STOWE, Vt. (AP) — 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 complications from a relapse of cancer. 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.

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.

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

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