VT OPEN 2005
by Paul Maraschiello


I had the pleasure of attending the Vermont Freeskiing Open again this year at Stratton Mountain, Vermont . . . and it was awesome. Top Athletes from all over competed for more than $25,000 in prize money. At the Vermont Freeskiing Open, the best freeskiers in the world competed in three events, Rail Jam, Slopestyle and Superpipe. A Big Air Demonstration took place after the competition on Saturday afternoon at Suntanner Park and it included a Best Trick prize for the most impressive trick of the exhibition.

There were over 100 top competitors at the East's biggest freeskiing event that took place March 25-27 at the Sun Bowl.

If you have never witnessed a freeskiing event, you are really missing something. I've become a big fan of these events and feel that they are some of the most exciting events in skiing.

Rail Jam
The Rail Jam finals were held on Friday, where freeskiing athletes demonstrated their agility on tabletops, rails and other obstacles in the Alpine Park. The winner for the men was Tim Russel, Tosh Peters was 2nd, Philip Casabon was 3rd and Max Peters was 4th. For the gals, it was Ashle Battersby who took 1st, Denise Jaworski 2nd, Laura Cevoli 3rd and Heather La Hart 4th.

This event always blows me away. Skiers started off by hitting the table-top and coming off for the first big jump. Then they hit a rail and did another jump. It was jumps, skiing (forward and backward) and rails all the way down the course. Some skiers took off switch and others landed switch. There were skiers throwing 500s, McTwists, 900s, 720s, Rodeos, Cork Spins, Daffies, Tail Grabs, Kosaks, Iron Crosses, Mule Kicks, Heli-Xs, Mute Grabs, Tip Grabs, Back Flips and various combinations on the jumps. Some hit the jumps going forward, some hit the jump switch (backwards) and some even landed switch and skied backwards to the next challenge. The entire day saw sick hits, flips, off-axis spins, 900s, 720s, and stuff I can't even describe at every jump all the way down the course. These sick dudes did a great job impressing the fans, even if the pants on some of them were hanging so low that they looked like they were going to moon everybody. I loved the JUMP OPOT AMUS jacket on this guy.

Slopestyle Results
Juniors - Alexis Godbout took the big prize ($1,000) with Duncan Adams 2nd, Vincent Gagier 3rd and Brandon Lewis 4th. I met Duncan Adams last year and was impressed with this little guy. I was glad to see him competing and doing so well. All these kids were great.

Men - Tanne Rainville took home $2,500 for 1st with Tim Russell winning $1,500 for 2nd, Ricky Hess picked up $1,000 for 3rd and Josh Bibby was 4th. These kids were fabulous and have a great future.

Women - Ashle Battersby was 1st winning $1,000, Denise Jaworsky was 2nd earning $500 for her efforts, Ange Van Laaren was 3rd winning $25 and Alyssa Forrest was 4th.

The Superpipe competition was intense. I saw dudes throw sick tricks that were unthinkable just a few years ago. Huge amplitude was combined with McTwists, 500s, 900s, 720s, Rodeos, Cork Spins, Daffies, Grabs, Kosaks, Iron Crosses, Zoodnicks, Mule Kicks, Heli-Xs, Mute Grabs, Tip Grabs, Back Flips and other spectacular stunts. Seeing these guys and gals take huge hits off the wall of the pipe was an awesome spectacle. Soaring high above the pipe, spinning like a top, they are more like highly accomplished circus performers than skiers.

For the Women: Angeli Van Laanen took the first place prize, Denise Jaworsky was 2nd, Jess Cumming, 3rd, and Elen Forchielli placed 4th.

For the Men: Colby West won the event with Ben Englesberg 2nd, Eric Olson 3rd and J.F. Houle 4th.

Juniors: Alexis Godbout triumphed. Parker White nailed 2nd place, Michael Scheufele placed 3rd, and Tyler Thistle was 4th.

I stayed in Manchester Center at the Bardstead Inn. They have 14 comfortable rooms, and my room was spacious and cozy. Each room has a private bath, air conditioning, cable television, individual thermostats, courtesy coffee, and firm comfortable beds... all tucked into a New England hay barn built in the 1830s. It has rugged weathered beams and the stairwell was decorated with a beautiful quilt. The Barnstead is quietly situated only two blocks from the middle of Manchester Center. Prices are reasonable ranging from $99 - $210. For reservations call: 800-331-1619, I know you'll like it.