Meet Jake and Donna Carpenter
From ditching his day job in the 1970s to making boards by hand in Vermont, on through to pushing for acceptance at ski resorts and introducing game-changing product innovations, Jake was a driving force in making snowboarding a global sport and subculture since the very beginning. He started the company in 1977 and met his future wife, Donna, five years later. They complemented each other both at home and in the office and quickly built Burton into a global brand.
While Jake worked tirelessly to expand the company and legitimize snowboarding, Donna’s first jobs included dipping snowboards in polyurethane and answering the customer service line that rang in the bedroom. In the mid-80s, Donna expanded Burton’s business to Europe and ran the company’s first international office in Innsbruck, Austria. Next, Jake asked her to make Burton a brand and employer of choice for women. Burton now has progressive parent policies, mentoring programs, and a gender-diverse leadership team.
It has all grown more than they ever could have imagined, but their privately-owned company remains true to the values that inspired it, and the constant guiding principle to always put what’s best for snowboarding first.
Early on, Jake told interviewers that his goal in life was to “make the best snowboarding equipment in the world.” As both Burton and snowboarding took off, his goals evolved to include another mantra: “Have as much fun as possible.” He and Donna built a culture around this mentality and love for the lifestyle they helped create.
Jake passed in 2019, but Donna continues to serve the community and the brand as chair of the board, and owner. Their legacy continues to grow alongside Burton’s global community, season after season, with every new product line, every unforgettable experience, and every day spent pushing progression while having as much fun as possible.