Partnership strengthening between Vail, Burton US Open snowboard events | VailDaily.com

Partnership strengthening between Vail, Burton US Open snowboard events

Lyon Farrell performs a board slide in the men's slopestyle semifinals at the Burton U.S. Open on Wednesday, March 7, in Vail. Both town and Burton officials are viewing this year's event as a rousing success.

VAIL — Burton Snowboards and the town of Vail have become very good friends over the years. Company representatives call Vail home, and town officials are happy to have them.

The key to all this affection is the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships, held this year from March 5 to 10.

Company representatives provided the Vail Town Council with an event recap at the council's evening meeting on Tuesday, May 1.

While the number of unique visitors has stayed roughly constant over the past three years, there's growth in other areas. Company representative Marc Murphy ran through a blur of facts and figures from the event, including:

• Surveyed visitors had a median age of 34.

• Most guests traveled to Vail in groups of two or more.

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• More than half of all visitors were attending for the first time.

• There was a 9 percent increase in the number of survey respondents saying they're likely to return.

• Half of all spectators came to Vail specifically for the U.S. Open.

• More than 65 percent of spectators stayed in paid lodging.

• More than 55 percent of those surveyed stayed in Vail.

• All that economic activity resulted in about $3.7 million in spending.

Murphy's presentation also included notes on music, sponsor events, school outreach and more.

While spectator numbers in Vail have been relatively static, the event webcast and TV viewer numbers are growing.

On the Red Bull Media Network — a combination of web and social media channels — viewership exceeded 3.1 million this year, a 1.1 million-view increase.

Views on cable TV and local TV8 also grew significantly from 2017 to 2018.

All of those web and TV viewers saw Vail just about every time they tuned in.

Murphy also noted that Burton is continuing a sustainability drive to keep as much material as possible out of local landfills. Murphy said the sustainability portion of the event is particularly big on company co-owner Donna Burton's to-do list. That list includes running a zero-waste event by 2020. It also includes repairing, not replacing, 40 percent of all the company's warranty claims.

The success of the event in Vail has both company and town officials looking forward to 2022, the event's 10th anniversary in Vail.

Council member Greg Moffet joked that he wants to see "fireworks and Ferris wheels" for that event, something with which Murphy jokingly agreed.

"This is one of the partnerships we really value," council member Jenn Bruno said.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 and smiller@vaildaily.com.

By the numbers

54 percent: Visitors on their first trip to the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships.

88 percent: Visitors who would “probably” or “definitely” attend the event again.

$3.7 million: Direct economic impact of the event.

Source: RRC Associates.