Showing its roots in skate culture, snowboarding behemoth Burton has thrown down the gauntlet in the war against restrictive ski resorts. Gone is their years-old (kinder, gentler) "Open Minds, Open Mountains" campaign, and in its place is "Sabotage Stupidity," a call-to-action encouraging boarders to "poach for freedom."
As more and more college kids are ditching the tequila slammers and wet T-shirt contests of Cancun for chillier spring break destinations like Mammoth and Salt Lake City, snowboarding's popularity is undeniable - unless you're one of the four remaining ski resorts in North America stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the sport: Vermont's Mad River Glen, Utah's Deer Valley and Alta resorts, and New Mexico's Taos (which will finally end its ban in mid-March).
The reward for sneaking snowboards onto the forbidden slopes? Besides fulfilling their patriotic duty by taking a stand against elitist resorts, the crew who submits the best video documentation of their defiant moves will receive a $5,000 cash prize per poached resort. Winners will be selected based on creativity, editing, execution and theme, according to Burton brand manager Nate Bosshard, who says the site received over 1 million hits - more than they've ever had - in December when the campaign launched. (The odd thing, though, is that it's dreadfully hard to find the page burton.com/poachers on the main site, and there's been no link to it on the Burton home page since December.)
Visitors to the site can read through poacher news bulletins and recently submitted peer videos of masked boarders looking like they stepped out of Project Mayhem, as well as the occasional public urination.