Some call it the pinnacle US Open spectator moment. In 1996, the editors of East Infection Magazine, Mark Sullivan and Pat Bridges, decided to create their own viewing stand at the half pipe finals. Procuring 4x4s, chicken wire and cases of 40oz beer, the crew arrived at the halfpipe early morning where they were immediately challenged by Stratton staff. Quick thinking in their approach, they told them they were setting up a Burton VIP stand. Once the competition started (probably even earlier),the Cage turned into party central. As the competitors climbed the pipe, many of them hiked the left side, allowing opportunities for mid hike pulls off a beer. Rarely in sports history has the competitor and spectator had such intimate moments! At one point, Sullivan and Bridges donned Tony the Tiger and a muppet -esque costume and performed tricks in the pipe. Eventually the shear amount of partygoers outperformed the amateur carpentry skills and the cage collapsed with the inebriated crowd tumbling down. If there was a building code for halfpipe party, Chicken wire and 4x4 platforms, this one did not make it. Amazingly enough, photographer Skye Chalmers documented the mayhem of both the party and its collapse. Thankfully, nobody was hurt and the Cage remains today a defining moment in what it meant to attend the Stratton US Open during the 1990s.
Find out more in the book Snowboarding in Southern Vermont available at www.snowboardinginsouthernvermont.com
Photo credit: Skye Chalmers, Shem Roose, Hubert Schriebl , Vice: Powder & Rails, Eastern Edge Magazine