyond brand politics and sport allegiances: “It’s about inclusivity and that everyone has the feeling that they are part of Chill even if they are competitors or even from a ski company,” he jokes. “It’s about bringing inspiring people on board to help build a more equitable outdoor community”.

In Switzerland, Chill Foundation has been taken on board by the year-round resort of Laax, providing snowboard and skate programs to 11 to 19-year-olds from a spectrum of schools, youth agencies, social programs and boardsports partners. “Since 2021, Chill Switzerland has offered free and accessible snowboarding and skateboarding programs to 98 young people, most of whom were unaccompanied asylum seekers, mainly from Afghanistan and Ukraine, who would not have access to these sports if it weren’t for Chill programs,” says Micha Schmid, the Chill coordinator for Switzerland. “Our goal is to break down barriers to access boardsports for youth from historically marginalized communities, who have limited financial means, or encounter other challenging life circumstances,” she adds. “We want all youth, regardless of background or personal challenges, to realize their full potential and experience the learning, growth, and joy that boardsports can provide.”

Chill Foundation Switzerland
Anna Gasser at Chill Austria
Not sure there's a better coach for your first lesson than Anna Gasser!?
Real snowboarders spray skiiers!

The Program

The latest Chill event in Laax was the second 6-day snowboard program and on each day the participants focus on the core values of respect, courage, patience, persistence, responsibility and pride. “A typical program day starts with the introduction of the core value on the bus, followed by games and discussions,” explains Micha. “Then, during the snowboard lesson with professional instructors of the LAAX School we implement the core value during warm up or with special snowboard exercises. And at the end of the day, we encourage the young people to reflect on how they can incorporate their learnings into daily life.”

The same concept is implemented in programs across Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, & Italy.

''Projects like this can help so much with your future, you fall down a lot but you get back up and learn from each other and that's something you carry through your whole life''
– Anna Gasser - Global Chill Ambassador

Fun fact: Burton employees can make automatic payroll deduction donations to Chill with every paycheck (and many do).

25 Years of The Chill Foundation: Jake & Participants
The late Jake Burton Carpenter set up Chill alongside Donna in 1995.

For Hermann, working on his farm in Austria and working flat-out on Chill after retiring from Burton, it is the takeaways that are the measure of the Chill project: “They learn to manage life’s challenges, that life can be fun, take care of each other and learn that they have a place in the snowboard community which is inclusive, equitable, and accessible. Chill is not like a society where these kids are excluded. Inclusion is so important to us and that is what we take away from this too.”

For Micha being able to share her passion and lifestyle through Chill is personal: “Standing sideways definitely changed my perspectives on life, and I really hope with passing on the passion for boardsports we can encourage youth to become stronger and more confident to go their very own way.”

Chill Out and Make a Donation

If you represent a mountain resort, skate park, surf or stand-up paddleboard school, bus company, gear company, are a boardsport instructor, or represent any other organization or profession that you think would be a good fit for Chill, email us: to get involved.

Text by Danny Burrows

Happy Faces Chill Foundation
Only happy faces at Chill Swizerland!
Snowboarding gave me the confidence and feeling of togetherness that will stick with me forever. I'm definitely never going to stop riding.
– Meidan, Chill Participant