‘Homesick’ showcases snowboarding’s Stratton roots – Boston Herald

Whether you were one of the early adopters back when skiers called you a “knuckle dragger,” or you’re newer to snowboarding and romanticize what the pioneer days of the sport (not so long ago although so much has changed), Stratton Mountain (https://www.stratton.com) and East Street Archives (https://www.eaststreetarchives.com) have done something remarkable for you to experience this coming weekend: They’ve built you a time machine.

Well, not exactly, but the vibe, the events, the people and the pure magic of HOMESICK, a Stratton event in its second year, won’t just harken you back to the early days of snowboarding; it will practically transport you back there.

The event, taking place at Stratton March 22-24, brings in many of the original big names in snowboarding – along with thousands of fans – for three days of classic competition, meet-ups, photo ops, a poker tourney and most of all: a sea of classic snowboard-loving folks both new and long to the sport savoring what they love.

The family-friendly event is free to spectators.

Homesick, which had a wildly successful launch last year, was born from a book of photos and stories written by Gary Land, a former west coast surf photographer who found his way to Vermont in the early 1990s — what is now thought of as the “Golden age of snowboarding.”

Snowboarding was pretty much born at Stratton and when Land arrived, the sport was growing at a pace that may only have been beaten as of late by Pickleball.

Right away, Land’s business partner Barry Dugan said, Land was drawn to capturing the moment. They launched East Street Archives to celebrate those roots and put the book “Homesick” out and did a small book tour in eastern cities like Boston, Burlington and New York.

“We were overwhelmed by the response in each city,” Dugan said. “We took stock of that tour and other feedback, and we said ‘this has to continue.’ We were connecting people who had not seen one another in 20-25 years, but had been part of snowboarding together in such an important decade of snowboarding’s growth during the 1990s. That was when the idea of HOMESICK was born.”

The idea hit. Last year it drew a huge crowd as well as many famed names for races that put legends against newer competitors and that celebrated the journey the sport — and the athletes — have taken. This year it goes even bigger.

On hand to compete, mingle and savor it all will be snowboarding legends from around the globe, including Shannon Dunn, Tina Basich, Jeff Brushie, Zebulon Powell, Ross Powers, and more.

The setting is perfect, but what makes it extra cool, Dugan said, is the mingling of the famed and the newer. “Having (legends) riding with the next generation of snowboarders is unique,” he said.

It’s almost like a living museum of snowboarding, as all three days guests can take in exhibitions that showcase every aspect of snowboarding history.

The “WITNESS” photo gallery on hand features snowboarding imagines from 30 photographers from around the world; a teaser to East Street Archives second book.

The Dawning Exhibit gives a look into the early years of snowboarding with tributes to Jeff Brushie, Paul Graves, and Chuck Barfoot.

The Vintage Board Room showcases snowboards from the past 40-plus years, sharing historical information and examples of board design, graphics and technology.

Those aspects, Dugan said, weave education into the event in a fun and natural way.

“The education part of what we do matters. As HOMESICK guests learn about snowboarding’s history it will be fun and entertaining,” he said.

And then there’s the big stuff: the competitions themselves.

The OG Downhill takes place on Friday, The Powers Retro Pipe on Saturday, and The Zebulon Rail Jam on Sunday.

You’ll find riders as young as 5 and as veteran as 65 and older all riding together in a fun and supportive environment – and plenty of ways to cheer them on.

There’s also a free snowboard demo event – a chance for anyone to try out the gear being used in the competitions. And no worries if you hanker to ride all over the resort – Stratton is offering $99 adult lift tickets both Saturday and Sunday.

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