Jake Burton Carpenter, a snowboarding legend and pioneer who helped the sport become a billion-dollar business and Olympic showpiece, died on Wednesday evening in Burlington, Vermont. He was 65 years old. This month, Carpenter emailed his staff saying, “You will not believe this, but my cancer has come back.” The snowboarder, who quit his New York job in 1977 and started the company now known as Burton, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011 but beat the disease after several months of therapy.
“He was our founder, the soul of snowboarding, the one who gave us the sport we all love so much,” Burton co-CEO John Lacy said in his email to the staff. The company sponsored many top snowboarders and Carpenter was an avid champion for each one. The Burton name is impossible to avoid once winter game season takes flight, and in one bar in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a wall is filled with Burton pictures and memorabilia.