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Bonnie Chuong/the Gauntlet

Carving up COP with the Burton Open

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On Jan. 31 to Feb. 5, Calgary will play host to the fourth annual Burton Canadian Open snowboarding championship. The Cano is one of the largest snowboarding events in Canada and part of a series of international Burton competitions. The competition will take place at Canada Olympic Park and will be made up of two categories: halfpipe and slopestyle. The halfpipe finals will be held on Feb. 3, with the slopestyle finals taking place the following day.

Last year was full of exciting results, with Kohei Kudo from Japan winning the men's halfpipe and Kelly Clark from America taking the women's halfpipe event. One of the most diverse events is slopestyle, where competitors showcase their skills on a course which includes rails, jumps and various park features. Americans Sam Hulbert and Jamie Anderson finished first in the men's and women's slopestyle event last year.

"This year will be a lot more exciting than last year," said event volunteer Piotr Budula. "This year COP has extended the course, so we can put in bigger jumps and a longer halfpipe."

Bigger jumps mean more air and more air means that Budula is preparing for this year's event to be "the most exciting yet." He said the revamped course will definitely make this year's CANO one for the books: "I have volunteered in the past, and this year is going to be big."

Volunteers are not the only ones buzzing about this year's modified course -- many local snowboarders are also excited to check it out.

"We have been snowboarding here all week watching them fine-tune the course," said local snowboarder Alex Duchantier. "My friends and I are super stoked for this year. The course is pretty legit."

The competition is open to anyone interested in competing for the purse of $200,000, split up for each category. Anyone registered will be put through qualifying rounds and the winning contestants will advance to the semi-finals. Some big names to look out for include Olympians Louie Vito from America, Peetu Piiroinen from Finland, and Canadian professional snowboarders Jon Versteeg and Mark McMorris.

With the Olympics in Sochi, Russia just around the corner, the Burton Open series provides riders with a high-scale event to stay competitive and showcase their skill.

The event takes place from Jan. 31-Feb. 5 and gives Calgarians an opportunity to watch some of the world's top snowboarders.

"The CANO is definitely an event to look forward to every year," said Budula. "Many of these riders are current and future Olympians."

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