Jake Burton

Snowboarding pioneer

    Photo: Photograph by Christian Witkin

Animal, a Muppet character, with orange hair and a nose ring—that was the mascot for snowboarding back in the day. In the Nagano Olympics, they spelled "snowboarding" wrong on the venue. Stuff like that would make you cringe. But I think you guys figured it out quicker than most, and I give you credit for not just giving it an initial hit and walking away from it. Clearly, there was a commitment to figuring the sport out.

As far as the ski industry was concerned, we didn't exist. Then we became a nuisance. Then we started getting into resorts, and became a threat. Next thing you know, we were the saviors.

I do feel that snowboarding is still a big brotherhood, or sisterhood, in the sense that when you see someone on a snowboard, you're going to give them the benefit of the doubt. You just have something in common—there's a bond there.

—INTERVIEW BY GORDY MEGROZ

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