Jay throws back with retro day

Ryan+Devane
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Back to Article

Jay throws back with retro day

Ryan Devane

Ryan Devane

Andrew Lanoue

Ryan Devane

Andrew Lanoue

Andrew Lanoue

Ryan Devane

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The skies were bright with sunshine during the afternoon on April 17 at Jay Peak Resort, with the mercury pushing the 70 degrees Fahrenheit mark. The trails, on the other hand, reflected the sun as they were filled with flashing neon colors for the mountain’s annual retro day.

Each year, nearing the end of the ski and ride season, Jay Peak’s rental and repair shop employees work on bringing the event together. The Retro Day Race is usually a timed slalom event that is held on the Interstate Trail on Tram Side around noon.

This year’s event was slightly altered into a Chinese Downhill event from the top of the mountain, following the last tram car at 4 pm. The swap from slalom to Chinese Downhill was because all of the mountain’s skiing race gates had been placed in storage for the season already.

The categories for the event were a women’s ski and snowboard, and a men’s ski and snowboard. The 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 are then placed on display in the Tram Side Rental Shop until the event happens again the following year.

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

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 match. 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 a known recreational industry until sometime around 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 be described as a tank of a snowboard, with a swallow-tail on the tail 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.

Throughout the day of the event, everyone was taking tram laps, doing top to bottom runs. This was followed by occasionally “chilling” and soaking up some sun on the patio in front of the Tram Haus Lodge.

We all made sure to familiarize ourselves with our new/old gear prior to the main/last run of the day. Each run, 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 360s were among some of the tricks being performed.

As always, someone busted out 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.

Once 4 p.m. rolled around, everyone was all set and ready for the retro downhill event. The rules for a Chinese Downhill event are simple: first participants in each category to reach the bottom win.

To start the event, participants were told to place their skis and boards on the snow, and then lineup at the tram door. There was a countdown and bam, everyone was off. We all sprinted to our gear and put it on as fast as we could with hopes of being the first one to the bottom.

I managed to get to my board as fast as I could and efficiently strapped in as best as I could. By this point I already had some catching up to do, as I witnessed myself trailing several snowboarders that had better starts than myself.

Once we all reached the first trail intersection, everyone banged a right hand turn onto Upper Northway. We were all greeted by a long stretch of slushy mashed potato-like snow that almost halted everyone. I realized that the fastest route through this section was to simply ride though the mini river that had formed in the middle of the trail throughout the day, due to the high temperatures melting the snow at a fast rate. With this maneuver, I managed to splash by all of the snowboarders.

The next trail that everyone split off onto was Upper Goat Run. I ended up being passed by one snowboarder at the top of this trail; I was once again halted by the heavy wet snow. I ended up tailing him until I decided to split off onto another trail with hopes of not seeing him at the bottom when I got there.

This decision might have cost me the win, as I ended up getting second place for the men’s snowboard category. I was slowed down one final time on another slushy slow trail, but still managed to get to the bottom with a quick run.

Awards and a barbeque followed the day of skiing and riding. After the initial awards were given out, a 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 thank yous that were given out regarding the donations to the raffle when the day was all said and done.

Altogether, 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.