THE Snowboard Competition:
The Burton U.S. Open is a snowboard competition that has been continually held since 1982. Held every March and widely regarded as THE snowboard competition, the event is the culmination of the traditional snowboarding season. Jake Burton
, the founder and owner of [link=http://www.burton.com]Burton Snowboards has been involved since the beginning, and continues to be involved (and visible - a "Jake sighting" at the Open is about as common as seeing a cow in Vermont) to this day.
U.S Open History - The Beginning:
The first inaugural U.S. Open of Snowboarding was held in 1982 at Suicide Six
, a small ski area in central Vermont. According to the Open's website
, "Paul Graves and a tight group of Snurfer's
and snowboarders created the National Snowboarding Championships."
After bouncing (and hiking - in 1983, riders had to hike at Snow Valley, VT) around for a few years, the event landed at Stratton Mountain Resort in 1985; the event has been held at Stratton every year since.
In the early days, riders competed in ski-racing style downhill and slalom events, but that all changed in 1988 when the halfpipe made its debut.
U.S. Open History - The Open Matures:
By 1989, the mainstream media had begun to notice this sport called "snowboarding," and they started showing up in droves to cover the Open. 1990 saw Terje Haakonsen make his U.S. Open debut in the halfpipe competition; Haakonsen eventually lost to Craig Kelly, who won the event for the second year in a row. Not to be outdone, Terje would eventually win the halfpipe competition three times (in '92, '93, and '95). With snowboarding in general and freestyle snowboarding
taking the world by storm, the Open continued to play a prominent role. Bigger, better halfpipes and more progressive tricks ruled the day.
The U.S. Open Today:
Today, the U.S. Open competes with ESPN's X-Games
, the AST Winter Dew Tour
, and the Winter Olympics. Nevertheless, the Open is still considered by many to be the premiere snowboarding competition on the planet, a consideration that carries even more weight now that Burton Snowboards has folded the U.S. Open into their Burton Global Open Series
(BGOS), which takes the standings of six "Open" events (held in New Zealand, Australia, Europe, Canada, Asia, and the U.S) and awards the overall men's and women's winners $100,000 each.