All of us at Chill are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our co-founder and friend, Jake Burton Carpenter who passed away peacefully on Wednesday with his family by his side as a result of complications from recurring cancer.
Jake’s constant innovation at Burton also extended to Chill. He pushed us to think outside the box and not give up on trying new ideas or approaches. Jake didn’t take no for an answer and inspired us all to dig deep and achieve the big goals he knew we were all capable of accomplishing.
Jake fundamentally understood the challenges that so many of our Chill youth face. He understood privilege and he understood how societal systems rewarded and punished youth from different backgrounds in unfair ways. He strongly believed that Chill helped youth to step out of those systems and stand tall and equal by standing sideways. Jake believed in our work and he saw us as a force for change, positivity, and inclusion.
Every year at the Burton US Open, Jake and Donna would take a few runs with our Chill youth. They’d pose for pictures, chat on the chairlift, and then ride down a challenging run with photographers and videographers, not to mention other riders, zipping down in between the Chill participants. It is always a chaotic and crazy scene and lots of fun. One enduring memory of Jake was the attention and assistance he gave to a Chill participant who was struggling to link her turns. Jake slowly made his way down the run with this young woman, giving her tips, helping her up after a fall, encouraging her, and refusing to ride down without her. It took a while, but they finally made it down together, culminating in a fist bump, a hug, and a few tears of frustration and joy from the Chill participant. And then Jake said to the young woman, “let’s do it again!” That was Jake.
Jake was more than just our co-founder and friend. His presence had a way of making us all feel comfortable, safe, and special. He was a leader to us all – a father figure that we all assumed would live forever. Jake’s DNA will live on in Chill’s approach, our curriculum, and the way we carry ourselves as an organization. His openness, his gratitude, his passion, his patience, and his positivity will be honored at every Chill program and with every step of progression Chill facilitates.
From all Chill team members and especially Chill youth, thank you for everything, Jake.