U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships Moving From Vermont To Vail
Burton Snowboarding and Vail Mountain yesterday announced a partnership that will “bring the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships to Vail for the foreseeable future, starting this coming season,” according to Lauren Glendenning of the ASPEN TIMES. Olympic Gold Medal-Winning snowboarder Kelly Clark, who is sponsored by Burton, said that the event is “second only to the X Games in terms of the most renowned annual freestyle snowboarding competitions.” Snow Park Technologies will build the venue “at Golden Peak for the Feb. 25 to March 2, 2013 event.” The U.S. Open has spent “the last 30 years in Vermont -- the home of Burton Snowboards -- the last 27 at Stratton Mountain.” Vail Mountain Sales & Marketing Dir Adam Sutner said that the company “made the decision to move the event and approached Vail.” Glendenning notes Vail “hasn't had a major snowboarding competition since the Honda Session, which the Vail Valley Foundation canceled" after '08. Bringing the U.S. Open to Vail means that “all of the major snowboarding competitions -- the Dew Tour, X Games, Grand Prix and U.S. Open -- will now be held in Colorado.” Sutner said that from a marketing perspective, the event will “provide the opportunity for Vail to talk to a potentially new audience -- snowboarding destination guests, and specifically snowboarding families” (ASPEN TIMES, 7/31). In Denver, Jason Blevins writes while the U.S. Open “regularly draws 30,000-plus spectators to Vermont's Stratton ski area, attendance isn't Vail's primary motivation for landing the prestigious contest.” Sutner said that the U.S. Open is “an experiential linchpin" (DENVER POST, 7/31).
BUMMED OUT: Stratton Mountain President Sky Foulkes in a statement said 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” (Barre Montpelier TIMES ARGUS, 7/31). USA TODAY’s James Sullivan writes 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 history for the glamour of Hollywood” (USA TODAY, 7/31).