After 30 years in Vermont the Burton US Open officially was moved to Vail. It needed more space to be able to accomodate larger crowds. As one of the top resorts in North America, Vail has has everything a snowboarder could want including legendary back bowls, terrain parks and some great night life. This was bound to be an amazing event. Of course on any trip we are always testing out new gear. My setup of choice for this one was to the the 2014 Burton Barracuda with Genesis bindings and the Imperial boots.


The start is always a little rough. Did the usual fight for your seat on Southwest followed by three hours packed into a litte van on I-70 due to some rock clearing. A short while in the hotel and it was off to the Burton welcome party. The Vail Burton store was a gracious host with good drinks and food for us travelers. Everyone was hyped for the weekend. Jake came by to welcome everyone to the event. That it night it started snowing so it was early to bed hoping for some morning pow. 

Friday morning did not disappoint! Almost a foot of fresh powder for the first day of riding. On powder days it is everyman for themself. Tree runs and back bowls until our legs couldn’t take it anymore. The afternoon brought the slope style finals with snow still flying. The top three were Mark McMorris, Torstein Horgmo and Chas Guldemond. Then it was right back to riding until the chairs stopped going.

After a day of riding we continued on for a group dinner in town. When you take bunch of snowboarders to a fancy French restaurent with naked statues on the table things are going to get weird. It took a team of least six to build the masterpiece. The photo in the gallery below is version 1.0. Unfortunately the final product is not suitable for a site without an age minimum. Management said it was the finest work they have ever seen.

That night in the center of the village Burton had free outdoor concert with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. The next morning Vail Village may have been wondering why clementines were splattered everywhere but lets just say late night clementines can get intense. 

Pipe FinalsSaturday was pipe finals and the sun was out all day. After some early turns in the morning, the finals got under way. The pipe was cut perfectly so riders were going huge. The crowds energy got 14 year old Ayumu Hirano pumped to throw down a huge run, but in true snowboard comp fashion Shaun White came a long and put down a flawless first run that would end up being the top score for weekend. Top three were Shaun White, Ayumu Hirano and Louie Vito. You can tell there are great things to come from Ayumu as he gets a little older. 

After pipe finals everyone was talking about doing the Minturn Mile. I had no idea what it was so I blindly joined in. Turns out it is one of the most famous out of bounds runs in the world. After taking chair 3 to the top you hike a ways to the back side of the mountain. We had what has to be one of the largest groups to ever do this run with at least 20 of us. Starts out with a bowl run at the top, into some trees and finally into what is known as the luge. This is an extremely narrow path to follow out. You get to cap it all off at the Minturn Saloon with margaritas and chips and salsa. Keep in mind if you make this journey you will be leaving Vail and need to be ready for backcountry riding and a ride back to Vail from Minturn.

That night Burton put on another huge free concert in the village with Santigold. Riders were out in full force to celebrate what was an amazing week for snowboarding. The Barracuda paired up with the Genesis bindings is the best combination I’ve had the chance to ride in powder. The S-rocker keeps the nose floating with control coming from your back foot. Imperials are a responsive comfortable boot. Board also cruised well on groomers for the bluebird day. A perfect all around setup for the trip. Two of the best days of riding at Vail with good friends. Can’t ask for much more. Look forward to next years contest.