The 25th Annual Mount Baker Banked Slalom
Twenty-five years of turns and tradition
A fresh coating of soggy snow set the stage for the 25th Annual Legendary Banked Slalom this past weekend. Some banks were carved smooth with the new layer, others became rutted and chunky. Local rider JT set the course “just how I normally ride the gully.” And it changed with each riders pass, always does. This is a land far from precision sculpted super tubes and 80-foot death wedges. Enter the Banked Slalom, a gamble of time and slope. Oh, and don’t forget FUN.
Baker locals have always finished with the quickness, and if some chance they didn’t, at least they usually have some sweet northwest style and plenty of cheers going for them. Speaking of locs, siblings Maria and Lucas DeBari sped into the top tiers. Maria, who led the qualifiers, ended up taking home third for the Pro Women. The 2007 champ, Lucas finished seventh.
Seattle’s Marni Yamada took the second spot, a bump up from her third place finish in ’09. Canadian Olympic hopeful Maelle Ricker took first in the Pro Women’s field and no doubt boosted her confidence as she heads into the Games.
Josh Dirksen, who has been plagued with third places year after year, finally crept into second place after the first run. It looked like he might have had it, but Josh fell on his second and settled for fifth place. 2011 Dirksen, you got it! We’re rooting for you!
The second run was really a sleeper. A handful of riders tumbled and a few more slipped by with fast times. One surprise was Pat Holland of Truckee, California who landed in third place. Rob Fagan, another Canadian Olympic team member, locked the second spot. Things looked grim, as if the podium would be turned upside down….until Temple Cummins’ name was uttered over cheers at the awards ceremony. Temple, a rad dad and now four-time Banked Slalom champ, took home first with a time of 1:43.08. With four first place finishes, Temple is only second to Terje, who holds five trophies of golden duct tape.
While many legends were absent, there were future legends filling their spot. As the LBS came to a close this weekend, the simple act of left and right and gravity continues to endure a quarter century later. It continues past the banks and finish line, too. The tradition lingers at the rider’s tent in the soup-rich, savory and warm. The trading of wax tips, the smiles, and the exhaustion at finish line encompass it. It’s in the vagabonds in the parking lot-sleeping with the mountain. It comes from Colter’s Cave, in hoots. And it’s in the familiar faces that return to further it. So….cheers! Here’s to twenty-five more.
1. Temple Cummins
2. Rob Fagan
3. Pat Holland
1. Maelle Ricker
2. Marni Yamada
3. Maria Debari
Winners In Each Category
Next Generation – Cody Warble
Juniors – Gus Warbington
Younger Amatuers – Austen Sweetin
Women Amateurs – Martina Nemacova
Older Amateurs – Craig Newbury
Womens Masters – Tanya Simpson
Masters – Jonathan Martens
Mid Masters – Gorio Bustamante
Grand Masters - Jim Taylor
Super Masters – Bob Satushek
Pro Masters – Timmy Carlson
View the complete results at the LBS site here.