Burton US Open Snowboarding Pt. 2 | Stratton, Vermont


When I started my first post about the US Burton Open I didn't realize I had so much to say about the weekend! So I broke it out into 2 portions. My last post focused more on Nokia Connects and my experience with them. This post focuses more on the awesome-ness of snowboarding and why it goes hand in hand with creative photography.

The word to focus on in both instances (photography and snowboarding) is the word, PROGRESSION.

Let's start with Photography and it's progression from film to digital.

Since I am a mostly self taught photographer, this is certainly not the gospel. I started my photographic journey on black and white film. I learned to process the film and how to navigate the darkroom. As much as you'd think being in a dark room can only be so fun... it is absolutely one of my favorite places to be (or at least it was in college). In the past the stakes were higher in terms of exclusivity and the learning curve was a longer period of time because there was no such thing as an LCD screen to check your exposures.

Since the introduction of digital, more and more people have the ability to capture the world as they see it. I think that's great, however, in talking with some old school photogs, they're a little bitter. I get it, they learned the hard way and the "right" way. But this progression of digital (digital dark room/post processing included), just over the past 5 years, has been astounding. Photographers are now, more than ever, trying to differentiate themselves and evolving to be more unique. It's more popular to challenge the "rules" rather than follow them and photogs are really pushing each and every lighting situation to create their own unique and emotional masterpiece.

Snowboarding is very similar to the progression of photography, in regards to the evolution of equipment as well as creativity. While Burton was making snowboards out of his barn in 1977, the US Open started in 1982 in Vermont...Half pipes were introduced  in 1988 and in 1991 many riders threw inverts for the first time in competition. Snowboarding was then introduced into the Olympics in 1998 (Nagano) and in 2002 dominated the scene (booya).

This sport is so new and progressing so swiftly because of the creativity involved. See, the snowboarding community generally agrees that snowboarding is a form of self expression... therefore making it an art. For the most part you teach yourself to snowboard and develop your own style (much like photography) and then you take a few lessons to tweak your weaknesses (if you want, I never have taken a lesson - oops). Creativity is strewn across the parks, jibs and all sorts of other crazy quirky tricks they can come up with. One thing I respect most about the Burton brand is they do it for the riders. In 2007 Burton ran a "Poach For Freedom" campaign. The contest let riders submit videos of themselves poaching the four mountains that didn’t allow snowboarding at the time.

Jake Burton is the name and face of one of the world's largest snowboarding and snowboarding equipment manufacturers. During this interview (where above picture was taken) Jake was talking about his rise to bringing snowboarding mainstream. "It was a lonely trail for a while but it got better as snowboarding was more accepted".

Lonely is right! I think I get lonely sitting in my office on days I don't meet with clients... Psh, at least I have Skype, facebook and twitter to keep me company! Can you imagine how hard it must have been, with no social media, and no acceptance of the sport at most mountains, to build a company and have it be this successful?! Wowzers.



So enough of my rambling... here are some more photographs of the weekend... starting with my favorite moment as you climb the stairs to the base of the mountain... and see all the happiness that is a ski resort :)

This is Bruce, I met him while I was waiting for Kate to arrive (I didn't even ask I just started snapping away... the scene, his mooostache and all... it was so Vermont). We got to talking and he turns out to be the most connected man on the mountain! He introduced me to Hubert Schriebl, Stratton's mountain photographer since 1968. He is the neatest old man on skis that's for sure! He had his D700 around his neck with an old school 85mm on along with his vintage ski outfit. Hubert is pretty awesome and was the recipient of the Paul Robbins Ski Journalism Award which is the most kick@$$ award I've ever heard of!  Siiiick. The award recognizes a Vermonter who performs his/her skill in written, broadcast, or photo journalism with ethics, humor, good taste and always with the promotion of Vermont skiing and the larger skiing community in mind. This is a lifetime service award... um... Ski Journalism, that exists? Can I get that award!?

My set up for the day... Burton Camera backpack (complete with mtn camera equipment) + my board + glades = true love

I saw this frame as it was happening (right before she was sizing up the challenge ahead of her) and the thought of Courage popped into my head... I don't know why, and then I snapped this picture. I thought the two went hand in hand.

And she's off!

Peace, Love & Shredding,

April K