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Snowboarders gather at slopes to honor late visionary

Snowboarders are taking turns down a Vermont mountain on the opening day of the season as a tribute to a pioneer in the sport who died this week.

Jake Burton Carpenter died Wednesday of cancer complications. He had founded Burton Snowboards in Vermont.

Employees boarded a chairlift Friday at Snow Mountain Resort in the rain to ride to the top for a ceremony. They then took turns down the mountain.

Snowboarders stand near the bottom of a lift at Stowe Mountain Resort on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, in Stow, Vt., after making a run down the mountain from a ceremony on the top in honor of snowboard pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter, founder of Burton Snowboards, who died Wednesday. Carpenter brought the snowboard to the masses and helped turn the sport into a billion-dollar business.(AP PhotoLisa Rathke)

Resort employee Jeff Wise said it was an emotional first day.

Carpenter brought the snowboard to the masses and helped turn the sport into a billion-dollar business.

He quit his job in New York in 1977 to form his company with a goal of advancing the rudimentary snowboard.

Snowboarders come down the mountain at Stowe Mountain Resort on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, in Stowe, Vt., after a ceremony at the top in honor of snowboard pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter, who died Wednesday. Carpenter brought the snowboard to the masses and helped turn the sport into a billion-dollar business. (AP PhotoLisa Rathke)

It had been invented by Sherman Poppen and was called a Snurfer at the time.

Snowboarders stand near the bottom of a lift at Stowe Mountain Resort on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, in Stow, Vt., after making a run down the mountain from a ceremony on the top in honor of snowboard pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter, founder of Burton Snowboards, who died Wednesday. Carpenter brought the snowboard to the masses and helped turn the sport into a billion-dollar business. (AP PhotoLisa Rathke)