Snowboarders glided down a Vermont mountain Friday on the opening day of the season as a tribute to Jake Burton Carpenter, a pioneer in the sport. Carpenter, who founded Burton Snowboards in Vermont, died Wednesday of cancer complications. He was 65. CEO John Lacy had encouraged employees to do "what Jake would be doing" on Friday, "and that’s riding." And so they did, taking to the slopes at Stowe Mountain Resort in the rain. They packed onto chairlifts and met at the top for a ceremony at the stone hut, a special place for Carpenter. "It’s been a tough couple of days, but there's nothing better than being together with Jake's big family," Ian Warda said. Some in the crowd shared hugs, and a few had tears in their eyes. "Jake loved this mountain and was an impactful and inspirational leader in the Stowe community," a Stowe spokesman said. "His legacy will live on forever here."
Carpenter brought the snowboard to the masses and helped turn the sport into a billion-dollar business. He started Burton Boards out of a barn after moving to Vermont in 1977, per NPR. Working with existing designs, "he created bindings that attach you to the board so you can actually carve and control the board much better," ski shop worker Fischer Van Golden said. Burton persuaded the Stratton Mountain ski resort in Vermont to let snowboarders on its slopes in 1983. His snowboards have been used by global superstars such as Shaun White and Ayumu Hirano. Sen. Patrick Leahy tweeted that he has an early Burton Board on the wall in his office.
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