Up until Jake Burton’s memorial, I knew he had an enormous impact on the trajectory of my life. I had always felt that he was an important source of inspiration but, until then I had failed to internalize the full extent of how he had been a mentor to me in the way he lived his life. As my business partner Mike and I were driving from Evergreen to the airport in Denver, it began to hit me – thoughts about the first time I met Jake, and started working for him at Burton, and everything that had happened since.
My relationship with Mike, my best friend and my business partner for the last 15 years took root at Burton Snowboards. Mike worked in the marketing dept with the professional snowboarding team and I worked in the hardgoods dept developing product as a part of the engineering and design team. We both reported up to Jake Burton – our hero and mentor who founded Burton and created the ‘sport’ and the ‘industry’ of snowboarding. I had always known how influenced I had been by Jake’s entrepreneurial spirit, but on this trip, I realized that his influence reached much deeper than I had recognized before.