The founder of Burton snowboards has died from cancer aged 65. He was quite simply one of the most influential men in snowsports.

If you are a snowboarder you will likely have ridden on one of his snowboards.

If you are a skier you will have snowboarding to thank for the wider skis and carving angles that revolutionised the sport.

He was a keen environmentalist and had a huge impact on snowsports.

He died on Wednesday night from cancer surrounded by his family and loved ones.

Earlier this month he emailed staff:

“You will not believe this, but my cancer has come back.”

“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.”

He had been diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011 but after several months of therapy had been given a clean bill of health.

We reported on it at the time here on PlanetSKI:

“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.

In 1977 he formed the company, Burton, in a barn.

The rest is history.

It grew into a $150 million brand.

He championed the sport of snowboarding and helped it become an Olympic sport beginning at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games.

See here for a special tribute to Jake Burton as we look at his life and his legacy:



Tribute from Burton Snowboards:

He was known for a wicked sense of humour including a liking for dressing up as a woman.

Check out the pictures in this Instagram post, where, in a couple of shots, he postures as ski racer Lindsey Vonn.

Scroll through the images below:



View this post on Instagram


Sports Illustrated Hall Of Fame Issue. Happy Halloween 😘

A post shared by Jake Burton Carpenter (@jakeburton77) on Oct 31, 2019 at 11:01am PDT



Among the first to pay tribute is one of our great friends at PlanetSKI and a regular reader, Chris Moran.

Chris was the Founder of Whitelines Snowboarding Magazine in 1995 and a  Burton European team rider from 1993-2001.

Jake and Tom Sims were the faces of snowboarding when I started in the late 80s. Their rivalry pushed the sport so fast, that within two winters we’d gone from edge-less boards with fins attached, to basically the same modern boards and shapes that you see today.”

“Jake was a much better businessman though, and steered Burton to be the biggest brand just as snowboarding was getting really popular.”

“He was always super helpful, really friendly and he never lost his love for riding.”

“I know a lot of people are gonna be sad to read the news. He’ll be missed for sure.”

And from another PlanetSKI mate – the BBC’s Ed Leigh:

“It would appear that Pioneering snowboarders don’t make old bones.”

“First Tom Sims at 62 and now the other architect of modern snowboarding Jake Burton at 65.

“Both of them had voracious appetites for life and it was this attitude and energy that undoubtedly filtered down via the pro teams they built to consumers and helped steer the sport in its formative years away from the confines of structured competition into more creative waters.

“Jake never lost his sense of mischief and fun or energy, he was on the road and at events all of last winter and when you saw him it was clear that he was as stoked on snowboarding as always.”

“Thanks for everything Jake, we owe you. RIP”

And there has been further reaction over on the PlanetSKI Facebook page:

Facebook reaction

Facebook reaction

Known as the ‘Father of Snowboarding’ Jake Burton of Burton Snowboards talks to the BBC, in the video below, about the sport’s history, and his part in it.

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

Rest in Peace.