Vermont Open

It was last summer that Burton Snowboards announced it was taking the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championship from Stratton Mt., Vt. to Vail, Colo. Now, Stratton is countering with an all-new Vermont Open Snowboard and Music Festival March 15-17.


The new event is presumably less expensive to mount and more inclusive. It calls for a weekend of competition for snowboarders of all ages and resumes. Riders can enter in one of four categories: junior, amateur, pro, and “washed up.” They can compete in three events over the three days, including a rail jam Friday, halfpipe Saturday and a “washed up” banked slalom Sunday.


Registration is now open online. Fee is $135, including registration for competition, entrance to official parties and events, Legends Session gift pack, three-day lift ticket, and St. Paddy’s Day brunch. 


Organizer Steve Hayes, himself a “washed up snowboarder who once competed on the pro circuit says, “It’s on!” Hayes is the owner of Hayes Brothers Snowboards and a competitor in the U.S. Open’s early days. 


“We’ve created an event so that a young kid from Londonderry, Vermont, can compete on the same stage as a well-known pro or legend,” Hayes says, noting this will be a “truly open event.”


An advisory board working with Hayes includes Olympic medalist Ross Powers, three-time U.S. Open champion Andy Coughlin, Hayes’ brother Mike, Seth Neary, and Scott Palmer.


Stratton Mountain’s event staff, with nearly three decades of experience handling the U.S. Open, will organize everything from competitions to parties and concerts. A band line-up will be announced soon. Sponsors include American Express, Avis, CBS Outdoor, Budget Car Rental, and Coca-Cola.


Ironically, Stratton Mountain is where Jake Burton Carpenter created and nursed the snowboard that became the market leader in the sport. Some of the U.S. Open weekends brought as many as 20,000 spectators to the Southern Vermont resort, contributing exponentially to the region’s economy each spring.


The Burton U.S. Open is scheduled in Vail Feb. 25-March 2, so the Stratton weekend won’t compete head-on.