Thanks to a little good ol’ fashion television magic, X Games has quickly become the main event in snowboarding. But, way back when, before X Games started inventing made for TV events and dramatizing every twist and turn from our favorite shredders, there was the Baker Banked Slalom (now-a-days it’s the Legendary Banked Slalom but ya know, it takes time to become a legend). Anyway, there’s a reason why it’s legendary. In the near 30 years that Howat sisters have been running this event the entire landscape of snowboarding has shifted and changed from a fringey type habit to a prime time Olympic staple and yet through a steadfast commitment to culture over cash the LBS has managed to stay locked in time.Chumpy riding the banks.
No prize money, no title sponsors, no TV coverage, nothing but a golden roll of duck tape and some bragging rights. Just to be clear, I am by no means saying the competition isn’t fierce. Hell no, in many ways it’s a harder hitting contest than the X Games because when you put a couple crusty old school legends up against some cocky Olympians and sprinkle in some hometown heroes you’ve got yourself a legit contest. One that Shaun White isn’t guaranteed to win and one that has Terje and Temple waxing months beforehand for. Harry and Haakenson doing some wax tech work.
Baker is cool like that, it levels the playing field and it all comes down to a persons actual ability to ride a snowboard. Navigating a 2minute long course of banks and whoops and whatever cockamame mystery feature the organizers throw in there ain’t something you do everyday and something the specialized snowboarders of today might be more than challenged by. So yeah, it’s cool and it’s one of those events that every person who has ever set foot on a snowboard should journey to see because up at Baker this weekend the roots of shred still exist un-televised and unadulterated.Danny Davis and the paper bib…
I left a lot of awesomeness out but trust me, a Northwest excursion to the Legendary Banked Slalom is good for the soul.