Back to News

Snowboarding Pioneer, Hall of Famer Jake Burton Carpenter Passes Away at 65

Corporate, NSGA News • November 22, 2019


Marty Maciaszek, Director of Communications and Team Dealer Division
(847) 296-6742, ext. 1260

DOWNERS GROVE, ILLINOIS (November 22, 2019) – Jake Burton Carpenter, who was inducted into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame in 2003 for modernizing the snowboard industry, passed away November 20 in Burlington, Vermont at age 65 after a battle with cancer.

Carpenter started Burton Snowboards in 1977 and built it into the largest snowboard brand in the world. Carpenter was also instrumental in snowboarding becoming an Olympic sport in 1988.

“We are very saddened about the passing of Jake Burton Carpenter and we extend our sincerest condolences to his family and everyone at Burton Snowboards,” said NSGA President & CEO Matt Carlson. “Jake exemplified the entrepreneurial spirit of our industry and worked so hard to grow and promote the sport of snowboarding.”

Carpenter was first diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011. On November 10, in the company’s “the Burtonblog,” he sent this email to employees:

“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.

“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.”

In an email to Burton staff on Wednesday, co-CEO John Lacy said details about the celebration of Carpenter’s life would be announced soon. Lacy encouraged everyone to do what Carpenter likely would have been doing and go riding.

“He was our founder, the soul of snowboarding, the one who gave us the sport we all love so much,” Lacy said.

Carpenter built most of Burton’s first snowboards by hand to improve the original invented by Sherman Poppen, who died on July 31. Carpenter developed a model without a rope and with rigid bindings for ski boots on the board.

Carpenter was part of the first snowboard competition in 1981 and pushed to have ski areas open their facilities to snowboarders. He helped organize the first U.S. Open Snowboarding Championship in 1982.

Carpenter and his wife Donna were inducted into the U.S. National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2010. They were also the first snowboarders inducted into the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum Hall of Fame in 2012.

About the National Sporting Goods Association

Since 1929, the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) has been the leading voice and go-to resource for sporting goods retailers and dealers. NSGA helps the industry grow the business through research, advocacy and networking. For more information about membership or NSGA’s products and services, please visit


Jake Burton Carpenter Snowboarding NSSRA Hall of Fame NSGA