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Burton snowboarding championships head to Vail after three decades in Vermont
VAIL — The Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships will arrive at Vail Mountain in February, establishing a new home for the iconic event that has drawn the world's best snowboarders to Vermont for the past 30 years.
Vail's spectator-friendly Gold Peak will anchor the historic contest, with a 22-foot superpipe — the first for Vail Mountain — and a slopestyle course spilling into slopeside viewing areas. The village's posh Solaris development will serve as a headquarters for the nation's premiere snowboarding competition, with a snowboarding festival taking over Vail Village from Feb. 25 through March 2 next year.
That's a soft week for Colorado ski areas, just before the spring break surge. 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 featuring the biggest names in snowboarding.
Vail marketing director Adam Sutner calls the U.S. Open "an experiential linchpin" joining the ski town's Snow Daze, Winter Teva Mountain Games and spring break parties as the dynamic events that will enliven Vail as it celebrates 50 years next season.
"Our skier visit goals are probably pretty modest and inconsequential," said Sutner of his hill, which regularly hosts about 1.5 million annual skier visits. "There would be easier and less expensive ways to get people here. For me this is about the marriage of two iconic winter brands and it really allows us to speak to audiences we don't usually reach.