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Burton U.S. Open Qualifier At Seven Springs, Pa. Jan 31-Feb. 2

Jeff Gold

To be a Burton U.S. Open Champion in snowboarding you must first qualify. Seven Springs in Pa., with its Olympic-sized half pipe, will stage the Burton U.S. Open Qualifier Jan. 31-Feb. 2 for the second year.

The timing is perfect as Seven Springs’ Anna Weltz reported a foot of new lake effect snow has fallen on the site recently, with cold temperatures creating ideal snowmaking conditions.

For the first time, qualification will offer a heat for athletes 13 and under in slopestyle and snowboarding. On the heels of open qualifying, the Rev Tour, for youngsters, will come to the resort Feb. 3-7 to continue the high level snowboarding theme.

“We have an undying commitment to skiing and snowboarding,” Weltz told SnoCountry.com. “We have progressed greatly in our terrain parks on a national level.”

Competition takes place in The Spot, which is Seven Springs’ most challenging park. Weltz told us “It’s a very friendly spectator area and easily accessible. It’ll be spectacular.”

The Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships takes on added significance this winter due to the approaching Sochi Olympic Winter Games, set to begin Feb. 7.

However, Burton rider Taylor Gold will not be able to qualify. He is headed to Russia after his selection to the Olympic team, but U.S. Open officials have invited the snowboarder with the perfect Olympic name to the finals, slated for March 3-8 in Vail, Colo. They are hopeful he can compete.

Only the top six men and three women at the Seven Springs qualifier advance to the U.S. Open. Those who have the talent will eye $20,000 in prize money, and equally as important for most, get a chance to carve a name for themselves.

Slopestyle events at Seven Springs are Feb. 1. There will be free product demos and après parties, including the official get-down at the Foggy Goggle from 8-10 p.m.

Action heats up again Feb. 2 as riders try to qualify for the legendary U.S. Open halfpipe competition. The Open made an international name for itself for many years at Stratton Mt., Vt. before moving west last winter.

All qualifying action at Seven Springs will be webcast live.

Photo: Snowboarder Taylor Gold (Jeff Patterson)

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