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There is a bill that will be considered this year in the Vermont Legislature to declare snowboarding the official sport of the State of Vermont. Yes, in case you were wondering, Vermont evidently has no state sport. Other states do have official sports, both team and individual. For instance, were you aware that the official sport of the State of Alaska is mushing or Maryland’s official individual sport is jousting. Hawaii’s official sport, in the individual sport category is — no big surprise –surfing. So, why then, thought a group of children at Swanton Elementary School, does Vermont not have a state sport? The children gave it a great deal of thought and research and four years ago came up with the idea that snowboarding should be the official sport of the State of Vermont. They worked hard on promoting their concept and a Bill was even introduced into the Legislature. Unfortunately it didn’t clear both houses of the Vermont Legislature – since there were those that felt that skiing was being rebuffed by the bill.
The reasons why snowboarding should be Vermont’s official sport (in no particular order)
- Jake Burton is considered the king of snowboarding and Burton Snowboards originated in Vermont.
- Vermont was the first place in the country to host a snowboarding park
- Stratton Mountain is considered the birthplace of snowboarding
- Stratton Mountain also hosts the US Open in snowboarding every year for the past 27 years and will again this year in a few weeks
- In 1982 Vermont’s Suicide Six became the first ski resort to allow snowboarding
- Kelly Clark, Ross Powers, Hannah Teeter (from the town next door) and Lindsey Jacobellis all hail from Vermont.
There is some concern that skiing is getting shortchanged if snowboarding is given this “official” designation. Folks, don’t be upset – New Hampshire’s official state sport is skiing, and we’re like brothers (or sisters) right?
Did you know that Mad River Glen is the only ski resort in the state of Vermont (and one of three in the country) that PROHIBIT snowboarding?
Snowboarding is an American sport. As American as Apple pie, some would say. It was developed here in this country and the primary developers of snowboards came from here. One of the pioneer builders of snowboards Jake Burton moved to Londonderry, Vermont in 1977 to make what later became known as snowboards. And make them, he and his company did. They were at the forefront of snowboard development and Burton, a privately held company, still commandeers the market. Burton snowboards are used by the icons of the sport, Shaun White, Hannah Teeter. Burton snowboards, known the world-over were still produced primarily right here in Vermont. Sad isn’t it that yesterday Burton announced that it will be moving its main manufacturing facility not just out of Vermont, but out of the United States completely. To Austria, the newspapers say to be incorporated into the manufacturing facility that they have had there for 25 years. Oh, and to China, too. But we won’t mention that – at least the newspapers really didn’t and evidently Burton doesn’t really want to talk about that part either.
It’s a sad commentary on the way that our country and our state handles companies that are home-grown. The decision by Burton move its manufacturing facilities out of Vermont has, evidently, been a long time coming. It’s just really disturbing that it had to come at all.
Burton will still maintain its world headquarters in Burlington, Vermont and it is expanding a production facility that will produce the newest snowboards that are not for sale but will be offered to snowboarding athletes for their use.
Vermont‘s Burton snowboards has the honor of outfitting the US Olympic Snowboard team. The uniform consists of a plaid jacket and snowboard pants that resemble vintage denim jeans. The press release describing the uniform creation and symbolism can be found here.
The tragedy of recent days regarding snowboarder Kevin Pearce has been front page news, since the Norwich, Vermont native was a halfpipe favorite. From the news updates, I understand that there is some encouraging news regarding his condition which has just been upgraded to serious, however, his Olympic run this year will not happen. Pearce was injured while he was participating in training for the Olympic trials for the halfpipe. As a mother of kids who snowboard, it is a scary, scary accident since all he did was catch an edge while landing. Best wishes to him for a speedy and full recovery.