Burton Snowboards officially announces the relocation of the US Open to Vail

Comments by Nate Deschenes/

Mark McMorris and Kelly Clark on location in Vail with SPT's Chris "Gunny" Gunnarson

After 30 years the US Open of Snowboarding is moving locations to Vail, Colorado.

Previously held in Stratton Vermont, title sponsor and event founder Burton is calling it a day at the East Coast resort, changing locations of the historic contest to sunny Eagle County.

“There’s no doubt that this move is going to be good for The Open”, said Burton’s Global Director of Team and Media Marketing Brian Knox. “With the growth of the sport, the amenities and venue provided by Vail are exactly what we need to take it to the next level.”

A look around Vail’s village and the new venue at a super secret press junket held prior to the weekend told me the same. If I didn’t know better I’d say they built this place for events like these. In fact, I do know better, and they did.

In recent years, it had become clear that whatever loyalties that were shared between Burton and it’s “home mountain” of Stratton were beginning to be outweighed by simple logistics and the growth of the contest scene in general. Stratton, though an East Coast institution, essentially lacks the requirements a contest like the US Open now warrants – a place where the snowboard community, media at large and innocent bystanders can post up for a week and immerse themselves one of the true resort experiences in the snow industry. With Vail’s sprawling villages, world-renowned terrain and exceptional weather, what better place to be visually accosted by the mind-boggling feats of this generations superstars.

That being said, what does this move mean for you and me?

Two things come to mind:

First, is that alongside more favorable conditions, the riders are afforded the best features available. Cold consistent temperatures, an average of 350 inches snowfall annually with ample room for snowmaking are simply no match for the unpredictable weather of the Vermont in March. This translates into progression right before our eyes, if not an altogether more radical viewing experience.

And second, it means that a trip to the US Open takes on new appeal. Beyond the chance to witness the smooth style of riders like Danny Davis and Kelly Clark rip the pipe, it means that a visit to the classic event could likely entail some epic shredding of your own. With Vail’s seemingly endless acreage and expansive back bowls, scoring a pow day here is definitely one for the books, hell, even getting lost pumping groomers all day in the crisp Colorado air is damn near enlightening.

Canadian phenomenon Mark McMorris was stoked as ever.

“This place has it all,” he said, before casually laughing, “we’re going to have a sick course, there’s this huge village for people to get wild at, and taking a look around, there’s a pretty healthy cougar population here.”

For years, the winner of the US Open halfpipe event, in essence, held the world title. Before the X Games and Dew Tour, before the Olympics, “The Open” is where we crowned the best. It was here we saw clinics of classic Haakonson style, the drunken glory of Shaun Palmer (to name but one) and more recently, Kazu Kokubo’s emotional victories in the wake of Japan’s tsunami disaster. It was also a place where part of snowboarding’s history was laid down every season, a time each year where riders from around the world put it all on the line in the name of progression and style. It was and always will be, the contest put on by the company who started it all – something that can never be relocated, restructured or reinvented.

The 31st annual US Open of Snowboarding presented by Burton runs February 25th- March 3rd 2013.

opensnowboarding.com