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Since 1983, one of the most-respected snowboarding competitions in the world has been gracing the slopes of Stratton Mountain. Every year, the Burton U.S. Open draws competitors from all over the world to southern Vermont, where they put on one of the sport’s biggest spectacles in a weekend full of halfpipe, slopestyle, and rail jam competitions as well as parties and amazing prizes.

This event marks the final stop in Burton’s Global Open Series and also the culmination of the men’s TTR World Snowboard Tour. A special class of the competition is open to aspiring riders looking to pursue their dreams of going pro. Preteen riders can also compete in the Junior Jam, and attendees and pros alike get a peek at who to look for in future seasons. 

Get to the mountain early to beat the ticket lines, make a few morning laps on the lift, then slide over to the events for the afternoon. There’s no escaping the party so head to the heart of it at Grizzly’s for aprés, light chow and late night sessions on the dance floor. Rest up at the Long Trail House, just a five-minute stumble from the lifts. The night of the rail jam is the biggest party of the weekend, complete with a huge outdoor concert, so come rested and ready to let loose.

What: 30th annual Burton U.S. Open

When: March 4-11, 2012—finals are on the weekend, March 9 and 10

Admission: Free for spectators, but a lift ticket is required for slope-side viewing

To compete: Register here to be added to the pre-qualifier wait list

Off-slope attractions: Interactive exhibits in the Sponsor Village, food vendors, shopping

Parking: Get there early and park at the Sun Bowl, carpooling highly recommended

Photo Ops: Ride the Sunrise Express (in the Sun Bowl) for a bird’s eye view of the action

Best way to watch: Buy a lift ticket and ride alongside the features

Similar events: US Freestyle Championships, March 20-26, 2012

Other tips: Slopes are less crowded mid-week during quarter- and semi-finals

Grizzly’s: Serves aprés wine and beer, long list of local brews, wood-fired pizza and other fare

Atmosphere: Alpine lodge, large outdoor deck, view of the mountain, indoor and outdoor bars, dance floor, stage with a DJ or live band

Location: Above Main Base Lodge, next to Gondola

Long Trail House: Studio, one and two bedroom condos

Amenities: heated outdoor pool, sauna, outdoor hot tubs, high-speed internet, ski storage, underground parking, walk to lifts

Easy Package: $139 (studio condo) per person, per night double occupancy, two-night minimum, includes lift ticket, rentals and lunch

Reservations: 1-800 STRATTON or click here

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