Wednesday, March 25, 2009

US Open Slope Semi's

Last week our neighbor Walter treated us to some boiled sap from his sugaring cauldron. Warm sweet tea water. Sugaring season came right in early in the week and is wrapping up for the year. Meanwhile another great if only 28 year old southern Vt spring tradition also wrapped up on sunday. There was the Jr Jam for Josh and Makayla. It looked like a ton of fun and they were boosting bigger than I've seen either of them go all year. And there was Eric and Hunter in slope practice and semi finals. While the half pipe is still called the main event at The Open, slopestyle is day in, day out what more riders do every day. It's not so much of a spectator event. The course is just too big for that without the jumbotron. To the delight if coaches and competitors alike this year the top of the slopestyle venue featured- along with the lap top for score updates, a flat screen monitor to view entire runs going down from the start tent. Coaches, friends, teammates huddled around and made room for others in front of the screen. It was rabid yet not greedy love of snowboarding-"excuse me, there you go I just needed to see that run...". Hoot's, holla's, sincere polite claps and serious head nods. It is a striking character of the US Open. No where else do I see the same mix of competitive effort and mutual respect. It as if everyone there is made to feel better by ANYONE riding well not just if they ride well or their friend rides well. That stoke was there from others when Hunter took the rodeo so deep and when Eric landed the cab nine so quietly. That mutual stoke was there for Chas Guildemond who was on another planet right from practice. Jeremy Thompson was doing sevens and nines with a style that combines power and balance to swing. For Me the riding was as always a beautiful thing but I am struck the most this year by watching two young snowboarders step up to the challenge of staying settled while getting more and more fired up. They never reached too far. they landed their runs. they learned a new trick on practice days and landed again. To watch two of the better snowboarders you know get better by the day is to watch young men be willing to step up. Tons of respect for that. Anytime anywhere. Respect too to everybody who bibbed up and put in their bids this year. This group of riders has aquitted themselves as respectably as any group ever at the US Open. You did it at Home here, You did it having fun and you did it because you have worked hard and earned it. Thanks. That wraps up the Open. Three more days of east coast training and we break for colorado. Enjoy it, keep it up and stay in touch.

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