Words and Photos by Jamie Dillon/LineRider5 Last week, skiers from all over the globe met at Stratton Mountain for the Vermont Open. Although the weather was typical for Vermont (mostly cloudy with a little bit of everything), the competitors were ready to show their stuff and compete for a spot on the podium and a little cash in quarter pipe, slopestyle and half pipe. The quarter pipe took place at the base of Stratton with people cheering and music blaring while competitors soared out of the QP throwing all kinds of flips and spins. Athletes would bomb from the top of the in run and launch over the Salomon banners placed on the deck throwing anything from flatspins to cork 9s to Wilson flips. But the finals came to a screeching halt after Mike Wilson landed in the flat bottom, and had to be taken out on a sled. With John Symms placing 1st and winning the best trick portion of the competition with a huge flat 5, Matt Philipi in 2nd, and JP Solberg in 3rd. But in juniors, it was Byron Wells in 1st, Duncan Adams taking 2nd, Pat Baskins in 3rd and Alex Schlopy with best trick. And for women’s, 1st place and best trick went to Angeli Van Laanen, 2nd going to Jess Cumming, and in 3rd was Claudia Bouvier.

On Saturday slopestyle was held at Sunbowl on a park built specially for the U.S. Snowboarding Open and this event. With still almost totally cloudy skies and athletes ready to jump for the judges, crowds gathered on the decks of the jumps and competitors did what they came here to do. After much waiting and a few burgers, juniors competed throwing down tricks that could have won the men’s slopestyle round. Coming out on top for the juniors was Alex Schlopy, in 2nd was Duncan Adams and Hugo Pelletier placing 3rd. After the junior finals, were the women’s finals proving that progression is taking place everyday in women’s skiing, with tricks like cork 7s and big, smooth spins. After the judges tallied the points it was obvious that Kaya Turski would take the gold, with Claudia Bouvier in 2nd and Elizabeth Maney following up in 3rd. And to top it all of was the men’s final with spins on, off and pretzeled on the rails and big variations of almost every rotation ever done. But in the finals it was Sean Decker on top, Ian Cosco in 2nd and Stefan Thomas in 3rd.
On the last day of the event, halfpipe finals took place with athletes boosting out of the pipe with smooth spins and grabs on nearly every hit. The juniors were first to drop in with Byron Wells dominating the pipe in his runs. In the end Wells took best trick and1st place, Pat Baskins got 2nd and Parker White in 3rd. Next up was the women’s final with the ladies boosting out of the pipe with stylie spins and grabs. After the heats were over it was Angeli Van Laanen who won best trick and took 1st, Jess Cumming took 2nd and Jen Hudak ended up on the podium in 3rd place. After a short break, the men’s final heats started with airs above the heads of the many spectators. With a variation of switch spins, amplitude and style, the judges definitely had a tough time deciding the winner. But when the time came, it was Stefan Thomas who took the lead and won the competition, edging out Scott Hibbert who got 2nd and the winner of the best trick with a switch 1080 and 3rd place, Erik Olson. Congratulations to all the winners of the 2006 Vermont Open and I will see you there next year.