The Burton Mystery Series Tour made its third US stop this past weekend in the heart of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. While most people usually default to some of the more famous rope tows in the midwest, this stop showcases a different spot. Theodore Wirth Park is a massive public park central to the Minneapolis metro area. It sits ten minutes away from either the airport or downtown, contains hills everywhere for all different activities, a fresh lodge that was fundraised by the Loppet Foundation and, most importantly, it contains a FREE snowboard/ski hill.
It’s important to note that the famed 1817 crew paved the way for this location, working with the local scene to provide park rails that transformed this place into a legit place to ride. Through their non-profit “Cool Meets Cause”, they were able to donate gear to young riders that could now get access to previously expensive gear. These things set the scene to allow snowboarding to flourish for kids that wouldn’t normally get the chance.
Upon our arrival, we could immediately see the difference this place has made over the last few years and the potential it has for the future. All that aside, Burton chose to hold their Mystery Series Minnesota stop here last winter and bring it back for another year. The park crew put together an incredible banked slalom course - maybe the wildest one we’ve seen so far this year - with steep turns and deep banks. The 1817 rails were set up next to the crowd which set off an all day demo from the likes of Burton riders Grace Warner, Rob Roethler, Danny Davis aka Steely Dan, and local midwest rippers Brent Behm, Devin Desean, and Liam Johnson. Younger beginners were leveling up on the rainbow box throughout the whole day, learning their first jibs with the help of brave helpers who stood in the danger zone to make sure they were comfortable finding their balance.
Racers of all levels lined up at the top of the stairs to wait their turn to brave the course. Local legends like Pete Harvieux, Jake Moore, Craig Cameron, Peter Limberg, Vinny, and Jake Olson-Elm all made appearances in the lineup. Once everyone got two timed runs, the session moved to the rails, and then to the hip to finish the day. Liam Johnson brought some serious energy to the hip session. Danny and Rob matched the action, flying over the entire thing to close out the day. After awards, people hung out at the Trailhead Lodge with a couple of Fat Tires while a secret session happened at the upper rope tow park.
All in all, it was an incredible day. Pretty awesome to see a completely free snowboard park. Go tell your local city officials to get it together and make something like this happen in your town!