We'd been hearing rumours that the much-feted Burton European Open might not happen in 2016, and it seems that sadly the grapevine was on point. We've yet to hear official confirmation from the B, but received a press release from Laax today announcing what appears to be a replacement event – the LAAX OPEN 2016.
[UPDATE - Here's the official line from Burton]
"Thanks for checking in about the future of the Burton European Open (BEO). To confirm, we will not be executing the BEO event for the winter 2016 season. Just like we do with all of our key programs Burton is in the process of re-evaluating its European events platform, with the goal of developing a fresh new approach for future seasons. Once we have more news to share, we'll send an update on our European event plans for winter 2017 and beyond. On a side note, we will continue to work with LAAX in terms of Riglet Events, our Burton Test Center and two Burton stores opening in Laax and Flims this autumn."
The BEO has enjoyed a long, proud history in European snowboarding. From its inaugural edition in Seegrubbe, to its various homes in Fieberbrunn, Livigno, and finally Laax, it was undisputedly one of the most enjoyable and progressive contests on the European circuit. Plus it was truly an 'open' event, meaning whoever you were – if you signed up in time – you could Cinderella yourself from the qualifiers to the top of the podium, as Brage Richenberg memorably did in 2014. But the BEO was also more than a contest: it was a week in which riders, media, industry honchos and laggers from all four corners of snowboarding got to meet, hang out, watch some nuts riding, and get to shred together – it basically brought the family of snowboarding together in a way that only ISPO can do, and you certainly can't ride pow at ISPO.
But while the BEO was sick and what looks to be news of its omission from this season's calendar sucks, the good news is that Laax themselves are fully behind keeping that vibe going in 2016 with the LAAX OPEN. Scheduled for the week of January 18 to 24, we'll see Open halfpipe and slopestyle contests for both men and women, with a prize purse set at a whopping $500,000 US. This should ensure that all of snowboarding's A-listers will descend once again on one of the greatest snowboard resorts around, throw down at a killer contest, and hopefully the weather gods do their thing and make this a Powder Open to remember for us blaggers.
Here's the full PR.
Despite the brilliant weather which invites to enjoy the summer mountain activities, Europe's leading freestyle destination LAAX is already preparing the upcoming winter. The event highlight of next season will be the LAAX OPEN 2016. From January 18 to 24, 2016, the LAAX OPEN guarantees for an entire week snowboarding at its best including competitions in halfpipe and slopestyle for both, women and men, and providing a total prize money of US$500.000. Used in previous editions of the Burton European Open held in LAAX, the LAAX OPEN follows the rewarding tradition of an open format offering to all riders to participate in this international high level snowboard contest.
''The LAAX OPEN brings all snowboarders together: the top riders, the amateurs and rising stars, the next generation of jibbers and all the boarder families. It's a mountain lifestyle affair'' says Reto Gurtner, President and CEO Weisse Arena Gruppe in LAAX.
With more than two decades of hosting world class freestyle events the organizer LAAX boasts a huge background, competence and passion for the sport and its riders. Everyone, who will join the LAAX OPEN 2016 can experience freestyle lifestyle first hand.