Riders from all over the world will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Burton European Open (BEO) from January 9-16 in Laax, Switzerland. Here’s a look back at ten years of one of the best snowboard competitions in the world.
· Since the first event in 1999, the BEO has taken place at four different resorts in three countries. The BEO started in the Innsbruck area in Austria, then travelled a bit east to Fieberbrunn, Austria, on to Livigno, Italy and found its current home in 2005 at Laax, Switzerland.
· In ten years, 64 BEO titles have been awarded to 45 different riders from around the globe. Canadian Natasza Zurek can claim more BEO first place titles than anyone else, as she won the BEO four times, including the halfpipe event at the very first BEO in 1999, the 2003 halfpipe competition in Livigno and slopestyle wins at the 2005 and 2006 BEO in Laax. Americans Ben Watts and Luke Mitrani both have three BEO Junior titles.
· The Junior events, one of the key elements of the BEO, showcase tomorrow’s stars. Since the third BEO, young and upcoming riders have surprised many people year-after-year with their outstanding skills and success stories. Peetu Piiroinen, the 2008 Burton Global Open Series Champion, impressed judges in several BEO Junior competitions before he became the top pro he is today.
· Freestyle snowboarding dominates the BEO. The 2001 BEO in Fieberbrunn was the only exception when alpine snowboarders took part as well. Since then, the focus has purely been on progressing freestyle events at the BEO.
This year’s event will definitely leave its mark on the BEO history books with the crème de la crème of freestyle snowboarding battling for the anniversary titles. Among the confirmed invited riders are Swiss style master Nicolas Müller (SUI), the Finnish armada, including 2008 BGOS Champion Peetu Piiroinen, Risto Mattila and Antti Autti, snowboarding’s very own superstar and Olympic champion Shaun White, 2008 TTR champion Jamie Anderson (USA) and Norwegian talent Mikkel Bang. In addition to $125,000 USD prize money for riders, Volvo will give away keys to two brand new Volvo XC 60s for the female and male overall winner.
For more information about this year’s BEO Birthday Bash, check out opensnowbarding.com.