Inaugural VT Open a hit

STRATTON - The first ever Vermont Open drew competitors from both near and far to the slopes of Stratton this past weekend.

"One guy I talked to came from Seattle, (Wash.). I think a legend that placed in the bank slalom came from Washington. There are a few from the west coast and some people just sort of based all over the northeast as well," said Meryl Robinson, Communication Coordinator for Stratton Mountain.

About a 160 competitors showed up - along with somewhere between 50 to 100 spectators - to participate in the Vermont Open, many of whom were local riders.

"We had a huge local representation," said Robinson. "We have a lot of our local legends are from here like Steve Hayes, Charlie Cavanagh. A lot of the legends on that list are Stratton locals."

Among them were Olympic snowboarder Ross Powers - a South Londonderry resident who won a gold medal for the men's halfpipe in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2002 and a bronze medal for the men's halfpipe in Nagano, Japan in 1998 - and his daughter Victoria.

Ross took first place in halfpipe for the Men's Pros category and Victoria took first place in halfpipe for the Women's Amateurs category.

In the other categories for halfpipe, Jerry Tucker placed first in Mens Legends. Rakai Tate - an SMS student and Londonderry resident - placed first in the Men's Amateurs category; Charles Recchia placed first in the Juniors category.

For the women, Amy Herman placed first in the Women's Legends category and Mary Rand placed first in the Pros.

While the halfpipe was one event that generated some excitement, one of the events that Robinson said people took a particular interest in was The Washed Up Cup - or banked slalom course - that was held on Sunday.

"I heard a lot of people who were very excited to try it because it's not something you get to do very often. There's not many courses in the area," Robinson said.

The banked slalom was one of the original events that use to take place in the 1980s and 1990s and is similar to a giant slalom course except that it has banks on each turn.

"It's a precursor to modern day boardercross," Robinson said. "But everyone was excited about that, something different that's not really scary like a Big Air is. So, it's something that's accessible to a lot of people."

Another event that drew a lot of attention was the snurfer challenge.

"It's one of the first evolutions of the snowboard, the snow surfer and that's where snurfer came from," said Robinson. "[It was] kind of the seed that started the U.S. Open too back in 1982. Paul Graves helped the snow surfing championships at Suicide Six in Woodstock and from there it kind of evolved."

The event was a return to the roots of snowboarding in which there are just wooden boards with no bindings and a rope that is used to hang on. In addition to the Halfpipe and Banked Slalom competitions, the Vermont Open also featured Rail Jam and Big Air events.

Although they may not have taken first place, Manchester residents Sophie Nywiede and Evan Sheridan also placed high in the open.

Nywiede took second in the Junior category for the Banked Slalom and Sheridan placed second in the Rail Jam in Men's Amateurs.

For a full list of the Vermont Open results, visit

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