The Legendary Banked Slalom and Mt. Baker are two things I’ve heard a lot about in my 20 years of shred and for some reason unbeknownst to me I some how managed to avoid both of them until last week. Mind blowing really, but what’s more mind blowing is the fact that an event this pure still exists in our sport. Lately, we’ve grown accustomed to made for TV events versus made for snowboarding events, we know just what to say and just where to look come camera time and have forgotten to look after the roots of our quickly sprouting sport. Or at least most of us have, Gwyn and Amy Howart and the amazing people at Mt. Baker have managed to continue to cultivate culture over cash and are keeping the stoke alive and well in the snowboarding community. Maybe I’m glorifying it, but an event that claims to be legendary and then actually is is something worth glorifying, don’t ya think?
Okay, so enough with the pontificating bullshit. This event is hands down the coolest most feel good event/contest/gathering/party out there. It’s three days of riding crazy ass banks and slashing pow in between runs with new friends and old friends and dare I say legends. It’s four nights of drinking beers in the lodge and eating at the only restaurant in town with everyone in the event. It’s about game nights with your new international besties because there is no internet, TV or cell phone service to suck up all your time.
It’s about cheering everyone on in all 12 of the categories from six year olds to sixty year olds and waiting in anticipation as the winners are announced Sunday afternoon. It’s about putting it all on the line for a roll of duct tape and some bragging rights. It’s about thinking you were super fast only to find out you got beaten by a girl. It’s about celebrating local artists and heroes, from northwest sculptors to the lodge line cooks. It’s about sharing stories and lines and laughs and of course, it’s about the contest….Fawcett
For an event that’s been called the “not contest contest” there were some pretty serious peeps in the starting gate and some serious faces of defeat at the end of the day, but then again when you put a few highly competitive Olympians, home turf locals and old guys in the ring who knows what’s gonna happen. Anyway, you must come to this event to ride the banks, stand around, talk some shit, make some friends, ride some pow and have a go at taking home a gilded roll of duct tape all your own. I took a million and one snaps and didn’t do the awesomeness of the week justice, but there’s always next year…
GB inspecting the banks from above..the gathering.Dirksen rides the high line into 2nd place..local ripper and owner of his own Golden Duct tape, Lucas DeBari looks on…in between contest runs, pow seeking missile, ricky bower gets some slashes contest bib and all.mellow morning hike.mandatory northwest beard…gretch, bow, greeny, gilbert and me…..photo credit Tom Burt. NBDone armed bandit….Maelle Ricker crushes the course.
Let’s talk about Maelle for one second here….yeah, yeah she’s the 2010 Olympic Gold medalist and has been crushing boarder crosses for a longtime now and all that jazz but WTF? The girl is a few weeks out of hand surgery on her broken paw and is waiting for the nerves to come back in her shoulder after a crash at world champs and she pretty much beat every man, woman and child who slide through the banks with one arm tied behind her back. Ummm yeah, no big deal, she would have been 6th of so in Pro Men behind Haaken and in front of a whole slew of other super pros but settled for her 5th straight LBS title in women’s pro. So, if you can’t beat Maelle now there’s no hope for you. chumpy entering the crop circlesben wordsworth looking fast and furious on his way to golden duct tape glory…..waiting on scores…
One of the best things about this event is that they leave you hanging…your second and final run time is never posted and everyone has to wait and see who won the event, which of course forces everyone to stay for awards and forces people to speculate/brag/claim in the hours leading up to the awards. Kind of embarrassing and kinda cool especially when a 17 year old kid from nowhere Colorado smokes the likes of Terje and Temple. In case you forgot what real stoke looks like…. Harry Kearney with his goods. Duct Tape, Carhart, Pendelton, and some ravens to boot. Maelle.next year…..