The Burton U.S. Open Snowboard Championships will be in Vail today through March 3, marking the end of a thirty-year run in Burton Snowboards’ home state of Vermont and the start of a new chapter in snowboarding history. That move came as a surprise to many, but Burton’s roots in Colorado run almost as deep: Jake Burton competed in some of the very first snowboard contests here in the early 1980s, then came out personally to help convince Vail and other ski resorts to allow snowboarders on the slopes 25 years ago.
The resort built its first Olympic-sized 22-foot superpipe just for this occasion, and Vail spokeswoman Liz Biebl says she believes the 600-foot-long feature, near the base of Golden Peak, may be the longest competition halfpipe in the world. “It’s pretty massive. I’m not going to go in it, let’s put it that way. I prefer to watch, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what Shaun White and all the top snow-boarders can do in it,” she says.
Practice will get under way in the halfpipe and on the slopestyle course on Monday and Tuesday, and the Burton Store in Vail Village will be hosting nightly meet-and-greet events with some of the athletes between 3 and 5 p.m. Semifinals start on Wednesday and Thursday at 9 a.m., and the main events will be on Friday (slopestyle finals) and Saturday (halfpipe finals) starting at 10:30 a.m. Free concerts include Macklemore & Ryan Lewis on Friday night at Solaris, and Skratch Bastid + Cosmo Baker on Saturday night at Dodson Arena. All events are free for spectators; for more information, including a full schedule, visit www.opensnowboarding.com.
Feb. 25-March 2, 2013