Vail and Burton Snowboards confirm rumors: Burton US Open is coming to Colorado
Vail Resorts and Burton Snowboards yesterday confirmed rumors -- first reported earlier this month by the Breckenridge-based Angry Snowboarder blog -- that the Burton US Open is moving to Vail after thirty years in Vermont -- 27 of them at Stratton Mountain. The 31st annual Burton US Open will be held on Vail's Golden Peak February 25 through March 2.
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"When Burton decided to move the US Open out west after thirty successful years back east, we were delighted that they chose Vail for such an important event," said Blaise Carrig, president of Vail Resorts' mountain division, in a statement issued on Monday. "We look forward to hosting the world's best snowboarders at Vail. We believe it's a perfect marriage of two great brands in the winter sports industry and we'll do our utmost to make this a tremendously successful endeavor."
The Burton US Open, which doubles as a 6Star event on the World Snowboard Tour, is the longest-running and most prestigious event in snowboarding. The list of past winners is a who's who of the history of the sport, jam-packed with names like Craig Kelly, Terje Haakonsen, Shaun White, Elena Hight, Torah Bright, Kazu Kokubo, Danny Kass and Kelly Clark.
"The US Open is one of my favorite events by far, and I couldn't be more excited about its next evolution," said Clark at a press event at Vail announcing the news. Clark is a five-time US Open halfpipe champ who also has Olympic gold and bronze in her collection, and has been dominating women's competition at the Winter X Games, Winter Dew Tour and U.S. Grand Prix in recent years. "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 move makes Colorado the capital of the snowboarding world this year: Copper Mountain will host the first of three U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix stops in December, Breckenridge will host the Dew Tour's Mountain Championships December 13-16, Buttermilk will host the Winter X Games January 24-27, Vail will host the Burton US Open -- the close of both the Burton Global Open Series and the World Snowboard Tour -- and Copper Mountain will host the United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA) National Championships in the spring.
Jack Affleck/Courtesy Vail Resorts Snowboarders Mark McMorris, left, and Kelly Clark, right, go over plans for the US Open course design at Vail with "Gunny" Gunnarson of Snow Park Technologies.
"First off, I just want to thank Stratton Mountain in Vermont where the US Open took place for so long," said Burton founder and CEO Jake Burton, announcing the move. "Stratton not only hosted the Open for 27 years, but also played a pivotal role in making resort riding a reality. And as we look to the future progression of the US Open, I feel that Vail offers us the ideal venue to host the event. Vail is an incredible mountain and has been my snowboarding home-away-from-home for over twenty years. I have no doubt that the US Open at Vail will only grow in its legacy as the premier rider-driven event in the world."