By Brooke Geery
Amid a season of Covid-19 restrictions, Stratton Resort managed to organize and safely hold a scaled-back version of the Vermont Open on March 13-14. The event, which normally includes slopestyle, halfpipe and other disciplines, was reimagined as a two-day Banked Slalom, open only to Vermonters and students attending Vermont schools. Banked Slaloms are a unique event as they are designed be ridden by people of all abilities.
In order to keep everyone safe, no spectators were allowed and the field was broken down by age bands racing in chronological order, so everyone got an hour to lap down the turn-filled course on the East Byrneside trail. A dedicated lane for competitors on the American Express six-pack lift made it possible for each competitor to get up to five timed runs per day, with only the best time counting.
It was not possible to have better weather on Saturday, with bluebird skies and 30 degree temps, which kept the berms in great shape throughout the day. On Sunday, competitors could choose to return, or ride for the first time. Skies were gray and the wind was whipping, so this reporter chose to stay home.
Joshua Wylie, 39, of South Londonderry clocked the fastest time of the weekend on Sunday, completing the course in 1:00:16.
The event also coincided with “A Day for Jake” — a non-sanctioned event in honor of Burton Snowboards founder Jake Burton, held at every mountain and patch of snow across the globe on March 13. The Burton store in Stratton village handed out sticker sheets and arm bands, and several competitors joined in the morning at Mid Mountain Lodge to take a lap in Jake’s honor.
Due to Covid, there was no official awards ceremony, and general interactions and gatherings were limited, so I can only speak for myself, but the event was a great time! Huge thank yous are in order for Jake Burton and Stratton Resort.
Full results are available at allsportsevents.com/results/vermont-open-2021.