One of the world’s premiere snowboarding competitions has just chosen a new home – right here in Vail, CO. The Burton US Open, eponymously named for snowboarding’s legendary figurehead, Jake Burton, announced in July that it will be moving from its longtime home in Stratton Mountain to Vail.
“I just want to thank Stratton Mountain in Vermont, where the U.S. Open took place for so long,” said Jake Burton, in a statement announcing the move. “Stratton not only hosted the Open for 27 years, but also played a pivotal role in making resort riding a reality. … Vail is an incredible mountain and has been my snowboarding home away from home for over 20 years. I have no doubt that the U.S. Open at Vail will only grow in its legacy as the premier rider-driven event in the world.”
The reasons that Burton decided to make the switch are the same reasons many East Coast skiers have transitioned to the Vail Valley for their ski vacations. Hospitable weather and snow conditions, a resort area loaded with activities, and an incredible offering of lodging, dining and nightlife options all make Vail a welcoming venue for a world-class spectator event such as the US Open. Though Stratton and Vermont are an integral part of the heritage and evolution of the snowboarding culture, the sport and competition categories are now so globally influenced that it makes logistical sense to move the event to a renowned international destination in Colorado.
This is exciting news for Vail, which has not hosted a major snowboarding competition since the final 5-Star Honda Sessions event in 2008. The 6-Star (highest level of competition) Burton US event will again attract a world-wise contingent of snowboarding aficionados to Vail, Colorado this February 25 – March 3, 2013.
Vail is ready to rise to the occasion. This past July, key players in the snowboarding community, including champion pro riders Mark McMorris and Kelly Clark, gathered in Vail to give input on plans for the competitions site at Golden Peak. Part of the event venue will be a new 22-foot half pipe in a spectator-friendly location on lower Golden Peak. “The US Open is one of my favorite events by far, and I couldn’t be more excited about its next evolution,” stated five-time US Open half pipe champ and three-time Olympian Kelly Clark of West Dover, Vermont. “Burton has always been about progressing the sport and doing what’s best for snowboarders, and I truly believe that this move to Vail will make the Open even better for the riders and the thousands of fans who come out to watch.” The slope of this run is perfect for building the long, huge jumps that riders crave and spectators love. That paired with the reliability of snowpack due to Golden Peaks recent upgrades in snowmaking make this a win-win situation for the competition.
The US Open will present an opportunity to witness a sensational level of athleticism and competition, and in typical Vail style, we want to celebrate it. Plans for a week-long festival “village” and series of live free concerts are underway. Numerous events, activities, music and parties will allow kids of all ages to be part of the fun, making this a perfect plan for this early Spring Break time in Vail. For more information and updates, please visit usopensnowboarding.com. Check out this YouTube video of Mark McMorris and Kelly Clark on their summer visit to the new Vail venue.
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