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2016 Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom Full Gallery and Recap

The 30th annual Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom Gallery

Photos: Nick Hamilton
Words: Justin Cafiero

After a lack of snowfall last season forced the event to take an unplanned hiatus, the 30th annual Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom triumphantly returned to the mountains this weekend. There are so many reasons why this event is considered legendary, it's almost impossible to list them all. However, one of the most notable reasons is that it's likely the last remaining event where industry folks, young groms, up and coming ams, and basically any every day rider (who got lucky with a lottery spot, of course) can race and compete with some absolutely legendary humans on the same exact course. There's a start list consisting of the likes of Terje Haakonsen, Temple Cummins, Josh Dirksen, Barrett Christy, Maelle Ricker, Jamie Lynn, Rob Kingwell, Tom Burt, Mike Basich, and well, the list could go on for quite some time. If we're all looking for the solution to getting the younger generations stoked on snowboarding, or anyone for that matter, the LBS is the best place to start.

Driving up the Mt Baker Highway.
Driving up the Mt Baker Highway.

Most will end up staying in Glacier, a very small town on the way to Mt. Baker. It's a bit comparable to time travel for a few reasons, one of which being the black hole of non-existent cell phone service, and we're not talking 3G or 1x, either. We're talking absolutely nothing. You're immediately transported back to a time where people had to remember phone numbers with their brains – and they're all landlines. Making plans for dinner, or any plans for that matter, involves picking a time, a place, making a reservation and actually sticking to it in order to successfully meet up with friends. Internet hotspots are pretty far and few between, which isn't the worst situation, considering it cuts down on the amount of people sitting around doing nothing but staring at their phones. Another added benefit of this time traveling aspect is the overwhelmingly positive and upbeat atmosphere. You'd be hard pressed to find any jaded cynicism. Instead, it's been replaced with a healthy dose of friendly competition. The event has been compared to a high school reunion of who's who in snowboarding, with a pretty similar amount of drinking and good times to be had.

30th Legendary Banked Slalom course overview.
30th Legendary Banked Slalom course overview.

The week's activities were many. Of course there’s the race itself, which commands a prime spot on the slope, visible from the top of Chair 7, in the middle of a natural halfpipe. The course is lined with spectators, fans, and friends, all loudly cheering on every single rider who drops in. Sometimes a competitor would be followed down the outside of the course by a chaser, who would provide vocal support via yelling, and occasionally some background music as well via portable speaker. In addition to the race, there were plenty of good pow laps to be had thanks to some overnight storms, a giant salmon cookout, the paella and fondue tent, and plenty of beverages to be enjoyed in the lodge, as well as in the parking lot. The RV and camper turnout this year was impressive to say the least, so much so that instead of Mike Basich and Scott E. Wittlake's respective hometowns listed on the racer list, it was the model of their trucks camped out in the lot. Factor all of this in over the course of four days, and you've got a pretty solid week planned.

Car camping in the Mt Baker parking lot.
Car camping in the Mt Baker parking lot.

All in all, it's one of those things that if you haven't been yet, there's really no excuse. You don't need a racing spot to partake in what could easily be the most fun and down to earth event in snowboarding. Just take the awards ceremony, which packed the main lodge to the absolute brim, for example. It took around three hours to complete giving awards to all the classes who participated, including next generation and juniors, younger and older amateurs, masters, pro masters, and more, and everyone stayed to its completion. At one point there was even an audience participation option, when it was taken to a vote whether to lengthen the course and potentially trim the rider list, or shorten it up and increase the amount of racing spots. It was pretty unanimous, based on the crowd's cheers, to keep it shorter and increase the amount of available racing spots. You won't find that sort of thing at any other event in snowboarding. Another notable aspect is the lack of cash prizes. Instead, the organizers opt to award winners with custom pieces of artwork, handcrafted trophies, and even one-off embroidered winner's jackets, backed by a lifetime guarantee, all of which are essentially priceless. After over 30 years, the event’s organizers certainly know a thing or two about putting on a proper snowboard competition, and the rest of the industry should certainly take some notes. See you next year.

For the full list of results, check out the Mt. Baker site.

Results:

Men Younger Ams
1. Lucas Foster – 2:09.84
2. Drayden Gardner – 2:12.24
3. Hank Kennedy – 2:12.51
4. Austin Buza – 2:13.87
5. Jacob Krugmire – 2:13.94

Men Older Ams
1. Spencer Cordovano – 2:06.62
2. Tom Honey – 2:08.18
3. Tanner McCarty – 2:08.53
4. Tyler Sloan – 2:09.45
5. Sam Trippe – 2:09.81

Women Ams
1. Isabella Gomez – 2:16.88
2. Madison Blackley – 2:19.32
3. Myriam Foster – 2:19.68
4. Zoe Vernon – 2:19.85
5. Marion Gouwy – 2:21.80

Women Masters
1. Tanya Simonson – 2:18.31
2. Rel Friedman – 2:19.49
3. Audra Bintz – 2:20.47
4. Kelly Edmonds – 2:22.03
5. Jen McGoldrick – 2:24.16

Masters Men
1. Chris Bowlin – 2:05.96
2. Mathew Galina – 2:08.27
3. Scott Reynolds – 2:08.69
4. John Foy – 2:09.70
5. Nate Kewin – 2:09.73

Grand Masters
1. Pete Saari – 2:18.40
2. Luke Edgar – 2:19.61
3. Ken Achenbach – 2:19.93
4. Douglas Gundlach – 2:21.25
5. Randy Haugen – 2:21.35

Pro Master Men
1. Rob Kingwill – 1:43.77
2. Mark Fawcett – 1:47.25
3. Wes Makepeace – 1:48.07
4. Rube Goldberg – 1:48.12
5. Kevin Sansalone – 1:48.14

Pro Master Women
1. Marni Yamada – 1:53.96
2. Sarris McComb – 1:57.04
3. Amy Eichner – 2:00.93
4. Megan Pischke – 2:06.19
5. Marguerite Cossettini – 2:06.98

Pro Women
1. Maelle Ricker – 1:46.83
2. Lindsey Jacobellis – 1:48.30
3. Stephanie Haines – 1:51.15
4. Spencer O'Brien – 1:51.30
5. Maria Debari – 1:52.20

Pro Men
1. Mathieu Crepel – 1:42.77
2. Nate Holland – 1:42.94
3. Temple Cummins – 1:43.74
4. Joshua Dirksen – 1:44.15
5. Seth Wescott – 1:44.52

For the full detailed list of results click here