MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) – Video-camera-toting snowboarders pulled out all the stops – sawing boards in half to hide them, hiking up ski slopes in the dark, switching from skis to snowboards mid-slope – to answer a $5,000 challenge by manufacturer Burton Snowboards, which encouraged them to break the rules at “elitist, fascist” ski resorts that don’t allow snowboarding.

The contest, described by snowboard pioneer Jake Burton as a last resort to get equal access for snowboarders, elicited about 30 videos brimming with Alpine antics.

In one, a pair of snowboarders calling themselves “freedom riders” hit the slopes at Mad River Glen, in Fayston, acting like revolutionaries.

“In a land of injustice, in a world of inequality, there is hope held deep in the heart and ambitions of the freedom riders,” they say, one passing a snowboard to the other on a chair lift. The second one then rides down a trail, an American flag draped over his back.

In another, shot at Deer Valley ski area in Park City, Utah, a snowboarder hides his cut-up snowboard in his parka and pants as he rides up on a lift before scurrying into some woods and bolting it together. But he gets busted: A ski patroller spots him just as he emerges from the woods, and he’s forced to walk down the slope dressed as Zorro, defiantly holding his snowboard over his head.

At Alta, in Alta, Utah, a young rider unscrews his bindings and turns them forward so it appears from afar that he’s skiing. He later ducks in the woods, to shift his bindings.

In another video shot there, “Super Boarder” changes into a red suit and cape in the trees, saying he is “riding for truth, justice, and the American way.”

On President’s Day at Mad River Glen, a crew jumps out of the back of a van – dressed in presidents’ masks, suits and ties.

For some, the contest was a chance to show off their snowboarding skills, and their favorite music.

For others, getting there was half the challenge. One group drove 16 hours from British Columbia to Alta.

Mad River, which had the most poachers of the three, also saw about 30 snowboarders in white suits board down during the ski area’s annual shareholders’ meeting.

“Mad River Glen has been really cool with this whole thing. Nobody really cared at Alta. And Deer Valley, that’s where people got really creative,” said Nate Bosshard, Burton’s brand manager. “Nobody got arrested, nobody got hurt and there was no real negative energy in the videos.”

The videos, which are posted online, will be judged on their execution of the poach, creativity, sense of humor and production quality.

Bosshard already has his favorites. But the winners – one prize per ski area – will be chosen by a group of staff and athletes and announced next week.

Taos ski area, in New Mexico, announced it was lifting its snowboard ban after the contest was announced. The $5,000 that would’ve gone to someone poaching there will be distributed to all the participants, Bosshard said.

“Basically everybody’s a winner,” he said.


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