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Godfather of Snowboarding, Jake Burton Carpenter, Dies at 65

He passed away after continued difficulties with cancer

Jake Burton Carpenter, the founder of Burton Snowboards, has died after complications from a second bout of cancer. A company spokesperson said Carpenter, 65, passed away on Nov. 20.

In an e-mail to employees on Thursday, John Lacy, Burton’s co-chief executive officer, wrote: “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.

“This all happened very sudden, and it’s a tremendous loss for his family, his friends and all of you. We will share more details about plans to celebrate Jake’s life soon. Today, please take the time and space you need to process this very sad news. If you need to go home and be with loved ones or prefer to stay today, please do what is best for you. At noon today, we will be holding a gathering in the lobby/store for those who benefit from grieving with others; it will be a time to share stories, and celebrate an incredibly full life.”

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Powder day here in Detroit. ❤️ @shinola

A post shared by Jake Burton Carpenter (@jakeburton77) on

Lacy continued, “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.”

The spokesperson said no details on a memorial are available at this time. On Nov. 9, Carpenter revealed he was battling cancer again and assured employees that the company will carry on. He wrote, “You will not believe this, but my cancer has come back. It’s the same tumor as the first time around. We just never got rid of it all. A bit of it hung out in my lymph nodes and got back into business. The odds are in my favor, but it is going to be a struggle for sure.”

Carpenter continued, “As much as I dread what is facing me, it’s easier to deal with when you know that you have a family that will carry on. I feel the same way about my company, my friends and our sport. I will be back, but regardless, everything is in good hands, which is an amazing feeling when entering this zone of uncertainty.” He signed the e-mail simply “Jake.”

After making his first snowboard in his Vermont barn in 1977, he started his signature company, which has grown into a $150 million brand. He was credited with championing the sport of snowboarding and helping it to become an Olympic sport beginning at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games.

Carpenter is survived by his wife as well as his sons Timi, George and Taylor.

Jake Burton