Riding Southern Vermont

For most Vermonters, and for those who consider themselves hardcore, when one speaks of Stratton the normal result is a cringe in disgust. This cringe in disgust is a result of the stereotype Stratton has as a mountain for affluent New Yorkers who send their children to ski school and go down the slopes in their over priced equipment, making wide sweeping S-turns to keep their speed at a minimum. Although this stereotype does hold true, Stratton still has much to offer.

Stratton’s pipe is one of the best in the East, the transitions are perfect and the walls are consistent. Stratton also has a few parks that are a lot of fun. One park located on East Byrneside is perfect if you need a little ego boost before you head into the Power Park, the park if full of medium size hips, rails, and tables, where they gives you enough air to dial in 360’s and 180’s but are small enough with landing steep enough that injuries are not a fear.

The Power Park is a professional park designed by Ross Powers. To enter the park you must first sign a release and watch a 10-minute video where pro tell you park safety tips. At the end of the 30-minute process a card is given out that gives access to the park. Although anyone who signs the release can gain clearance it does do a good job at cutting down traffic within the park.

Within the park there are enough hits to keep almost everyone happy, the smallest table is around 40 feet, with the longest being nearly 80 feet; I cased the landing on the 80 footer and spent the next 5 minutes on the side of the trail feeling like I had just punctured my lung with one of my ribs.

If you are heading to Stratton don’t expect challenging natural terrain, the pitch of the slope is mellow and the trails are wide open. If glades are your thing and you are use to the tree runs at Stowe or Jay Peak, you may want to save yourself the irritation of trying to have fun in the woods at Stratton.

The U.S. Open may be the year’s biggest snowboarding event and it is held at Stratton. Every year during the third week of March the Sun Bowl is taken over by professional snowboarders and those in the snowboarding industry, it has been said that the event is “One Big Party”; the annual turnout for the event is normally 30,000.