The kids taking pictures with cell phones are the only thing that makes it clear this classic method from Ross Powers isn’t from 1997.
As soon as Stratton got word Burton had chosen to move the US Open to Vail, they made a call to the only man who could help: Stevie Hayes. The old-school-Burton-pro-turned-Hayes-Brothers-Snowboards founder had been putting on the Washed Up Cup for the past few seasons, and US Open or no, Stratton wanted the event to continue.
Fast forward to March 14th-17th, 2013, when the first annual Vermont Open was set on Suntanner — the same trail that hosted the original race events, as well as the halfpipe before it was shunned to Sunbowl. I can honestly say that after a season of going to events of all shapes and sizes, this was one of a kind. The prize money was provided by local families and businesses — no energy drinks or corporations to be found (unless you count Stratton, who matched the 10k raised.) The field included everyone from the local Olympic gold medalist to kids barely old enough to walk. Unlike the event it replaced, it was a contest for the snowboarders in it, rather than the people watching on network TV.
A snurfer race hosted by Paul Graves? Yeah, that happened, and local legend Jerry Tucker was one those brave enough to partake.
For the old people in attendance, many now with children of their own, the VT Open was a true blast from the past, right down to a 12-foot half pipe and 40-foot “big air” jump. However, for those who were not old enough to remember a time before events with credentials and TV cameras, the nostalgia didn’t quite make up for the lack of organization, which caused things such as Saturday’s big air dragging on long after the lifts closed and the light went flat. Yes, things could have gone smoother, but for a first effort that involved just about every facet of snowboarding crammed into three short days, we have to give Steve and Stratton an A for effort.
The Washed Up Cup happened went down Sunday, and no, there weren’t any bag checks.
With the inaugural Carinthia Open, Near Canada Open and this event now in the books, it’s pretty clear that the US Open moving to Vail may just be the best thing to happen to the East Coast snowboard scene in 30 years or so. And if you don’t agree, you don’t have to come here.