Strong winds have begun their annual blow, and the great white grip of winter is once again upon us. What that means to us here at MINI Space, is that it’s that glorious time of year where we take to the mountains to make some Creative Use of Space. Burton and MINI are back — and about to go bigger than ever.
The partnership between MINI and Burton Snowboards is returning for its second year and there’s a lot to be excited about — with over 65 thousand dollars in prize money over the course of this season’s events and two brand-spanking-new MINI Countryman up for grabs, the pot couldn’t look any sweeter. Join us on our quest to find Creative Use of Space on the slopes.
An exciting development this year is that MINI will be supporting not only the riders, but also the master craftsmen who actually design, build and shape the terrain parks that the pros use to compete.
At each of the Burton Global Open Series (BGOS) tour stops, MINI delivers $5,000 worth of support to the host mountain’s park crew and shapers. The money is then used to design and build a terrain feature inspired by the Creative Use of Space Award, to be integrated into the event’s slopestyle course. The features will occupy the same amount of real estate as a normal tabletop kicker, give or take about 15%. 1st up to bat is lead builder Ryan Neptune at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary and his shape crew, the host park team of the Burton Canadian Open.
Creative Use of Space feature, CANO
The real trick is, that at the end of the tour, the park crew that creates the most impressive feature during the series takes home five grand in cash for their creative contribution to the BGOS.
Park crews are the unsung heroes of any mountain, and the skill they exhibit as architects of the resort’s freestyle culture can bring fame and fortune to the park’s host. There is some debate, but no real question which halfpipe is the world’s most famous — it’s Breckenridge Colorado’s storied superpipe. Laax’s slopestyle course, bathed in sunlight and nestled above the valley’s cloud basin, is legendary. Burton’s Stash parks around the world have a life all their own.
These masterpieces of mountainside style and flow have progressed into something much more than a series of backhill kickers and the side product of a Saturday morning with shovels. The sport can be dangerous. As the world’s top riders go bigger and bigger, their moves more progressive, it’s the park crews that are highly responsible for the safety of the terrain the park offers. This component of the award salutes them and their dedication to creativity in the sport.
How do the riders cash in for their slopestyle creativity this year? They have to hit this unique terrain feature with an outside-the-box approach that tops that of their competitors. The kitty? $2,500 each for men and women at the Canadian (CANO), and New Zealand (NZO) comps, then a fat five grand each at the European (BEO) and US (USO) Opens.
Additionally important criteria for any successful slopestyle run in competition is the manner in which a rider integrates the different aspects of the course into a succinct, cohesive performance. The MINI CUoS features will be direct representations of this top-to-bottom approach.
Exhibit A: Sven Thorgren slaughters the BEO Slopestyle 2011
Pipe specialists also have a shot to show their take on the award, using the steep walls of their weapon of choice in a run to win big. The purse for creativity in the pipe is $2500 bucks each for men and women at the CANO and NZO, then five grand each at the BEO and USO.
Here, think fastplants, ally-oops, seatbelts and the like, not double corkscrews and 1260 to frontside 1080s — more progressive old-school than new. Although not eligible for the award, arguably the most unique take on Creative Use of Space in a halfpipe run last year was Kazuhiro Kokubo’s infamous victory lap straight down the pipe at the 2011 US Open.
The game has changed this year, and we expect the result to be a new level of creative expression in snowboarding, one that really illustrates and emphasizes the importance of all-mountain flow in a truly unique run.
Worth noting here is that scoring the CUoS award for either slopestyle or pipe at an event also secures points toward a rider’s overall BGOS score, thus giving them a better shot at the grand prize to be presented at the USO series final in Vermont. To cap off the competition, as in 2011, the top rider in both mens and womens riding across all tour stops will take home a brand new MINI Countryman.
The only thing left to do now is strap on a board and drop in — the Burton Canadian Open begins Jan. 30th. If you can’t be there, catch the live webcast at times below, learn more at www.opensnowboarding.com and watch MINI Space for all the action at this year’s Burton European Open, from February 25th to March 3rd.
Live Webcast at RedBull.tv: Halfpipe Finals: Friday, February 3rd 2012: 6:30-8:45pm MST (women’s & men’s) Slopestyle Finals: Saturday, February 4th 2012: 10:30am-15pm MST (women’s & men’s)
BGOS Presented by MINI: Tour Dates Winter Season 2011-12 New Zealand Open: August 9th – 14th 2011 Canadian Open: January 30th – Feb 5th 2012 European Open: February 25th – March 3th 2012 US Open: March 5th – 11th 2012
To see how it all went down last year, follow the links below.