After blazing through Europe, the Burton World Tour crew kicked it off in North America on October 7th in New York City. Eleven team riders were in the Big Apple for two days worth of media appointments, photo shoots, parties and shop autograph sessions. Trevor Andrew, Kjersti Buaas, Kelly Clark, Romain De Marchi, Keir Dillon, Victoria Jealouse, Luke Mitrani, Ross Powers, JP Solberg, Hannah Teter and Shaun White invaded New York to get fellow riders stoked for the upcoming season.

The first day in New York kicked off with some key media appointments, and then the riders headed over to Blades, Boards and Skate in lower Manhattan for an autograph session. Despite the fact that the sidewalk in front of the shop was completely torn up due to construction, a solid crowd of eager fans awaited the riders inside the shop. The team was signing everything from boards to backpacks, with a few hundred posters in between. Everybody who came got a chance to chill with the riders in a mellow atmosphere, just away from the craziness outside on Broadway.

Later that night, the riders headed over to the club Show, located just off Times Square in the theatre district. By the time the riders arrived, the club was fully packed with snowboarders, shop kids, fans and industry people. Plenty of media and snowboarding heavies were on the scene, including Anon rider David Benedek who came to check out the party and video premiere. Everyone crowded around the huge screens filling the cabaret-style club to watch the premiere of Burton’s Promo Video, “The Process. As soon as the video started, the crowd erupted in cheers. Trevor and Romain’s parts got quite a few shout-outs, as did the Kids’ portion of the movie.

Besides the premiere of “The Process, the other highlight of the evening was when Romain De Marchi and three Playboy Playmates unveiled Burton’s Limited Edition Playboy Custom 58, created in honor of Playboy’s 50th Anniversary. Romain thoroughly enjoyed taking several up-close and personal shots with the Playmates, showing off the board and giving plenty of love to the ladies.

Off to Jersey

The next day, the Burton team braved rush hour NYC traffic to visit Specialty Sports in SpecialJersey. After avoiding car accidents the year before, this trip went much smoother and the riders showed up to quite a scene in the Spesh parking lot. The grill was in full effect with food for all, kids were throwing down a skate session on the sidewalk, stacks of people were lined up for autographs and there was a great vibe in the air.

Looking at the huge line, the riders wasted no time getting down to business with the autograph session. There were definitely some superfans in the crowd, with familiar faces from the NYC stop the day before, and some kids who we’d seen at the party as well. Even with all the action, there was still something missing… Shaun White was still at Nickalodeon for a live TV show, and was running a little behind schedule. The stack of Shaun White posters and an empty chair drew lots of questions from the eager kids who were after his autograph.

Mountain Creek was at the event, and held an impromptu best trick contest on the sidewalk for a free pass. It was like Rodney Mullen vs. Daewon Song, Jersey style. There was one kid rocking a ghetto bike with no front tire, doing tailwhips and barspins. No bling bikers here…

At one point, this huge crowd seemed to appear from nowhere. It took a second to notice Shaun in the middle of the crowd, leading everybody towards the autograph tent like the snowboarding Pied Piper. For a minute, things got a little out of control. It was almost like Japan, with tons of kids screaming “sign this Shaun, and “can I get your autograph Shaun while there was still a huge line of people waiting to meet Trevor, JP, Romain, Victoria, Hannah, Luke, Keir, Kelly and Ross.

The only place to hide from the madness was on the mini ramp, inside the cage. Luke got busy with some of the local crrew, and threw down a few runs on the metal ramp to keep the action going. With “The Process playing on the shop’s home theater system, the inside of the shop seemed as crazed as the outside.

After hours of signing autographs and posing for photos with fans, the crew was exhausted and ready to head back to the city. Big props go out to Bill Yago and everybody at Specialty Sports for pulling together a great event and a great crowd.

Next stop…Burlington Vermont

After the hustle and bustle of New York City, it was refreshing to land in the green mountains of Vermont for a stop on the Burton World Tour.

The day’s events started out at the new Burton Flagship Store, where a ton of people built up outside a couple hours before things even got rolling. The local Burton crew pulled together an amateur rail jam to keep the crowd entertained while they waited for the team to arrive. Riders were throwing down a barrage of tricks on the 20′ straight rail, with a mix of tech rail riding and burly slams in the Burton parking lot. The peeps from SoBe fed more energy into the crowd with their Adrenaline Rush drinks.

After a little waiting to build up some suspense, the Burton team rolled up in a fat stretch Excursion. Although they got out of the wrong side of the limo, escaping the cameras and avoiding the red carpet, it was still quite an entrance.

The riders were greeted by quite possibly the longest line of people I’ve ever seen for an autograph session, which stretched way back into the new Flagship store. Between all the people shopping for new gear, and the crowds waiting to meet the team, it was a pretty hectic scene in the lobby of Burton HQ.

After three straight hours of signing autographs, the team had to jet for a quick dinner before making an appearance at the premier of the Burton promo video “The Process. The Burlington crowds were stoked on the video, and were treated to a surprise showing of Iron Curtain III: Abandon Ship, hot off the DVD burner.

With the theater scene wrapping up, it was off to The Thai Bar, Parima for the afterparty. The inside was a virtual who’s who of Burton insiders and local snowboard industry heads, with everybody from Rider Service all the way up to the President of the company out celebrating with the team. Everybody was rocking to the sounds of DJ Rich Medina and DJ Izza until the wee hours of the morning, with free drink tickets flowing through the bar at a steady pace.

Thanks to everyone for coming out to the stops so far, and to everybody who made the parties happen. SoBe Beverages, Snowboarder Magazine, Playboy, Philips (for the Key Ring Cameras), Show, the hometown crew at Burton and anybody else I forgot… you know who you are.

-LG