Fashion Weather: The Life and Times of a Mountain Festival
In a resort town, one of the most popular topics for conversation is always the weather. This week in the village of Stratton, Vermont is no exception, with weather particularly important because it directly affects the snow conditions facing the riders. Between bouts of slush and freezing rain, the dark days were looking bleak.
But the theme for this year's open is channeling Jerry Garcia with spirits running high. We're finding color at every corner, on every character. From slopeside fashion to the merchant tents and deep into the nightlife, one thing's for certain; Stratton, Vermont is a groovy place.
On the slopes the kids were rocking neon from head to toe, and apparently mismatched 80s fashion is still totally radical. Mullets and ponchos reminiscent of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure are all the rage. The hottest commodity on the mountain is the bright orange beanies the Analog guys are throwing into the crowds. Through the misty, rainy clouds, bright, orange-headed riders are darting all over the slopes.
The colorful tents of the local merchants surrounded the base of the mountain like a Woodstock revival. When I asked one of the vendors if I could take a photo he replied, "Anything for Mr. Burton for being so nice and letting us come here and sell our things." His local glasswork gleamed brightly in the rainy atmosphere, tempting passerbyers with a sly wink.
Tibetan flags flapped in the wind from the tents of local organic food stands. Despite the gloom overhead, on the ground, the Burton US Open is a festival of color.
At night, the crowd gets even more colorful. Psychedelic- themed après-parties brought out black lit posters, lava lamps and velvet Elvises galore. Glow-in-the-dark peace signs and rainbow unicorn posters adorned the walls for good measure.
The athletes were glowing themselves - from a fulfilling day of competition and prizes - while brightly made-up girls gathered in groups hoping to meet one of the winners. As the hours pass, the nights quickly turn from cosmic to hyphy as the parties pop off. Ice trophies, rosy cheeks and laughter all were aglow.
Not to let the cold, icy snow conditions throw us off, we learned one thing on this adventure: that Vermonters are a warm people full of life and color. Thanks Mr. Burton, you're one groovy dude!
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