Jay Peak’s annual retro day races down the slopes

The skies were grey during the afternoon on Apr.22 at Jay Peak Resort. The trails, on the other hand, were flashing with neon colors as the mountain’s annual retro day took place.

Participants were encouraged to break out the old long straight skis and directional boards to carry on the true retro spirit. This mainly consisted of old Burton, Kemper, and Sims boards along with old Kastle, and K2 skis. The majority of the jackets and shirts that were being worn were old ski jackets and sweaters from the 1980’s to early 1990’s.

Each year nearing the end of the ski and ride season, Jay Peak hosts the annual event. The Retro Day Race is usually held on the Interstate Trail on Tram Side around noon.

The course is usually just a slalom run through gates. This year the course consisted of a banked slalom down Interstate using the snow from rollers that are all that’s left of this season’s terrain park. Skiers and rider’s sign up for the race in the Tram Side Rental Shop by grabbing a bib and writing the number down in their specific category.

The categories are simply a women’s ski and snowboard, and a men’s ski and snowboard. Top man and woman in each category get to sign their names on either the golden snowboard boot, or golden ski boot depending on their category. The boots will be on display in the Tram Side Rental Shop.

The outfit that I found didn’t entirely fit the ski culture, but it definitely fit the time period. I rummaged through closets and found an old bright green bowling shirt with a giant collar and porcelain white buttons. To go with this, I decided to go with the typical denim jeans look, because I didn’t have access to a brightly colored onesie from 1985.

To run with the outfit, I had to have gear to go along with it. A few years ago, I had a friend who managed to get a 1986, 165cm Burton Cruzer. After she showed it to me, I knew I had to have it, in hopes of riding it every retro day.

If you aren’t aware, snowboarding didn’t get its wings as an industry until 1977. This made the board unique. On one hand it was created less than 10 years after the first snowboard. On the other hand, the board was nearly 10 years older than myself. I was incredibly excited to now own it, and ride it each year at the event.

This particular model can easily be described as a tank with its swallow-tail on the end of the board and very long nose on the other end. In addition to this, it is just a little over a centimeter thick all around making it a very heavy ride.

Before everyone did their runs, we all made sure to do a few warm up runs to get acquainted with our new or old gear. Everyone was performing old ski and snowboard tricks off of everything we could find to jump. Daffies, iron crosses, shifties, methods, stiffies, and crazy looking 360’s were amongst some of the tricks being performed.

After everyone felt comfortable with their equipment, it was time to take on the slalom course.
Someone had brought an old boom box that they managed to hook an iPod up to so we could blast music from artists like Van Halen, Michael Jackson, and Journey to name a few.

Each competitor was allowed two runs and the best time of the two would be their official time.
Because the board I was riding wasn’t known for being easy to maneuver I would be lucky to make it through the course without falling, let alone getting a fast time.

Thankfully, by the time I took my run each turn around each gate had started to become rutted out with banks. These were created due to the temperature hovering around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This made the texture of the snow seem like mashed potatoes. This provided an advantage for my run. All I needed to do was use the banks as much as I could to hele maneuver my board through the course.
I pulled then pushed off of the gate to get all the leverage I could to gain speed into the first turn.

I bounced off of the bank and zipped towards the next gate. By this point, I realized that I had more of a chance than I initially thought. Due to the weight of my board, it seemed as if I was flying through the course.

Since I was able to use the banks to steer the tank of a snowboard, all I needed to really focus on was going as straight and fast in-between the gates as I could. I reached the last gate and pointed my board towards the finish line, and made it through without falling. When results were posted I somehow managed to finish in second place for the men’s snowboard bracket.

Following the day of skiing and riding was a barbeque, and awards. After the initial awards were given out the raffle took place that consisted of many items, ranging from ski and ride gear to water bottles and stickers. As always there was a long, long list of sponsors and thanks that were given out regarding the donations to the raffle when the day was all said and done. All together Retro Day is always one of the few good things that comes with the end of each ski and ride season at Jay Peak Resort.