And in the third decade … Back in Stratton History
It was the ‘80s, an age of big hair and big air thanks to the launch of snowboarding.
As the decade dawned, Jake Burton Carpenter was tending bar on Stratton Mountain while making his early boards in a Londonderry barn. He would hike up Suntanner to test his designs under the cloak of darkness and before long decided to approach Paul Johnston, vice president of operations, who had ski patrol take them for a spin. And in 1983 Stratton became the first major resort to welcome snowboarding.
Stratton opened the world’s first snowboard school with the Burton team, and riders had to earn their certification to ride the lifts. They rode PowderGuns and Performers, and snowboarding would never more be relegated exclusively to the Backhill. As “Burton Boarding” grew to Olympic proportions, Jake was often quoted as saying Stratton had done more for snowboarding than any other mountain on the planet.
Sadly, the world mourned his passing in November 2019. His legacy is honored with a sign where it all started. “It was here, on the Suntanner trail, where in 1983 Jake Burton Carpenter, ‘godfather of snowboarding,’ convinced Stratton to open its lifts and trails to snowboarders, thereby opening the hearts and minds of the world to a sport that knows no bounds.”
The ‘80s brought more world-class events with the first US Open Snowboarding Championships in 1985 – pros and amateurs competed in moguls instead of the halfpipe. Stratton also welcomed the Volvo International Tennis Tournament where Andre Agassi won his first big event. John McEnroe made his return to tennis, bringing along Tatum O’Neal and a swarm of paparazzi. Ivan Lendl played 27 holes of golf after losing an early match, and a photo of the top tennis player sinking a putt was shared around the globe long before Instagram thanks to the Associated Press.
The decade also introduced big-name concerts, the Stratton Ski Classic hosted by President Gerald Ford, more trails and lifts including an upgrade to the North American, Snow Bowl and Sun Bowl doubles and the first top-to-bottom lift. The Starship XII gondola was unveiled in a gala with the band America on stage and celebrity guests including Joan Kennedy and Stratton Olympian Pam Fletcher.
Mulligans was one of the first restaurants to open in Stratton Village during the summer of ’88, along with shops, a furniture store and even a bank as new condominiums like Village Watch drew the next generation of homeowners to Stratton. Because even before Stratton had built a Village, there was a community. Friends and family, coming home to Stratton, sharing the fun, laughs, learning … the stories. We cannot wait to hear yours.
Thank you to our sponsor, GoPro, for providing the prizes for this round of Stratton Mountain Trivia!