Above: Jake Burton Carpenter, 1970s (Picture courtesy of Burton Snowboards)
Snowboarder, pioneer and founder of the brand that bears the name, Jake Burton Carpenter, has passed away aged 65. Jake died peacefully on November 20th, 2019, surrounded by his family and loved ones as a result of complications from recurring cancer.
Burton publicly announced his passing on social media yesterday:
“It is with a very heavy heart that we share that Burton founder Jake Burton Carpenter passed away peacefully last night surrounded by his family and loved ones as a result of complications from recurring cancer. He was our founder, the soul of snowboarding, the one who gave us the sport we all love so much. #RideOnJake”
In the preceding months, Jake started to compile a timeline of the most important events of his life in his own words. You can read it here, on the Burton Snowboards website.
“He was our founder, the soul of snowboarding, the one who gave us the sport we all love so much”
Anybody who has snowboarded – even those who haven’t – will undoubtedly be familiar with Burton Snowboards. Hooked on snow and the mountains from a young age, in December 1977, Jake quit his job in New York, moved to Londonderry, Vermont and started ‘Burton Boards’ out of a barn. The rest, as they say, is history.
Though the company struggled to begin with, selling only 300 boards in the first year, Jake went on to become a true visionary in the sport and helped shape it into the billion-dollar industry it has become today.
How often can an entire group of people point to one single figure and claim that that person undoubtedly shaped and improved their lives immeasurably? Jake didn’t just build snowboards, he pioneered the entire culture of the sport as we know it today.
In the winter of 1983, he recalled how “I took a run with Stratton’s ski patrol to see if I could talk them into allowing snowboarders on the chairlifts. Luckily, it was a nice soft day, and my crew and I looked like we could handle the boards.”
By 1998, Burton Snowboards had long been the global industry leader and snowboarding had evolved and grown in recognition and popularity, to the point that it first appeared at the Winter Olympics, with Jake at the helm the whole time.
Burton Snowboards pushed the culture and progression of snowboarding in every way possible, from the innovative technologies and products that have shaped the way we ride, to a global team that has continuously redefined what is possible in the sport.
While Burton’s legacy is assured, the impact of his life, and what he did for snowboarding, will be felt for as long as people are heading to the mountains and strapping in.
Jake Burton Carpenter is survived by his wife Donna, and his children George, Taylor, Timi.
“While Burton’s legacy is assured, the impact of his life, and what he did for snowboarding, will be felt for as long as people are heading to the mountains and strapping in”
Burton co-CEO John Lacy said a celebration of Carpenter’s life would be held soon, but for now, “I’d encourage everyone to do what Jake would be doing tomorrow, and that’s riding. It’s opening day at Stowe, so consider taking some turns together, in celebration of Jake.”
All of the Whitelines team send their thoughts to the entire Burton family. We’ll be sure to put a few deep turns in for snowboarding’s founder, soon. Ride on, Jake.