Flips, Tricks, Music, and TONS OF PUPS! The first week of March is reserved for the Burton U.S. Open in Vail, Colorado – A week FILLED with fun
If the Winter Olympics just weren’t enough action for you – You should have been at the Burton U.S. Open in Beautiful Vail Colorado. For snowboarders, Burton is the end-all-be-all competition. This year, the 36th annual Burton U.S. Open took over the mountains of Vail, and all week snowboarding enthusiasts and the boarding elite (including many Olympic Gold Medalists…duh) flocked to the slopes to see and participate in some serious competition.
This year’s roster included over 50 Olympians who simply couldn’t get enough in PyeongChang – All competing at the very top of their game. 2018 was an amazing year to attend Burton considering the level of talent that took over the courses. The Burton U.S. Open is run by riders, for riders, so you know the courses are perfectly tailored to bring out the very best in the competitors — and poachers alike.
That’s the amazing thing about the Burton U.S. Open – Unlike Dew Tour or the X Games, poachers are MORE than welcome to come and take over the course between competition runs. Aren’t familiar with “poaching?” Check out our coverage from 2016’s competition for the low down. The whole point of the week-long competition is to celebrate the sport of snowboarding. The weekend is a great opportunity for skilled boarders to show their stuff, and for fans to come and celebrate the sport they love and get inspired! World class riding, mixed with fun and games and of course live music a-la the Burton Concert Series makes for an amazing week.
The best thing about the Burton U.S. Open is that it’s a week-long event. It’s best to come up on a weekday to catch all the preliminary games if you’re not into crowds. Starting early in the week the world’s best riders aged 14 and under competed in the Burton U.S. Open Junior Jam. 16 boys and eight girls battled it out on the 22-foot superpipe to get the chance to win the $2,000 prize purse. This year, Jake Canter grabbed the gold for the boys, scoring an 89.49. Mizuki Ono of Japan ended up taking the #1 spot for the girls!
While scoping out the future of the Snowboarding world is all great and good, a MAJOR focus was on the pro finals. We had to see what the returning Olympians had to bring to one of the largest halfpipes in boarding competition history. This year hosted a whopping $343,000 prize purse. With Shaun White’s historic win last year, defending his halfpipe title with a dramatic 10-point lead. Coupled with fem favorite Chloe Kim killing it as well, the pressure was ON for this year’s competitors.
A major highlight of this year’s Burton U.S. Open was that it so closely followed the Winter Olympics. Being able to see all these talented and medal-grabbing Olympians live, is an astounding and inspiring experience to be a part of. I would highly suggest it.
The best way to experience Burton is to trek your way up the half-pipe. I’ll have to admit, of all the winter sports competitions we’ve attended — Burton’s journey to the pipe is MURDER. If you plan on attending, depending on your fitness and acclamation levels, you should probably carve out at least 20-30 mins before a competition to climb your way up. and that’s just to the BOTTOM of the half-pipe — prime viewing, in my opinion, is on the pipe itself, which is another test of mental and physical will. But ultimately, totally worth it for optimal viewing of both the halfpipe finals and slopestyle finals.
As for this weekends winners, the halfpipe win was grabbed by Ayumu Hirano who scored an 89.63 for the gents — and America’s favorite snowboarding female, Chloe Kim, grabbed gold HOT off her Olympics win, scoring an 85.87. Slopestyle was an iffy competition, repping the men, Mark McMorris of California took home the win, while the female winner defaulted to reigning champ Jamie Anderson.
Slopestyle was definitely a nailbiter this year. Reigning champs and spring chickens were primed and ready to bring their all to the course. Unfortunately for the ladies, finals were unanimously voted on to be canceled due to weather conditions. Results from the women’s semi-finals stood as the final results, causing Anderson to earn her seventh Burton U.S. Open title. Granted, the ladies were bummed they didn’t get to compete in the finals. BUT – safety first, especially when you’re dealing with Olympians.
“It was cool that the Burton U.S. Open was down to let everyone have a discussion because sometimes we don’t get to have a voice…It was nice to get to congregate today and make a call for what’s best for all of us.” – Jamie Anderson
Of course, along with the competitions, there are a ton of things to do around Vail during the week. The Burton Concert Series boasts some musical favorites as a free show every night of the weekend. This weekend the likes of Borns, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley graced the stage – along with many other artists and DJs. The concert is held at the Solaris Concert Stage, at the foot of the Solaris Resort. I’ll be real… space is TINY. Our talented photographer @HobbyProPhoto (peep that Instagram) attempted to snap some pics. But by the time we got to the space the crowd was so dense, we weren’t able to get anywhere close. SO if you plan on attending next year, clear your bladder, grab all the drinks you can/need, and get to the stage early and STAY PUT.
All in all the Burton U.S. Open is an amazing week-long event that brings out the best in Snowboarding. All while it facilitating growth and inspiration in the sport. The fact that so many Olympians attended almost immediately after competing in the worlds largest sporting competition is a great testament to how huge this week is in the world of boarding.
If you aim to visit Vail, Colorado some time in your life, I would suggest checking when the Burton U.S. Open will be there. Its the perfect time of year so you can get some rides in yourself if that’s your thing. Ya know, if climate change is deciding to cooperate and bring some snow…unlike this year. Vail is also a beautiful mountain town that has tons of shops, attractions, and amazing food as well! Burton week is filled with fun, extreme sporting, and great memories. How can you resist?!