Column: Learning to snowboard at the Burton US Open in Vail |

Column: Learning to snowboard at the Burton US Open

Watch the video of Casey learning to snowboard here.

If you’re going to learn to snowboard at any time of the year in Vail, what better time to do it than during the Burton US Open?

That’s what I did on Thursday, Feb. 27.

Keep in mind, I relearned how to ski only two months ago. But, like I wrote in that column, I’m athletic and tend to be a quick learner. My coach/instructor and our Digital Engagement Editor Sean Naylor was out showing me the ropes on the baby slopes by Gopher Hill Chair 12, and he said the same, so that’s a plus.

Coach Sean was a big help for the pointers and for a helping hand when I fell.
Ross Leonhart |

For gear, I headed to the Burton Demo Tent in the Sponsor Village. They hooked me up with the goods (read: they asked me questions about what kind of board I wanted and I said, “bruh I have no idea.”) But the staff was helpful and seemed like they knew what they were doing.

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I learned how to skate and the difference between heel edge and toe edge. When you’re learning a sport, there are always a billion different metaphors to explain the movement you’re trying to achieve. For heel edge, I learned softball ready position and pee-in-a-toilet-you-don’t-want-to-sit-on. For toe edge, I learned Michael Jackson — I see it as more of an Elvis Presley move, which I think is better since MJ has become less cool in recent years.

I fell on my butt a lot. This is in contrast with my first-time skiing in 10 years where I was proud of not falling on my butt. But I’m gonna be honest, eating it was kinda fun. It reminds me of softball, which I played for years growing up. I laughed the whole time I was falling on my face. Flipping my board around to face downhill made me feel like a squirming bug.

Things I loved about snowboarding: the boots don’t hurt and they don’t suck to walk in. And carrying one board is way easier than carrying two skis and two poles. I’m all about eliminating mindless inconveniences: I’m a phone-wallet-keys, cordless Bluetooth headphones person who likes to walk fast. I don’t have the patience to deal with the slow paces and discomfort of carrying ski gear. I do it because up until this point, I didn’t know anything else, but honestly, the gear situation might be enough to get me to switch.

And I don’t really know how to describe it, but I had more fun. I’m a regular foot, but I felt pretty goofy.

We took about five runs on the bunny hill and unfortunately had to return to work. Incredibly grateful that Sean and Ross Leonhart, who filmed the video, shared their #ProTips with me. And you might see me back out there, taking some epic falls and laughing the whole time.

Entertainment editor Casey Russell apologizes for any and all Jerry Moves she makes while maybe/probably spending more time on a board. She can be reached at and 970-748-2904.

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