Words and photos: Erik Hoffman

While most of the East Coast has yet to see significant snowfall, Killington grabbed the young 2012-2013 season by the horns Saturday, December 8th, by way of committing $20,000 to their annual early season contest, Rails 2 Riches. Regardless of slow-starting winter conditions in New England, twenty grand is a fairly good reason to strap in. This year’s installment of R2R featured the likes of Dylan Dragotta, Luke Haddock, Johnny O’Connor, Shaun Murphy, Riley Nickerson, and more. Mother Nature served up a heaping portion of classic, crummy weather for the event, but despite the rain, fog, and wind, the riders did not disappoint.

Rails 2 Riches qualifiers and semis run all day, but the real competitive heat is turned on once the sun sets and the bonfires are lit outside the K1 Baselodge. The Killington park crew put together solid course, made up of a flat down rail with a slight elbow, a down-flat-down tube, and a closeout to down tube (this last feature catalyzed creative tricks and also claimed more than a few competitors). When finals began, the hometown advantage was clear, as the After Hours crew from Northern Vermont quickly manhandled the set up. Filmer Ian Post and his band of Vermont shreds showed no signs of bleariness, even though they had just driven from Colorado the day before. John Murphy made it known that they were hungry. Yale Cousino rode his way into third place with some nifty frontal flipping maneuvers, while Luke Haddock did most every 270 in the book, taking second place. Riley Nickerson rounded out the After Hours hat trick by taking first place, largely due to his amazingly consistent riding and clean style. Riley graciously accepted his prize, gave out the requisite high fives, and quickly took his oversized check, worth four grand, straight from the podium to the bar, saying, “I have never had this much money in my life”.

On the women’s side, Lily Calabrese, not to be outdone, was sent to the hospital for stiches after being “closed out” during the qualifying heat. Despite the setback, Lily still made the finals and took first place for the women, as well as a cool grand in prize money.

Men’s winners:
1st – Riley Nickerson
2nd – Luke Haddock
3rd – Yale Cousino

Women’s winners:
1st – Lily Calabrese
2nd – Mary Rand
3rd – Emma Graham