Jake Burton Carpenter, Founder of Burton Snowboards, Passes Away at Age 65

Earlier this month, Jake Burton Carpenter (1954-2019) announced that his cancer had returned. On the morning of November 21, the Burton company issued a statement announcing that the godfather of snowboarding had passed away.

In 2011, Jake was initially diagnosed with testicular cancer. After a course of treatments, he was given a clean bill of health. Aside from his bout with cancer, Jake had faced several health challenges in recent years. Despite all of this, Jake remained optimistic until the end.

Jake was born in 1954 and raised in Long Island, New York. After college and a short hiatus in Colorado, he returned to the Northeast where, in 1977, he founded the company that bears his name. Over four decades later, Burton Snowboards continues to push the envelope in the billion-dollar industry that he was instrumental in founding and promoting. In addition to the namesake apparel and gear label, Jake, a passionate surfer, also owned Channel Island Surfboards, a company he purchased over a decade ago. He also founded the eyewear brand Anon.

“It is with a very heavy heart that I share the news that Jake 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,” Burton’s co-CEO, John Lacy, said in a company-wide email. “As a start of our celebration of Jake’s life, 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.”

While the winter sports world will miss this patriarch of the sport, I believe he would prefer we celebrate his life by embracing the season ahead. As a snowboarder for nearly three decades myself, I have always had at least one Burton board in my winter arsenal. This season, I’ll gladly take a few (or a hundred plus) laps in your honor.

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