Milk Made Travel Journal: 2012 Burton US Open
When you head to any mountain town, the car ride up is exciting. You just want to get there, settle in, hit a run in the am, before the PBR fest that begins around 12:30pm. So being that this trip was to Stratton, VT for the 2012 Burton US Open, we left at 4am to hit all open roads. Cruising up windy terrain, mountains on either side, as you’re hitting 90mph by accident on the highway, it finally hits you right, smack in the face. A gigantic mountain, separated into long, windy trails covered in snow, that runs from its peak, down its entirety. The image in your head that you come to love…several skinny snow tunnels, running down a colossal mountain, that you can’t even see to the top of. YES. We’re here. And it’s the Open.
Ready to embrace the mountain; the community, the outdoors, and getting the heck out of NYC, we achieved our goal of arriving early. 8:15am early. Considering check-in to the Stratton Inn was at 4pm, we may have out-smarted ourselves. However thanks to Kelly at the front desk, she scooped us a room in no-time. So, we got the luggage situation set in the room and to the media room we went.
We pull up to the parking lot and you can’t help but gawk at the size of the halfpipe that was centrally located by the media room. Qualifiers were taking place and the riders are throwing down hard. The first few days, we held interviews with tons of the competitors. We were producing an off-the-kilter video for ESPN Action Sports with Danny Davis, Jack and Luke Mitrani, and Marco Grilc. Another fun project, we were working on was a street style piece on the mountain. The shots were gnarly and the content for the video was on point. The next few nights were a blast. Super low key but rowdy at the same time. Does that make sense? Maybe not, but to me it does. The championships for freestyle and pipe were still to come. Life was good.
The time had come and men’s halfpipe finals was here. It was time to hit the pipe and capture insane content. There are two sides that surround the halfpipe. One side is for the public and the other is reserved for photographers only. We walk to the press side, gaze upward, and see eight photographers scattered along the pipe. The security guard stops us to say, "Hey, Stratton isn’t so pleased with the width of the walkway. It is very tight. Please don’t be ‘that guy’ and fall off the mountain." Super-reassuring, I know. Slow and steadily, we climb the pipe, hop over the press barricade, and lay down on the pipe. The riders are dropping in and performing huge tricks above our heads. Literally. It was wild. It is kinda cool just sitting there and being like hey Shaun White, you’re jumping over my head right now. Shaun and Louie Vito were spectacular. Dudes were hitting huge air and landing crazy tricks, like it was nothing.
After the finals were over, we hit the podium to see these fools spray each other with champagne. Then we ran over to the press conference to interview the winners. It all was over and we didn’t give a shit. Why? Because we had to rush to grab something to eat before hitting up backstage for the Method Man and Redman concert. A huge highlight of the concert was getting the privilege of interviewing Jake Burton of Burton backstage. Being huge fans of Meth and Red, given the opportunity to hang with them for an hour and interview them as well, was the icing on the cake to an unthinkable and amazing experience, that was the Burton US Open. It’s the only place in the world, you’re going to find Shaun White and WuTang Clan in the same vicinity. And it was PERFECT.
Embrace the mountain we did. Until next year…stay rad.
Photos by Emily Allison and Nic Alegre