The Burton Blog

Amateur Snowboarding in a Polar Vortex at Burton Qualifiers Stop 1: Wisconsin

Wisconsin is known for two things: great cheese and harsh winters. So, with the thermometer reading well below zero, some of the best amateur riders in America’s Dairyland converged on the rope tow at Trollhaugen for stop 1 of the Burton Qualifiers North American Snowboard Tour.

Burton team rider, Ethan Deiss was born and raised among the farms and open country surrounding Trollhaugen. He was happy to point us in the right direction for ice fishing, pond hockey, and some world-renowned cheese curds at the Bass Lake Cheese Factory before heading to the hill for some night riding. He grew up alongside a healthy community of up and coming snowboarders, all within driving distance of both Trollhaugen and the urban sprawl of the Twin Cities.

Ethan Deiss, ready for some cheese samples.

While Trollhaugen only boasts 270 feet of vertical, its rope tow keeps the laps fast so riders can hit more features in an hour than most people do in a day. The lodge is decked out with warm vibes and all kinds of Troll figurines and references to Norwegian culture – keeping the Midwest’s Northern European heritage alive and well. On Friday nights the lifts run until 3AM, but they shut down the live music at 2AM to give folks an hour to settle down before navigating the back roads home.  

The giant down-flat rail, originally featured in the Burton U.S. Open. P: Dean Blotto Gray
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The Trollhaugen park crew created a clickity clackity keg setup for the course. P: Dean Blotto Gray

With a chance at scoring some the tour’s $20K prize purse, riders came out and lapped so hard that some broke a sweat despite the sub-zero temps. When the judges sounded off, it was Benny Milam taking the Open division, followed by Kyle Kennedy and Mike Skiba. In the 15 & under division Zeke Oppegaard took first, followed by Cooper Whittier in second, and Cole Solner in third. The top six winners in each division all earned spots in the finals at Seven Springs.

Wisconsin was just the first of six Burton Qualifiers stops. For full tour info and results, head to

Open division winners: Benny Milam, Kyle Kennedy and Mike Skiba with the Trollhaugen Troll.