Ride On, Jake

BY: MATTHEW SELMAN

Skiing, one of the most ancient and well known sports around the world. You can go to the midwest of the United States, and they will know what skiing is, you can go to urban Tokyo, and they will know what skiing is. Then there’s snowboarding, most kids in this generation will know exactly what a snowboard is. Except many don’t realize how new snowboarding really is to society. Less than a generation ago there weren’t snowboarders anywhere, in fact, they didn’t even exist. Of course there were the fun little boards that an uncle would ride down for a good laugh, but there was nothing like there is today. Jake Burton, the pioneer of snowboarding, dropped out of college and moved to Vermont in the late 70’s and began to build some of the first prototypes of what we now know as a snowboard. For a while these boards had no bindings, you would simply stand on the board like a skateboard and hang on to a rope attached to the front of the board to keep your nose up.

With Burton being able to produce a working board, he just needed to be able to sell them. Burton struggled selling his boards to potential buyers on the East Coast because riders were completely used to a skiing feel (feet separated instead of locked together) On the West Coast, it was a whole different story. People in the West had been surfing, and riding skateboards for many years by now. When he found where to sell them, many new surfers wanted to try out the new sport, Burton was able to sell his boards at a decent flow. According to Vice News, many ski resorts and skiers disliked snowboarders because of their recklessness and ways of shredding the snow up. With time, skiers and snowboarders started getting along better, and ski resorts began to make their resorts more snowboard friendly. Due to this, snowboarding has become a global phenomenon. Burton saw snowboarding as a future for all people and decided to pursue it. On November 20, 2019, Jake Burton passed away. Rightfully so, the entire snowboarding community was heartbroken to hear the news. Without Burton’s drive and passion for snowboarding many people would be lost. Every year on March 13, snowboarders of all ages and sizes go out and ride for Jake. Whether it’s locking into your board and just standing in your living room or getting out into the powder and tearing it up,  everyone rides for Jake. In less than a century, snowboarding has taken over the winter olympics, gets the best ratings for every competition, and it’s all thanks to Burton’s dedication to the art of the snowboard. 

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