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ski notebook

Stratton Mountain hosts Vermont Open

Mikaela Shiffrin is just 7 points off the World Cup slalom lead.

giovanni auletta/associated press

Mikaela Shiffrin is just 7 points off the World Cup slalom lead.

With the Burton US Open gone from the Green Mountain State for Vail, Colo., a new snowboarding contest is taking root at its former home at Stratton Mountain — the Vermont Open.

The three-day snowboard competition and music festival, to be held Friday through Sunday, has a rail jam, mini-halfpipe, quarterpipe, snurfer contest, big air, and banked slalom called the Washed Up Cup, all punctuated by a $20,000 prize purse.

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“We selected the rail jam for up-and-coming riders, the halfpipe for today’s pros, and the banked slalom for the washed-up snowboarders trying to keep the dream alive,” said organizer Steve Hayes, a former pro rider from Londonderry, Vt., who began competing in the early 1980s.

Hayes was an early US Open rider, on Jake Burton Carpenter’s first sponsored team, had a career-ending injury in 1995, owned a snowboard company with his brother Mike, and is now an athlete financial adviser.

Riders can enter a junior, amateur, pro or washed-up category. Hayes anticipates between 120 and 150 riders and says local Olympian Ross Powers is competing.

“This is a true open event where a kid from Canada or Waltham, Mass., can show up and be on the podium,” Hayes said.

Last Call at Loon

Loon Mountain in Lincoln, N.H., is also hoping to fill the hole left by the US Open with its jam-style Last Call Monday.

“If you look at the US Open or the X Games, it’s very formatted, and very structured, and there’s a lot of money behind it,” said Jay Scambio, Boyne Resorts’ terrain park development manager. “Whereas at Last Call there’s been this pretty high level of rider but we’ve maintained a grass-roots vibe.”

The mountain has hosted the laid-back event for 10 years and now offers a $5,000 prize and gear purse for three sessions — big air, rails, and mystery.

Injured Vonn wins title

Injured Lindsey Vonn won a record sixth straight World Cup downhill title without having to show up on the mountain on Wednesday. Fog canceled the race in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, and allowed Vonn to retain her title, beating Tina Maze of Slovenia by 1 point. The title comes five weeks after a season-ended knee injury. Vonn’s downhill trophy gives her a World Cup-record 17th crystal globe, overtaking Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell. The cancellation of the men’s race gave Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway his first title in the discipline. Svindal maintained his 58-point lead over defending champion Klaus Kroell of Austria. Svindal already has won the crystal globe trophy in super-G.

Shiffrin has chance

Mikaela Shiffrin turned 18 on Wednesday, but it might not be until this weekend that she gets the present she wants, a World Cup crystal globe.

The phenom sits in second place in the slalom standings, a scant 7 points behind Maze. A Saturday slalom win in Lenzerheide, would give Shiffrin the championship in her second full World Cup season that’s included five slalom podiums.

“I want the globe but we’ll see if it works out that way,” Shiffrin said through the US Ski Team. “I’m really excited for Lenzerheide. I trained there a few weeks ago and it is a really awesome hill.”

Shiffrin said it’s always exciting to have the last race be important.

“It’s nice to know that in the slalom this year there was a battle for the end and anybody could win,” she said.

Save some green

Skiers and riders can not only wear green, but save some on lift tickets on St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday. Pay $17 for passes in the White Mountains at Waterville Valley, Wildcat, and Attitash . . . Wear green and snag two-for-one tickets St. Patrick’s Day at Bretton Woods . . . Magic Mountain in Londonderry, Vt., unveils its “Get Your Irish Up” Big Contest with a jump outside the base lodge Saturday followed by Sunday’s “Feel the Magic” NE Rando Race . . . Sunday River is serving up $39 midweek lift tickets to college students for the rest of the season . . . Purchase a 2013-14 New England Pass in full and use it now at Sunday River, Sugarloaf, and Loon.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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