With the exit of the Burton U.S. Open from Stratton to Vail, tenacious East Coast snowboarders hatched the Vermont Open at Stratton to take its place. Billed as a “throwback” event with a smaller Halfpipe and jumps, the event allowed great performances by all of the Stratton Mountain School snowboard program athletes and coaches.
On Friday, March 15, it was eighth-grader Rakai Tait’s turn to shine with his first-place finish in the Rail Jam for AM men. The Stratton resident stood on top of the podium again on March 16 with his first-place finish in the Halfpipe (HP) for AM men.
Senior Peter Cerulo, West Windsor, took fourth in the Pro Men division at the Rail Jam; and junior Noelle Edwards, Stamford, Conn., took fourth in the Pro Women division.
Taking top honors for Pro Men in the Halfpipe on Saturday, SMS Snowboard Program Director and Olympic Gold Medalist Ross Powers (SMS ’97). Freshman Evan Werner, Fair Haven, N.J., took second in the men’s AM division. Edwards took second in the women’s HP. In the Big Air competition, Werner claimed gold in AM class.
Also on Saturday, was a throwback “snurfer” challenge, and it was SMS Head Snowboard Development Coach Scott Johnston’s turn for the spotlight, taking first place.
On Sunday, riders took to a huge banked slalom course for the “Washed up Cup,” and Powers placed second in the Pro Men division. Werner hit the podium again for the third time that weekend with a third-place finish.
Stratton Mountain School is a ski and snowboard academy located at the base of Stratton Mountain. SMS serves students in grades 7 – 12. The SMS community of students, faculty, coaches and staff share the pursuit of academic and athletic excellence.