Another modified superpipe coming to Burton U.S. Open next month in Vail

Antonio Olivero
Summit Daily

FRISCO — Continuing the trend of modified man-made snow structures for elite snowboarding and freeski competitions, the Burton U.S. Open at Vail Mountain next month will feature a modified superpipe and a revamped slopestyle course.

Earlier this week, Burton Snowboards announced the changes to this year’s superpipe and slopestyle courses for the annual men’s and women’s snowboard event scheduled for Feb. 24-29. For the superpipe, Burton has opted for a modified design that will split two halfpipes with roller transitions in the middle.

After dropping into the course, snowboarders will be able to get about three hits in a 13-foot mini-pipe featuring six-foot tombstones before transitioning to a standard 22-foot superpipe via a pair of roller transition jumps on skier’s right and left. Once in the 22-foot pipe portion, Burton officials said snowboarders should be able to land three to four more hits.

The course design is similar to last year’s Dew Tour modified superpipe at Breckenridge Ski Resort. U.S. Olympic gold medalist and freeski legend David Wise described that course as “pipestyle” — an homage to the modified superpipe course with transition features more commonly seen in slopestyle.

As for this year’s Burton U.S. Open slopestyle competition, the course is going heavy on flowy, choose-your-line transition jumps over one big booter jump after another. The course also will feature choose-your-line rail sections up top that mimic the kind of urban riding many snowboarders — including Silverthorne resident and Olympic big air silver medalist Kyle Mack — love to spend time on.

The slopestyle course will have two urban features up top, including one that includes a rail next to stairs and a second that includes a wall ride. After those two features, snowboarders will get to the transition portion of the course, where 13-foot and 22-foot radius transition jump features will allow for snowboarders to carve efficiently into and off of angled jumps. These are the kind of transition jumps that Red Gerard mastered to win gold at the Pyeongchang Olympics and at last year’s Burton Open.

Then the course will include a more traditional high-speed rail feature, the kind Summit County’s Chris Corning has mastered with his advanced version of a rodeo flip.

It all leads to the traditional booter jump at the bottom of the course, where riders like Corning, Gerard and Mack will send their biggest tricks as each of their run’s exclamation points, sliding to a stop in the corral where the fans will be in a frenzy.