Burton US Open Environmental footprint

Mar. 4, 2015

Vail Burton US Open

The best snowboarding-only event in the world brings famous athletes, music acts, and a non-stop party to Vail in early March. The work to reduce the Open’s environmental footprint began long before the party…


Next to the emissions generated by organizers, athletes, and spectators traveling to the event, the electricity needed by the snowmaking guns that create the half pipe and slopestyle course is the biggest source of CO2 for the Burton US Open.

burton us open snowmaking

Snowmaking on Vail’s Golden Peak in early October


In a partnership with Ski and Snowboard Club Vail and Holy Cross Energy, Vail invested in super efficient automated SMI Pole Cat fan guns on Golden Peak that are positioned to cover both the slopestyle and halfpipe sites. These pole mounted fan guns use 1/10th of the electricity than previous snowmaking equipment. High tech software systems allow the guns to be automated and controlled off site to make snow when the conditions are right, reducing overall run time. In the summer of 2014, Vail also completed re-grading of the half pipe location. Re-using fill dirt from a local hotel construction (in the process preventing it from being trucked out of the valley), the top of the pipe now needs less snowmaking. Projected savings are more than 3000 kwh each year.

In Colorado, the majority of electricity is generated by coal fired plants, so these energy reducing efforts have real bottom line implications for the Burton US Open’s CO footprint.

Recycling and composting

Recycling is both a vital waste management practice and a baseline expectation at Vail and in the Town of Vail. In fact, the Town of Vail recently passed an ordinance requiring recycling within town limits. Please help us reduce waste by placing your bottles, cans, and other recyclables into the proper receptacles at all event venues!

On a daily basis, Vail also composts or feeds local pigs with the kitchen prep scraps at all on mountain facilities. We are also composting all prep areas at the VIP areas of the Burton US Open.


Please take public transportation, car pool, and make use of the extensive free Vail bus system while you are visiting! While avoiding the hassle of parking and traffic, each eliminated vehicle trip also reduces the overall event footprint, making the US Open more sustainable. Get involved Visit the Protect Our Winters (POW) tent in the sponsor village to learn more about how you can join in the fight against climate change.

To further encourage environmentally responsible transportation, Burton is running a “Creative Commute’ contest for all attendees in order to reduce the carbon footprint of getting to the event. Find a creative and sustainable way to get to Vail, and you could win one of many awesome prizes including VIP passes to the closing night concert, guess passes and lift access to the event, and our limited 2015 US Open backpacks. Just tag your creative commute photos on Instagram with #‎BurtonUSOpen to enter your submission.

Burton Creative Commute