Smash Life – Summit at Snoqualmie, Alpental

Words by George Crosland

Smash Life went down this past Saturday, January 19th, at Alpental, part of The Summit at Snoqualmie resort in Washington. Smash Life is a banked slalom event that is thrown in the memory of snowboarder Aaron Robinson. This is the second year of the event and second event of the year, the first being held at Big Sky in Aaron’s home state of Montana. Aaron put in some serious time riding in Washington and it’s the home to many friends and a few of his sponsors so why not throw another banked slalom/party in the state Aaron loved?

For those of you who never knew Aaron, it’s hard to put into words what a rad human being he was. Aaron was the type of person who would always be leading the charge, always the first to drop the most hectic line in the most insane terrain. At the same time Aaron would also be the guy to wait for the last person in the group, looking out for everyone. Aaron was strong enough to ride with the best, but nice and humble enough to ride with anyone and ensure everyone was having fun, definitely someone you wanted on any snowboard journey. He was down for anything, no complaints. Tragically, Aaron was taken from the world in a snowboard related accident in the summer of 2011. The proceeds from the Smash Life events go to the A-Rob Plant a Seed Project which gives underprivileged kids a chance to get out into the mountains and go snowboarding. Snowboarding is something that many of us might take for granted, but to a poor kid who does not have the funds to go snowboarding, a chance to ride might change their life.

The top part of the course was dug out of a steep mogul run and downright scary. It was narrow and tight with lots of edges to fall off and lots of trees to bounce off of. To make things even more exciting the snow conditions were hard and fast. In typical Northwest fashion no one complained. In fact, it seems like everyone relished and enjoyed the challenging layout that much more. While the top section was burly, the lower half was flowy, which was good since everyone was pretty beat up by the end of the course. The format was simple, the kids (several younger than 10), women and masters (40 and over) went first, 2 runs each, followed by the 18-39 year old men. The men’s class was open to whoever signed up first with plenty of pros, legends, office boys and “average Joes.” Lots of people were charging, but Blair Habenicht rode swift and took it on his first run. He’s a kick ass all around rider, but after yesterday he should be trying out for some Olympic Giant Slalom action.

“It was the craziest banked slalom that I’ve ever been a part of as far as the steepness of the course, maxing speed through these corners and whipping you across the hill through all these bumps on cattracks that were like two-feet wide. It was on a ridgeline that Aaron was super pumped on up at Alpental. Alpental is a gnarly mountain to begin with, put a banked slalom anywhere on it and it’s going to be steep and fast, it was crazy,” Blair adds.

The ladies, groms and older guys rallied too, with Robyn Borneman taking the title for the second year in a row. Keala Cole took it for the groms, Justus Hines was the quickest junior and Kimo Cole took it for the old dogs. Of course there was a party afterwords, complete with live music from the Riot Act, late night laps under the lights and parking lot revelry. The turnout for the event was amazing and everyone had a blast. Absolutely no money was given out, this was simply a snowboard event thrown for the love of the sport and hanging out with friends. Come out next year if you can.

Results

Men

1. Blair Habenicht 1:10.72
2. Matt Edgers 1:11.73
3. Jay Kelly 1:12.70
4. Marcel Dolak 1:14.40
5. Matthew Robinson 1:14.71
6. Blue Montgomery 1:15.87
7. Austin Hironaka 1:16.02
8. Anthony Gervais 1:16.13
9. Shaun McKay 1:16.47
10. Chris Bowlin 1:16.80
11. Nick Felt 1:17.14
12. Paul Stanley 1:17:28
13. Jadree Donovan 1:17.34
14. Shane Stalling 1:17.91
15. Bryce Wenker 1:17.98

Women

1. Robyn Borneman 1:26.76
2. Khai Bhagwan 1:29.71
3. Kayla Kobelin 1:31.46
4. Kari Hoss 1:32.80
5. Isabella Gomez 1:33.20
6. Mallory Sullivan 1:36.75
7. Isabella Gomez 1:33.20
8 Jamie Klontz 1:40.27
9. Jenell Turner 1:45.79
10. Brooke Geery 1:47.92

Groms Age 5-13

1. Keala Cole 1:24.86
2. Matteo Soltane 1:25.17
3. Frank Besselo 1:32.84
4. Alex Lancaster 1:34.17
5. Paavo Saari 1:39.06
6. Maui Soltane 2:06.81

Juniors Age 14-17

1. Justus Hines 1:19.14
2. Austin Buxa 1:20.03
3. Shane Keller 1:20.79
4. Ben Still 1:22.03
5. Zachary Shoopman 1:22.25

Masters

1. Kimo Cole 1:23.61
2. Ken Verner 1:25.13
3. Adrian Navarro 1:29.34
4. John Haase 1:43.42
5. Aron Lundstrom 1:59.95
6. Ben Rupp 2:14.10

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