Vyto Starinskas / Staff FILE Photo
A snowboarder rides a Burton board during the practice for the U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships at Stratton Mountain in 2011.
After a 27-year run, Burton Snowboards is relocating its U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships from its home state of Vermont to Vail, Colo.
The 31st U.S. Open will take place at Vail’s Golden Peak from Feb. 25 to March 2, 2013.
“First off, I just want to thank Stratton Mountain in Vermont where the U.S. Open took place for so long,” Burton founder Jake Burton said in a news release Monday. “Stratton not only hosted the Open for 27 years, but also played a pivotal role in making resort riding a reality.”
He continued that Vail met the event’s future needs and was an “ideal venue.”
Asked to elaborate on what advantages Vail has over Stratton, Greg Dacyshyn, Burton’s chief creative officer, said the event needed to evolve and the move was to a significant degree based on rider feedback.
“After looking at different venue options, it became clear that Vail has a lot to offer both the riders and the thousands of spectators who come out to watch the US Open,” Dacyshyn wrote in an email. “Not only does Vail have over 5,000 acres of some of the best riding terrain in the world, it also has extensive experience in hosting world-class events. In addition, Vail shares our vision for making the US Open a week-long celebration of snowboarding, and they have the resources and amenities to make this vision a reality.”
Stratton Mountain President Sky Foulkes said in a statement that while disappointed, the resort respected Burton’s decision “and wish them the very best as they embark on the next evolution” of the U.S. Open.
Foulkes also took note “of the role Stratton and Vermont have played in the progression of snowboarding, and look forward to a continued partnership with Burton” along with other snowboarding events at the resort.
The absence of the event is likely to have an impact on area businesses, some more than others.
Jon Woodell, manager of the Mountain Riders in Bondville, said Monday the shop never sold a lot of snowboards and equipment during the March event because it was held toward the end of the season.
“We definitely get a boom of a lot of T-shirts and stickers and stuff like that,” Woodell said, “but I think the people who are really going to be affected are the hotels and the food industry.”
Started in 1982, the Burton U.S. Open is the longest-running snowboarding competition in the world.
Before moving to Stratton, the event was held at Suicide Six and then Snow Valley.
Planning for the event at Vail is already in progress. It includes receiving final U.S. Forest Service approvals to relocate Vail’s halfpipe to a more desirable location on Golden Peak. In addition, Golden Peak’s base area will be transformed into a “carnival-like village,” including live concerts for riders and spectators.
In the same news release, five-time U.S. Open halfpipe champ and three-time Olympian Kelly Clark, of West Dover, said it was a positive move for the sport. “Burton has always been about progressing the sport and doing what’s best for snowboarders,” Clark said, “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.”
Burton Snowboards is headquartered in Burlington, with offices in California, Austria, Japan and Australia.
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