US Open of Snowboarding Goes to Vail in 2013
July 30, 2012
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Today Burton Snowboards announced its US Open of Snowboarding event, the longest running snowboarding contest in history, is moving to Vail, Colorado beginning in 2013.
The US Open started in 1982 and has called Stratton Mountain home for 27 of the last 30 years. The location in Vermont and the event itself have long been associated with the roots of snowboarding.
Gold Medal Olympian halfpipe snowboarder Kelly Clark, who grew a few miles from Stratton in Londonderry, Vermont was positive about the change.
"Growing up only 9 miles from the US Open it was a huge inspiration for me to see some of my favorite riders compete. It will be a different location but it will remain the same with key features being inspiration and progression. Sometimes change is scary thing but I think we need to move forward and be positive."
Among some snowboarding purists the fear factor is losing the US Open's connection to snowboarding's DIY past, akin to the Brooklyn Dodgers betraying New York's sandlot stick ball history for the plastic glam of Hollywood. In an age of snowboarding soccer moms, X Games Glory and Olympic Gold, there's consternation that the sport’s "for the fun of it" ethos is diminished, with the US Open in Vermont acting as the last shrine to the sport's anti-establishment identity.
For three decades attending the US Open in Vermont was seen as a right of passage for competitor and spectator alike, as if visiting the alter of snowboarding's birthplace. And to win a US Open Championship was to earn a place among the sport’s most revered legends, from Terje Haaksonen to Shaun White.
With the torch now moving to Colorado, riders and fans will have to come to terms with the dichotomy of experiencing a US Open at Vail - a resort where ski racer Lyndsey Vonn trains and Burton founder Jake Burton Carpenter calls his “snowboarding home away from home.” Vail is also a globally recognized brand with world class facilities and some of North America’s best skiing and snowboarding terrain.
“We’re incredibly gratified Burton thought of us,” Andy Sutner, Vail’s Director of Sales and Marketing said. “It is a really good marriage of what I think are the two the best brands in the winter sports industry.”
For X Games slopestyle gold medalist Mark McMorris the evolution is natural.
“The US Open means a lot to me, it’s the first pro contest I’ve ever made a podium at. Burton always talks about moving forward and progression and that’s exactly what this is… it’s the US Open, it doesn’t matter where it is in America.”
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