Words & Photos: Laura Austin
For most people there is an event that acts as the kick off to the snowboard season, it might be a movie premiere, opening day, or the first snowfall… but in Vermont that event is the Queen City Sessions rail jam. After a two-year hiatus, the rail jam came back with a bang. Crowds gathered around the closed off street in downtown Burlington in 30 degree temperatures to watch east coast riders throw down. Which included the likes of Yale Cousino, Luke Haddock, Sean Murphy, Hans Mindnich, John Murphy, Riley Nickerson, Brendon Rego, Jesse Curan, Dylan Dragotta, Ty Walker, Mike Ravelson… the list could go on forever. The event is kind of like an east coast snowboarding family reunion, east coasters as the MC's, judges, DJ's, riders, snow from a local ice rink, and features from the local mountains.
At first things were a bit chaotic, riders of all abilities dropping in one after another down a huge drop in ramp to the one of two setups. But slowly the field narrowed out with people being picked off one by one allowing some of the more talented to stand out. But in the end there could only be one winner, which turned out to be Shaun Murphy for his style and consistency on the rails. Dylan Dragotta walked away with 2nd place and best trick for his box to rail transfer. Dragotta was charging the whole night, with the speed he had going into the rails, it is a surprise he didn't just clear them every time. And then one of the crowd favorites, Brendon Rego, snagged 3rd place. Another stand out was Luke Haddock, who ended up getting mugged and stabbed later that night in Burlington. We wish Luke a speedy recovery.
It was great to see Burton bring back this grass-roots type rail jam, which isn't as much about big name riders and insane features, than it is about bringing the east coast shred community together to have a good time and kick off the winter. It was easy to tell that spirits were high throughout the night and it was unanimous that bringing back Queen City Sessions was definitely a good idea.
1st: Shaun Murphy
2nd: Dylan Dragotta
3rd: Brendon Rego
1st: Jessa Gilbert
2nd: Becca Ashley
3rd: Ty Walker
Big thanks to I Heart Snow Productions for this video edit.