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The birthplace of Burton Snowboards: Londonderry recognized with historic marker

A sign outside with the title "The Birthplace of Burton Snowboards" with people gathered near in celebration.
Howard Weiss-Tisman
Vermont Public
Donna Carpenter, the current owner of Burton Snowboards, celebrates as the historic landmark sign was revealed in Londonderry on Oct. 3.

The state Tuesday honored the southern Vermont birthplace of Burton Snowboards.

That's through the dedication of a new historical marker in Londonderry, where the late Jake Burton Carpenter opened his first workshop.

Donna Carpenter is Jake's widow and the current owner of Burton Snowboards. She said the marker signifies how Londonderry, and the mountains of southern Vermont, made the company what it is today.

“It’s incredibly moving. Again, it was such a community effort that it’s really just representative of how the community has supported us all along, and how lucky we feel to be in Vermont. Vermont was always part of our DNA, and to this day, stays a part of our DNA," Carpenter said.

Jake's original shop burned down. The historic marker is just up the road, on Main Street.

A Vermont historic site marker placed outside, with a dark background and gold lettering describing "The Birthplace of Burton Snowboards"
Howard Weiss-Tisman
Vermont Public
The historic marker for Burton Snowboards, which was founded in 1977 in Londonderry. The marker was revealed on Oct. 3.

Jaime Rivas collects vintage snowboards, and he flew out from Illinois for the dedication.

He said Burton’s story has been an inspiration.

“You know if you set your mind to something, and you work hard for it, no matter how big, or small, the town is, if you really, really want it, you can make it happen. And I think Jake taught a lot of us that, and that’s why I’m fascinated by his story," Rivas said.

Burton tested his early boards in the hills of southern Vermont, before snowboarders were welcome at ski resorts.

Kelly Clark grew up in Vermont, and has since become one of the most dominant snowboarders in history.

Two snurfer boards made by Burton.
Elodie Reed
Jake Carpenter Burton built his company on the concept of Sherman Poppen's "Snurfer" board, the predecessor to the snowboard. Snurfer boards continue to sell today, too.

She attended the dedication of the marker. Clark says seeing the birthplace of Burton Snowboards is a reminder for every Vermonter to dream big.

“I think it’s incredibly important for the inspiration for Vermonters, in all different fields, to see our tiny state shape and create something that’s worldwide," Clark said.

Carpenter is credited as one of the godfathers of modern snowboarding. He helped build it into an Olympic sport, after bombing through the backwoods of southern Vermont on his prototypes.

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Howard Weiss-Tisman is Vermont Public’s southern Vermont reporter, but sometimes the story takes him to other parts of the state.
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