The Burton US Open takes place March 9-11, marking its 30th anniversary. Over the last three decades, the most prestigious event in snowboarding has accumulated some interesting historical factoids that show how the sport has evolved into its current state.
With the help of Burton, we’ve complied a list of the top 10 facts on the Burton US Open’s history that you might not know.
1. Jake Burton and his crew started competing at the very first ‘National Snow Surfing Championships’ in 1982 at Suicide Six in Vermont. According to a 1982 edition of Vermont Life Magazine, “Jake Carpenter of Manchester makes the boards he uses to surf – and also demonstrates the grace that other surfers admire.”
2. The start gate at the first event in 1982 was an old kitchen table turned upside down so riders could grab the legs and thrust onto the straight-shot downhill course.
3. Women have competed at the US Open alongside the men from the very beginning. And the US Open is proud to award equal prizes to men and women.
4. In 1985, the US Open moved to Stratton Vermont, which has been the event’s home ever since. The first races at Stratton took place on the Suntanner run near the main base lodge.
5. The first US Open halfpipe came on the scene in 1988 and was dug by hand. Now, the US Open halfpipe features 22-foot, meticulously groomed walls.
6. Every iconic rider in the sport of snowboarding has at one point competed at the US Open, including Craig Kelly, Terje Haakonsen, Janna Meyen, Jussi Oksanen, Danny Kass, Travis Rice, Kelly Clark, Jamie Anderson, Kevin Pearce, Shaun White and Kazu Kokubo, the reigning US Open halfpipe champion.
7. Shaun White made his US Open debut in 1995 when he was just nine years old, as a forerunner for the halfpipe finals. According to an interview in the February 2002 issue of TransWorld Snowboarding magazine, Jake recalls this about Shaun’s first US Open run – “We’d have little kids warm up the crowd and let them know that the serious shit was about to happen. This time was different. Simply put, Shaun went off. The whole experience reminded me of going to a concert where the warm-up act leaves more of an impression than the band you went to see.”
8. The first ever US Open slopestyle competition took place in 2002, and Travis Rice took second place, just behind Vermonter Rahm Klampert. For the ladies, Annie Boulanger claimed the Open’s first slopestyle title, followed by Hannah Teter, who earned second.
9. In 2003, Kazuhiro Kokubo became the youngest rider (at age 14) to podium in the US Open halfpipe. In 2011, Kazu won his second consecutive US Open halfpipe title and dedicated it to his native Japan, which had just been ravaged by the tsunami and earthquakes 24 hours before.
10. In 2007 when the US Open celebrated its 25th anniversary, the first ever ‘Burton Global Open Series’ overall titles were awarded to Shaun White & Torah Bright. They each received a $100,000 check from Jake Burton, which at the time was the largest single payout in snowboarding history.
You can check out the Live Webcast of the Burton US Open at Redbull.TV