U.S. Open Snowboarding Qualifiers coming to Seven Springs

SEVEN SPRINGS – After more than a year of planning and preparation, Seven Springs Mountain Resort will be the host to the 2013 Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Qualifiers presented by MINI and the U.S. Revolution Tour.

The event will begin Friday and run through Feb. 7 at the resort in Seven Springs, Pa.

“Over the last few years we’ve put a lot of dedication and commitment into the skiing and snowboarding part of Seven Springs,” said Anna Weltz, communications manager for Seven Springs. “And through that dedication, we became friends and peers with Burton Snowboards. Through that relationship, we were asked if we were interested in hosting the event, which we were thrilled to do.”

The competition is a dual event, which will bring in the country’s best amateur skiers and snowboarders. Athletes will compete in the halfpipe, slopestyle and cross for both freeskiing and snowboarding.

At the conclusion of the qualifiers, the top five women and top 10 men in each discipline will earn a spot to move on to the semifinals at the 31st-annual Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships presented by MINI, taking place at Vail Mountain from Feb. 25 through March 2.

In addition to scoring a spot at the event at Seven Springs, the top-placing riders will earn a portion of a $20,000 prize purse.

With the event being a qualifier to the U.S. Open, and with the size of the prize purse, the competition will bring in an array of athletes. Ian Warta, event coordinator for Burton Snowboards, said the competition will feature athletes of all ages, from all across the world.

“There is a full gamut of competitors,” Warta said. “There is an international field of athletes, as there will be competitors from the U.S., Canada, Asia, Europe and South America. Also, because there is such a high-caliber of riding now in the younger athletes, there will be competitors around ages 14-15 all the way through the teens and 20s.”

Between the amount of competitors, families, friends and spectators, Weltz is expecting anywhere from 2,500 to 5,000 people to be in attendance over the next week.

“This is the first event of this caliber we’ve held,” Weltz said.

“This is is a tremendous event to have here. We are honored to be selected.”

Also, because the event is a qualifier to the U.S. Open in Vail – one of the most prestigious events for a snowboarder – the talent that will be featured will be top notch according to Warta.

“A lot of riders that come to this event because this is where you come to get into Vail,” Warta said. “And that’s the capper of the whole season.”

The event begins Friday with the practice runs for the snowboarders in the halfpipe and slopestyle. Competition for the snowboarding begins Saturday with the slopestyle and Sunday with the halfpipe. Both days begin at 9:15 a.m.

Tuesday begins practice runs for the skiing portion of the event – the U.S. Revolution Tour.

Wednesday and Feb. 7 will be the competition for the ski halfpipe and the ski slopestyle competition, respectively.

Both days begin at 9:30 a.m.