For the second time this month, the industry has lost a winter sports business icon. Just weeks after the passing of Columbia Sportswear Chairwoman Gert Boyle, Burton Snowboards Founder Jake Burton Carpenter died Nov. 20 after an eight-year battle with testicular cancer. He was 65.
While Burton did not invent the snowboard, he promoted its widespread, international adoption through the company he founded in a Vermont barn in 1977. Burton’s first sales of snowboards, marketed through mail order, trade shows and aficionados of the winter activity initially known as “snurfing,” were for $88 apiece.
By the time of his death, Burton’s annual sales had surpassed the half-billion dollar mark and the sport had evolved into an Olympic event, seeing its debut during the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. The NYU graduate and one-time investment banker is survived by his wife Donna, a Burton executive; three sons and his stepmother.