STRATTON — This weekend some of the biggest names in snowboarding will be on Stratton Mountain for a new event that pays homage to snowboarding’s roots.
Homesick, which will debut Friday, was created by East Street Archives and photographer Gary Land, who used to take pictures for Stratton Mountain and the U.S. Open when it was held there.
“Homesick is an event that I wanted to put together. It’s like a shred and arts festival that’s going to be at Stratton,” Land said on The Bomb Hole podcast. “The reason why I call it Homesick, I was thinking about the right title and I was like ‘Look, I lived there. I lived at Stratton,’ and I felt homesick about missing the Open, missing what it was like to see all my homies and my friends and to feel part of a family. That was gone. So, I said, ‘It’s my duty to bring that back and let these people have the proper high school reunion.’ That’s what I wanted. Like, I don’t care. If you don’t want to ride, don’t ride. Just come. Let me give you a kiss and hug. That’s it man. That’s what I wanted it to be.”
The list includes riders such as Zeb Powell and Ross Powers, both of whom have their own events as part of the competition, along with legends such as Shaun White, Steve Hayes, and Luke and Jack Mitrani. There are also current pros such as Powell and Maggie Leon who are attending. In addition to that, there are also the up and comers.
“The 17 and under division is pretty filled with riders who are really excited and signed up as soon as registration went live,” said Stratton Digital Marketing Manager Andrew Kimiecik said. “So, it has been a pretty solid, past, present, and future across all aspects.”
Discussions surrounding the event have been occurring over the past two years with East Street Archives, according to Kimiecik. Planning and coordination surrounding holding the event at Stratton this weekend has been taking place since the summer.
Kimiecik said when there was a meeting between everyone involved in the middle of last year, the collective vision that was discussed has now materialized.
“Basically, everything that we talked about that day and the events and kind of the format and the locations are exactly what’s happening this weekend,” said Kimiecik. “So, I would say right from the start of the conceptualization of the idea of the event happening at Stratton it’s basically played out into what we were expecting as far as prizes, the people who were going to show up, the event format and everything has almost been spot on.”
The event begins Friday at 10 a.m. at Suntanner with the OG Downhill, a dual slalom race that includes gates, rollers, and turns on both red and blue courses. Competitors will get one run on each course and the combined time will be the final score. The first run is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. and the second run is scheduled for 1 p.m.
“That is an ode to the very first snowboard competitions. The first contest that we ever had here was basically slalom on a snowboard,” said Kimiecik.
The second day of competition will be the Powers Retro Pipe, a half pipe competition that will take place at East Byrnes Side that is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.
When appearing on The Bomb Hole podcast, Land indicated this was one of the events that he was excited to see included and there were backstories to several things included in the events over the weekend.
“To be able to bring that pipe back to Byrnes Side where it once was and a little retro pipe for people to go back and reminisce and remember what it was like to ride those eight foot pipes, dude, I mean that’s going to be great,” Land said. “Ross Powers is the Technical Pipe Director and what has he done for snowboarding and shooting that kid when he was in his early teens and seeing what he’s done with his career. Now he’s giving back and he’s a coach at Stratton Mountain School, I mean, and now to have that half pipe be reintroduced in the place where he learned to ride it in the first place, there’s so many stories.”
When competition comes to an end on Saturday, there will be a different kind of challenge. The Level Field Fund/Ross Powers Foundation will be holding a Texas Hold’em tournament. Participation is limited to 100 players. The prize money awarded will be 50 percent of the entry fees plus buy ins. The rest of the proceeds will go to the foundation, which helps athletes with ability and talent compete regardless of their economic situation.
Homesick concludes with the Planet Zebulon Rail Jam on Sunday. Powell is a graduate of Stratton Mountain School, X Games Medalist and snowboarder. For this event, he will unveil a custom rail built specifically for the event by Lane Knaack, according to Stratton’s website. Heats for the rail jam are scheduled to start at 10:15 a.m.
The rail jam was another aspect of Homesick that Land indicated on the podcast he was excited about.
“The Zeb Powell rail jam is going to be great,” Land said. “He’s really instrumental in kind of putting that together and creating this really fun experience right above the pipe, actually.”
As of Monday, Kimiecik said over 200 people had already signed up to compete between all three events. While registration for each event costs $129, or $279 for all three events, Kimiecik said there is no cost for people who want to watch the competition.
“Everything is right in the base area, so it’s all accessible by foot if you don’t have a lift ticket,” Kimiecik said. “If you have a lift ticket, you can ride up along the side of the course and watch as well.”
At the end of the weekend, when the competition has come to a close, Kimiecik said that there is one thing he hopes both competitors and spectators alike will take away from Homesick.
“I think the biggest take away would just be the community and the culture of it and I think that’s something that Stratton has done well since the start,” Kimiecik said. “So many of these riders used to come here and participate in the US Open. So many of these riders are East Coast riders that got their start. So, I think the biggest thing at the end of the weekend is people just coming back to the roots and remembering where it all started and being a part of this community in Vermont.”