2017 Burton USO is back in Vail Feb. 27 to March 4 | SummitDaily.com

2017 Burton USO is back in Vail Feb. 27 to March 4

Summit Daily staff report
news@summitdaily.com

Grab the koozies and shine your smartphone camera: the USO is back in town. And it's all free.

Now in its landmark 35th year, the Burton U.S. Open returns to Vail Mountain for a fifth straight season from Feb. 27 to March 4. The USO was born in Vermont and is still one of the final snowboard-only, pro-level competitions in the U.S. or the world, not to mention the longest-running. Last year's halfpipe and slopestyle rosters included Louie Vito, Shaun White, Chloe Kim, Jamie Anderson and Silverthorne local Red Gerard, plus dozens more. In addition to top-tier snowboarding talent, this year's event features a new entertainment roster packed full of live bands and DJs, according to a release from Burton. And it's all free.

2017 U.S. Open highlights

Things kick off on Feb. 28, with the Burton U.S. Open Junior Jam, featuring top halfpipe groms from around the world battling it out for a $2,000 prize purse. The winner also earns a spot with the pros in the halfpipe semifinals later in the week, like 2016 champ Judd Henkes, who finished fifth overall in the USO halfpipe finals after winning the Junior Jam. This season's field is expanded to include 16 boys and eight girls, ages 14 and younger.

The pro competition gets underway on March 1 with four days of slopestyle and halfpipe semifinals and finals. Up for grabs: a $343,000 prize purse. As one of the final events of the season, riders are ready to put down their most progressive runs, the release continued, and it's happened plenty in the past. Last year, Shaun White came out of semi-retirement to win the halfpipe event with a massive 25-foot backside air — possibly the biggest in a halfpipe comp, Burton claims — while Kim dominated women's halfpipe with back-to-back 1080s, Anderson won her fifth women's slopestyle title and 18-year-old Kyle Mack stepped in for injured Mark McMorries to win the men's slope.

All snowboarding events are free, no pass required. If you have a pass, Burton will have free snowboard and bindings demos in the gear village near the base of the halfpipe at Golden Peak. Burton Girls will also have gear and hosts a Girls Ride Day for the ladies, during which kids (3 to 6 years old) can session the Riglet Park, a custom learn-to-ride area.

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Along with the Golden Peak events, there's more free stuff in Vail Village with live broadcasts of the slopestyle and halfpipe events, plus giveaways and contests. Additional activities include the return of the U.S. Open Broomball tournament, exclusive U.S. Open gear at the Burton Pop-Up Shop near the base of the slopestyle course, and opportunities to meet the pros.

2017 Burton US Open Competition schedule

All events are held at Golden Peak on the east side of Vail Village. Check the Burton U.S. Open app in mid-February for exact times.

Tuesday, Feb. 28 — Halfpipe Junior Jam

Wednesday, March 1 — Men’s and women’s slopestyle, semifinals

Thursday, March 2 — Men’s and women’s halfipe, semifinals

Friday, March 3 — Men’s and women’s slopestyle, finals

Saturday, March 4 — Men’s and women’s halfpipe, finals

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USO goes iPhone

New this year, download the free Burton U.S. Open app for all information about the Vail event, including the competition highlights, event and programming schedule, competing athletes, live bands, results and more. The app is available through Google Play and the App Store starting mid-February.

If you can’t make it to Golden Peak, catch all the action online via the live broadcasts at BurtonUSOpen.com and Red Bull TV, with additional TV broadcasts of slopestyle and halfpipe finals airing nationally on FS2 and locally in Colorado on TV8.