The 2014 Burton US Open: Rider First Progression and Planned Poaching at Vail, CO

Module: gallery_album
Item: 2014 US Open
Displays the photo gallery for a selected Gallery Album.
Modern snowboarding is all about balance. On the one side, the riders who prefer small groups and mellow, hidden locations. Or the other side: thousands of eyes watching every move and spectators yelling at the top of their lungs to go bigger and see another trick. Both sides are relevant and required. The screaming masses drives sales and participation, the more elusive individuals adding to snowboarding’s unique culture.

Thirty-two years in the making, the Burton US Open once again came to life and shared both worlds from March 5 to March 9, 2014. Behind the scenes, like-minded individuals shared their energy, feeding progression and excitement, all the while wrapping up the Ticket To Ride World tour and allowing for a post-Olympic exhale.

2014 was the second time the Open took place in Vail, CO after a thirty year run in Stratton, VT. It was my first time to experience it in Vail, having attended back east in 2005 season. The vibe in Colorado felt more like a festival with the riding taking place during the day and entertainment at night. The purpose was to celebrate the sport and give back to the athletes who work hard to continuously keep progression in the spotlight and provide a show to both seasoned riders and those new to the sport. With an Open qualification format, anyone can make the finals if they ride at the highest level, and it feeds and infectious excitement about the sport of snowboarding.

And as it has been for the better part of three decades, the halfpipe finals were the centerpiece of the show. As it had last year, the stars aligned on Sunday. With a combination of blue-bird skies, spring-like temperatures and a perfect, steep superpipe, riders had nothing holding them back. And, keeping with US Open tradition, a rowdy crowd pushed up against the banners lining the pipe.

Another non-traditional tradition of the Open is the invited poaching session. An invited group of riders dropped in between the competitors to keep the flow of the event going and the crowd entertained. This year it was Scotty Lago, Danny Davis, Greg Bretz and Terje Haakonsen, along with a few others, putting fun first in the competitive environment. Sometimes these guys were taking a solo run, other times following in a close train and blasting triple overhead in quick succession. It fed the energy of a crowd that appreciated this spectacle as much as a finals run. Whereas other contests are tense affairs, it displayed how a contest run by riders and for riders can feed the stoke of the crowd—it’s not all about podium points and double corks at the Open.

Clearly, Burton is thinking about snowboarding in the big picture. Jake is a snowboarder, he loves all aspects of snowboarding and has a passion to progress everything about the sport, whether in a remote location riding deep powder, or creating and participating in a mainstream event in heart of the Rockies. And the US Open gives back to riders on all levels. Whether it be a grom excited to see the Ferguson brothers send it deep down the pipe, the tweens watching thirteen year old Chloe Kim riding against four time Olympian and seven time US Open champ Kelly Clark, the core badasses who have appreciation for Danny Davis’ style and progressive moves, or the all around stoke of Terje Haakonsen’s twenty foot backside airs when he is poaching the finals, the 2014 US Open was snowboarding for both the core and the mainstream all at once. A true expression of snowboarding’s progression, creativity, and simple fun.

This rider-first progression also happened behind the scenes: during the contest, the TTR brought riders together to hear their voices and figure out better ways to move forward for the best of competitive snowboarding. The presence of Terje speaks loud and clear, and when he talks, riders listen. His message is simple: riders need to join forces to make the best events possible and provide a proper stage to decide who should take the podium.

When it comes down to it, the US Open sets itself apart from other high level contests like the Olympics, the X-Games or the Dew Tour, because snowboarding is the only sport taking place during this prime time event. Of course, there are other great events in snowboarding, but the Open has roots, and has, for three decades, legitimately progressed competitive snowboarding without forgetting the simplicity of the sport and the camaraderie of riding with friends.

Halfpipe Results


1. Taylor Gold

2. Taku Hiraoka

3. David Habluetzel


1. Kelly Clark

2. Queralt Castellet

3. Chloe Kim

Header Image: Terje Haakonsen, poaching.


The Snowboarder's Journal mailing list

We respect your time, and only send you the occasional update.