Support The Moscow Times!

Building Burton Park

A mob gathered in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on April 27. Its participants were young, wearing bright colors, refreshing the Internet connection on their cell phones constantly — it was nearly 1:13 p.m. Moscow time, and 13 days of online voting were about to end in one flashing announcement. Petropavlovsk's snowboarders and skiers were about to find out if they would get their park.

Yuma LLC, snowboard manufacturer Burton's official distributor in Russia, had announced a countrywide contest that would reward 13 cities with new snow parks. Seven cities, including St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Krasnoyarsk, had been the sites of Burton snow park construction last year and were already holding competitions for their local winter sports fans. Now, 26 other spots in Russia were in the running for the next season's build. Petropavlovsk was up against cities like Vladivostok, Ufa, and Kazan, which contain populations many times the size of the entire Kamchatka region.

Petropavlovsk's youth set to work. The phrase "Burton Park" was on the tip of everyone's tongue. Social networking sites lit up with links and images dedicated to drumming up more votes. Petropavlovsk had to be in the top 13 spots to win a park; for days, it slid up and down the rankings, hitting second place, then falling out of prize consideration. The crowd on that April evening was dreading a last-minute upset.

The polls closed and everyone began to scream. Their city finished in sixth place — only a few thousand votes behind Kazan, which has 1,100,000 residents to Petropavlovsk's 200,000. After two weeks of online activism, the crowd of athletes was ready to rejoice. Kamchatka will be getting its snow park.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more