Powder and Rails: Snowboard Legend Jake Burton Carpenter

Powder and Rails: Snowboard Legend Jake Burton Carpenter

first early Burton signs that was on the Manchester
buildings. It’s based off a shot, an actual
shot, of Jake from the ’82 catalog. So here’s a timeline on our
history here at Burton. As you know, it started
in 1977. Great early shot of Jake here
slashing some powder turns on a BB1 back [INAUDIBLE]. Here, another great shot of
Jake getting some air– ’78. Another one of Jake. JAKE BURTON CARPENTER: When I
started the company in ’77, when I moved out of New York
City and came up here, I tooled up this factory– I had a good friend
and two relatives. And we got to where we could
make 50 boards a day and that was our objective. And that wasn’t easy. It was tough, but we
figured it out. TODD KOHLMAN: Jake here in ’81,
carving some boards– shaping, I should say. And Jake made 100 different
prototypes. It’s amazing to think of his
passion before even coming up with the final product to
make 100 different ones. This is one of Jake’s first
prototypes, and its interesting that it’s
made of fiberglass. And he said it worked great in
powder, but he did say if you come across a rock, it just
blew the thing up. JAKE BURTON CARPENTER: So the
second year, we had already basically made enough boards. They were sort of pre-done, and
just had to be assembled. But nobody wanted them. So I went from myself plus three
full time employees, to basically myself plus one or two
high school kids working a little bit after school. So in other words, I had these
sort of bigger expectations, and then it just want way down
in terms of the whole scale of the company and the scale
of my expectations and everything else. That’s probably what I’m
proudest of, looking back on everything, is just having the
perseverance to get through the whole thing. TODD KOHLMAN: In ’81,
actually there was a change in the shape. They went from the narrow, maybe
Snurfer type, to this wide shape. It just changed the game– better float in the powder,
and just a better ride. JAKE BURTON CARPENTER: Those
boards were barely ride-able. But as a kid, I get a Snurfer,
which is a toy-like version of a snowboarder. It was much much
less expensive. But it was fun. There was no doubt about
it, and that’s I pursued it with my life. And so I think once we get
boards out there, we got them to the right people and found
the right ways to advertise them, that’s when it
just started to go. I mean, I think people
just had fun on them. DONNA CARPENTER: I met him at
a bar on New Year’s Eve. I was up skiing at Stratton– so this is like 1981. I was living in New York. He said his name is Jake, and he
made snowboards, and nobody had ever heard of
snowboarding. And I said, whatever, I’m
way too sophisticated. The first date we had
that night I said, well let’s try it. And it was just a wooden board
with a rope and a water-ski binding in the front, and a
strap in the back, and we wore high top sneakers. And I never thought I’d leave
New York for that, but I did. TODD KOHLMAN: You put one of
these on there, that would help you keep the nose
up in powder. And notice, like I mentioned
before, the front binding is more like– it reminds me of water-ski
type bonding. And then back here, is just
like a strap that would go over your toes. And this is a BB1. And then the BB2 is a back-hill,
so it just basically was this without
the bondings. The super big change in ’84– right in this area here, then
from here, we started doing P-Techs and metal edges. And so this Performer Elite
was pretty breakthrough– ’85. Originally, I think Jake started
off riding in the backyard and stuff. I think it’s just amazing how
far it’s come from those days. PAT BRIDGES: Skiing and
snowboarding in the ’80s was a scary place. Lawyers ruled the day. Introducing something new to
that environment was not welcome, and he took it upon
himself as a challenge, and he literally did the leg-work– went door to door and
sold our sport. Other people did too. I just don’t think they
did it to his extent. Granted, you could question the
motivation, be like yeah, he’s motivated by money, wants
to spread a sport. Well regardless of his
motivations, 20 years later there’s 10 million snowboarders
in the United States who reap the
benefits of that. JAKE BURTON CARPENTER: We didn’t
get on Stratton until ’84, so I look back and it’s
like, what the hell were we doing those first seven years? But we were hiking hills,
riding and stuff. So it took awhile before
we got on the resorts. And that was clearly a huge move
in terms of growing the whole thing and making
it bigger. But it took a long time
just to get there. DONNA CARPENTER: It was very
intense in the beginning. It was sort of 24/7. You never got away from it. It’s not like you go home
from the office, and the problems go away. But there was never a time
when we would have really given it up. I think we were just passionate
about the sport. I think that we wanted to
see the sport grow. We wanted to see more ski
areas accept it, then we wanted to see it grow in Europe,
and then we wanted to see it grow in Asia. And now we’re committed
to seeing the women’s market grow. So there was always a challenge
ahead that had to do with getting more people into
the sport, which is what keeps us going I guess. JAKE BURTON CARPENTER: And
there’s Brush, Andy Coghlan, Neil Khan, and I think that’s
Johan right there. And there’s Ossie Loftus
right there. There’s a classic Craig shot. That was a great era. That was in Europe, and the
O’Neill outerwear thing was going off, and the colors were
just pretty fluorescent. TREVOR ANDREW: Jake
is the man. He’s one of the realest
people. The riders, to him,
he’s always just considered them family. And since day one, he’s not the
typical owner of a huge company like that, that
you would expect. He totally is like riding with
you and just as stoked as everybody else about it. He’s not all business. He totally loves snowboarding,
and loves the team. And that’s just his thing. He’s just so into it, and I
guess that’s what’s brought him so much success, just
because he has genuine love for the sport. He’s one of the pioneers. JEREMY JONES: His office
too is sick. You walk and it’s
just couches– full chill, like hippie. It’s dope. You walk in, and you’re like,
this is your office dude? You make how much
money a year? This is sweet. Jump on the couch– it’s all cushy and big
and throw your feet up on the table. He’s doing the same. It’s pretty sick– pretty sick that he’s the
one that started it all. JAKE BURTON CARPENTER:
I think resisting the temptation to sell out– or whatever, or go public, or
cash out, or whatever– is probably the best thing
that we’ve done. If I were to point
to one thing, I think it would be that. KEIR DILLON: And you hear it
all the time, Burton’s corporate, and it’s crazy to
think that you’re going to call the person that helped
pioneer the sport, fought to get it in the mountains, made
the R&D, invested so much money to bring it to where
it is, you’re going to call them corporate. It’s like the best case scenario
on the planet. The dude that pretty much
invented the sport– yeah, he’s the corporate guy. It means he handled it. And you have a dude that cares
that much about snowboarding dictating where it goes. JAKE BURTON CARPENTER: We
haven’t remotely come close to selling out. We’re not public. We’re privately held. My family– we own
the whole deal. But we are big, and
we are successful. And being big, there’s certain
limitations to that. But we try to move as
quickly as we can. We try to create fresh stuff and
always have part of what we’re doing be very
forward thinking. But at the same time, have the
engineering backbone and functionality stuff that
we have so down. HANNAH TETER: He just wants the
best product, and that’s we all want. That’s why Burton is the
rider-driven company– because they’re all about
input from us. They want it to look good,
but they want it to function more so. At first I was like,
wow, he’s the boss. But he’s just like a friend. He’s just chill and a
down to Earth guy. It’s nice to have a
boss like that. Not many people get nice
bosses, but we do. NILS MINDICH: Being the first
person we met from the family of the Carpenters was Taylor. He was about his
age in school. HANS MINDICH: His son, Taylor,
was pretty much him, Taylor, and then two other kids that
live near Jake’s house– they’re my three first
friends basically. And so my first sleepover
was actually at Jake’s house, for one. So it’s kind of like,
I’ve known him as a friend’s father. NILS MINDICH: It’s ironic. SHAUN WHITE: I don’t know, I’ve
never really felt like he was a boss ever. It’s been one of those things
where he’s just like– I don’t know if you’ve met him
or not– but he’s like this really mellow, fun guy. I think the first thing when we
were hanging out, he made some joke about what some
woman was wearing. And I was so blown away by it. It caught me so off guard,
I’m like this guy rules. He’s all time. YALE COUSINO: I’ve rode with
him a few times at Stowe. It was a storm. There was like two feet of fresh
snow, so it was pretty cool to ride powder with him. He shreds. For sure, he’s good. He’s real good. NICHOLAS MULLER: Who doesn’t
dream to ride for Burton? And he starts to ride, and
it’s the best company out there for the products, but
even more for the team. I mean, all the idols
that were there. Johan, [INAUDIBLE], and Terry. What makes the brand? You know, the team. JAKE BURTON CARPENTER: I hope
snowboarding keeps going and that the riders continue
to make more dough. It’s weird in this country. Sports that people participate
in isn’t necessarily where all the money is. Nobody’s stopping snowboarders
from looking like NASCAR drivers, and putting patches
all over them, and selling themselves to everybody. That’s not what people
want to see. And that’s kind of good. There is this sort of sense of
couth that’s associated with– I think all board sports– that we don’t want to lose. And I think that might keep
things down a little bit smaller, but I think it’s where
we all want to live in. We don’t want to live in
that kind of world. So I think it’ll continue to
grow, and it’ll continue to get bigger, but it’s going to
necessarily ever get to the point maybe where everybody is
such a big deal that they got to carry a gun and
stuff like that. Hopefully it’ll just sort
of keep its scene.

Antonio Breitenberg

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100 thoughts on “Powder and Rails: Snowboard Legend Jake Burton Carpenter

  1. BioGimp says:

    ohhh new jacket

  2. nca777 says:

    does that guy really work there or did vice just grab a guy off the street to walk through the timeline..??

  3. Timothy Williams says:

    Are those two female (9:36) riders kicking it with some hasidic jews on the pier? Fucking awesome

  4. Jānis Kūka says:

    DIY done right.

  5. Heinzred says:

    Burton Rocks

  6. Stephanie Lau says:

    Almost time to go boarding for meeee!

  7. crispyballz says:

    snow boarding is so fucking gay

  8. Antonio Choi says:

    This gets me pumped to hit the trails

  9. Jeffrey Hoerner says:

    i need that jacket

  10. crispyballz says:

    how am i being a troll, thats what i think of snowboarding

  11. toatesuntocupate says:

    Wolf Jacket FTW !

  12. Drew says:

    they must have some really good hash…

  13. Fedor Kleber says:

    That Jewish guy standing behind those 2 girls with the wind in his hair made my day.

  14. BeaverDAMage says:


  15. Cody Letherman says:

    Wolf Jacket.. Yeah thatd be tight.

  16. Alex McLaren says:

    Jewish Photo bombing at 9:40

  17. GoRockQuads says:

    What was the opening music?

  18. Michał Be says:

    Thanks for shutting Forum Jake.

  19. TheAgyre says:

    jacket jacket jacket

  20. cybersasho says:

    go to the mountain as high as possible
    sit under a tree, toke up and ride down

  21. Mitchell Stuart says:

    9:45 random Amish guy standing in the background?

  22. Laura Brewer says:

    Everyone check out my channel i have duck tape, drum, lots of graffiti, Rollie sk8, origami…. More+

  23. airhab says:

    Hasidic Jew

  24. Jake Curtis says:

    Hhahaha lmao what's up with the Amish dude

  25. John Cross says:

    Hasidic Jew brah

  26. Everett McEwan says:

    As a racer still riding at the pro level, and as someone who went to the first factory in the late 80s to buy my boards in person I have very mixed feelings on Burton. Loved em at first and even still raced on a Factory Prime a few years ago, but now it's all jibing and powder, Shawn White gets all the glory and racers are forgotten about. Chris Klug will probably be the last guy to ever race on a Burton in the Olympics. I feel Burton has sold out but I still thank him for the start!

  27. Rahat Sheikh says:

    I didn't think the founder would be that chill

  28. BloteAapOpVoeten says:

    Nothing personal, but racing is in the same catagory as skiing.

  29. Christian Roche says:

    i can hardly hear the interviews and my volume is at max. besides that grate video vice

  30. arsonwars says:

    Thank you Jake! thanks for keeping it real much love bro

  31. Fpk Hk416 says:

    The friggin squeakers with the redbull hats. They don't sponsor you for going through puberty, kids!

  32. Zack Christensen says:

    The guy at 9:37 in the background…

  33. Shlomi Helfgot says:

    החסיד! 9:37 +Zack Christensen

  34. bigdaddylongschl0ng f says:

    proud to ride Burton Backcountry

  35. Benjamin Gonzales says:

    I don't ride burton but thanks for pushing the sport jake and making all these other brands what they are!

  36. Erik Gaffron says:

    i'm surprised there isn't more comments about that open letter to Burton from 2015….

  37. John McDonnell says:

    Burton boards cost too much

  38. codysett1 says:

    I love burton but there so far behind as far as modern technology goes. They always seem to be a few years behind over the last few years

  39. RobinHoodUK says:

    9:37 i swear there is a metaphor with the jew looking over your shoulder

  40. Casa Del Amo says:

    the 1977 photo , looks like a sasquache on an skiboard

  41. jayatlasbane says:

    I remember riding a Sims 510 blade and a Kemper and having the same sticker on both… "boycott Burton. You can't out a patent on fun"

  42. yes says:

    Burton nike of snow

  43. Colin Hope says:

    @vice can you guys hook me up with mr.burton so i can cop a snowboard?

  44. Gavin DeFrancis says:

    Jake looks just like Henry Rollins except for the hair.

  45. Jogl Mcbuckel says:

    Super chill guy, I always thought Burton was over priced and only rich little baby's in the park road them lol.

  46. evan burdick says:

    so lame, show me one of your vietnamese factry workers that can jib and ill tune back in

  47. NOS ULT says:

    Thank god step ons have been made

  48. j8lech says:

    Omg that chode at the beginning with the coffee…I'd rather listen to a 90 year old with dementia…

  49. KrazyKiwi says:

    2:50 Even the reported knew the dickhead was contradicting himself. He was only looking at his own point of view. But yea, it's fine to say… cause he's older.

  50. Mack Arnott says:

    Is it just me, or have like 3 of the riders in this video moved on to another company since then lol

  51. Chicago Dan says:

    Carry a gun. Do famous people carry guns? Like if they don’t have security? It seems like a lot of athletes do but mainly ones from the hood or the sticks.

  52. Jacob Hendricks says:

    Wow, Vice actually posted a video that wasn't pure trash for once.

  53. Charlie Bambarger says:

    I truly believe this, still doing it with Step on bindings

  54. Joshua Beahr says:

    Inspirational and I don't know what I would do without snowboards!! Definitely not ski

  55. MANDINGO says:

    This guy is dope watching this made me want to go buy a Burton board too bad I just bought a lib tech t rice pro board

  56. OLLE Sävlind W says:

    LUDAS HAND … stop making super model then you LOOK what going on and there you find USA talking sneek picture for the HOMO masturbations https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhCD9qxlczo

  57. Dante Guerra says:

    Shout out to Hansy & Nils!

  58. Adam DiSalvo says:

    Thank you Burton for making my childhood what it was I had a burton freestyle board and bindings and any chance I could get I was on the hill all day long my favorite thing where handrails but that was back in the day when I was in high school now I'm 30 in the last time I was on a board with seven years ago

  59. lifeshort says:

    Radical, etc

  60. Thomas Bartley says:

    That is not Jeremy Jones at 7:39

  61. Kevin Byers says:

    Jeremy Jones and Nico Meuller look so young! (They also jumped ship, hard)

  62. Carter4240 says:

    Shaun White before he cut his hair though

  63. Tyler Michael McDonald says:

    Everything they make is good but the bindings they just dont feel right

  64. Jacob Poucher says:

    too bad burton did sell out a few years after this vid. i lived burton stuff too now i wont give them a dollar.

  65. Connor says:

    Back when vice was good

  66. nils lofta says:

    This is when you know Dimitrije Milovich is the real thing..in 1977 he was already ripping on a real surfboard not a snurfer like plank..

  67. Max Herrington says:

    That is not Jeremy Jones.

  68. goonie googoo says:

    Much love and appreciation to burton and lib-tech for growing the sport in a great way. Thank you!!!

  69. P.Trick_WD40 says:

    Ride in Peace Jake!

  70. Blaire Prince says:

    love this

  71. uride2 says:

    RIP. A great legacy created.

  72. Trevor Mekelburg says:

    Rest In Peace to a true pioneer.

  73. M_ P_ says:

    R.I.P. ride in peace, Jake. Thanks for bringing us that sport and make it big. A legend left us tonight.

  74. Samer Khudairi says:


  75. Edwin Park says:

    RIP. May you be shredding endless pow wherever you are…

  76. Ian Maynard says:

    RIP The GOAT

  77. Evan George says:

    Ride in peace. Thank you for all you did for snowboarding

  78. Thomas Wright says:

    Worked at a Burton dealer all through high school in the 90s and the sport has influenced my life greatly ever since. RIP

  79. Dacrook802 says:

    Rip it up for every one up there Jake. Thanks for giving me an unforgettable child hood.

  80. Rstar says:

    Rip the snowboarding legend you will ride on in our hearts ❤️❤️😭😭

  81. garry yankton says:

    Where would we be today if he didn’t come into this world. Snowboarding in the Olympics would have probably taken much longer to happen. He is basically the Henry Ford of snowboarding. As the next season starts, it is a good time to reflect on his impact in this world. What a time to go!

  82. oliopetrolio says:

    RIP master of pow!

  83. John K Lindgren says:


  84. Klemens Leczkowsko says:

    Will always be my idol!! RiP Jake ride em slopes in heaven

  85. Zzwhale says:

    Brought lots of joy to me and my son and daughter and nephews….

  86. Chaim Shmuel says:

    Lived right by him in five towns… legend

  87. Oskar Westerlund says:


  88. John Rankin says:

    Fucking R.I.P this guy was a legend

  89. Ryan Harvey says:

    This man changed my life for the better rip to the greatest my life would suck if it wasnt for him

  90. Rebelle Fleur says:

    9:36 Random Orthodox Jew hahaha 🙊

  91. GoNZO says:

    RIP Jake Burton.

  92. Jameson Lythgoe says:

    Rest In Peace, you will be missed 🙌🏼your a fucking legend, and made the biggest impact to the snowboarding community. Love you

  93. Johnny Humbolt says:

    RIP Jake
    Everydays a POW day in heaven bro.

  94. léo cabana says:

    Repose en paix big légende rip big legend

  95. Fred Bissnette says:

    Ridden a few burtons and always had fun rip jake

  96. Cyanotype says:

    Shred in paradise Jake Burton!

  97. Orokei says:


  98. James Tato says:

    Thanks Vice for this video….

  99. greveeen says:

    How did he die?

  100. country clubbin says:


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