The Lucky Thirteenth Year and Mt. Baker Banked Slalom Race Resultsby Shanti Sosienski

Whoever started the myth that thirteen is an unlucky number obviously didn’t have the Thirteenth Annual Mt. Baker Banked Slalom in mind because this year’s competition couldn’t have gone smoother. History was made with Northwest legend Rob Morrow reclaiming the first place title from the recent year’s outside invasion. And Gwyn Howat explained to a wall-to-wall crowd in the lodge at the closing ceremony that she had ensured the good luck by making changes in the Banked Slalom logo and giving everyone who placed thirteenth prizes.

Even though many insist that every year is a special year at the Banked Slalom, this year was definitely different in a few ways. First of all Terje decided not to show us all how to ride the course switch this year, in fact he didn’t even make it. Second of all, he was replaced by an even bigger and better star, the sun. Yes, Northern Washington was graced with two feet of fresh powder the Wednesday and Thursday prior to the race, and blue sky and sunshine prevailed the entire weekend. This made standing around in the 15 to 20 degree weather to watch the 244 contestants carve away at the icy race course a pleasant experience. Spirits seemed good all weekend and like every year, the contest was mellow and oozed of that legendary Baker feeling.

“It reminds me of contests eight years ago,” said Mikey Basich, who raced the contest for the first time this year. Mikey attributed the home mountain feeling as the reason for this, as well as the lack of a large purse or much media hype. In fact the media evidence was minimal outside of the snowboarding industry. Rumor had it that ESPN had bought all of the filming rights to the contest, but if they even made it to the Banked Slalom remains questionable as very few cameras were seen on the course. As a first time Banked Slalom visitor myself, I found most of the contest to be rather boring, as contests usually are. Watching people less than gracefully battle with ice ruts had it’s moments of thrill, especially when the rider blew out of the course into the soft powder field, as Ian Beer did on his first run on the final day. Other memorable moments included a painful-looking chest spill taken by Tina Basich near the finish line on the second day, which put her out of the finals, a blow out by Wes Makepeace, which bumped him out as a top-contender in the first run on the last day, and an excellent bunny hopping attempt back onto the course by Timmy Ossler, which kept him in the contest.

The top contenders were obvious after the first round on Sunday as Ross Peterson held the fastest top time for most of the first run until he was beaten by Temple Cummins, with Rob Morrow narrowly eking them out by the final run. The top three spots were separated by a mere hundredth of a second with Rob Morrow at 114.042 in first, Temple Cummins at 114.480 in second, and Ross Peterson at 115.052 in third.

In the women’s pro division Karleen Jeffrey comfortably rode into the first place spot with a time of 118.427 seconds. Dawn Fidler took second with 121.470, and Canadian Kristi Yzerman pulled a 122.678 for third place.

Throughout the entire weekend there was an overwhelming feeling of camaraderie regardless of how people were placing, though. At one point I found myself sitting in a football game-like wave line-up at the finish gate. This seemed appropriate being super bowl weekend and all, and I imagine it appeared to be an amusing sight to those contestants who were cheered on by us as they gasped their way across the finish line, collapsing at the bottom.

What the Banked Slalom lacks in organized competition frenzy, it doesn’t lack in basic organization. The focus of the day seemed to be more on how quickly the race could be completed, so people could go freeride. The last heat on Sunday was over by 1:30 giving both spectators and competitors plenty of time to scour the mountain for any left over powder stashes. Then after most were either pleasantly satiated by runs or thoroughly drunk on Ranier, everyone packed into the lodge for the awards ceremony. People could be heard making friendly competitive comments to one another across the room.

“At least I beat your time,” Dave Sypniewski was heard saying to the pro women’s winner, Karleen Jeffrey. “I”m really happy with how I did because I didn’t feel like I was doing very well during my practices last week,” said Karleen Jeffrey.

Another year, another Banked Slalom. This year proved to be a true Legendary Banked Slalom that no one will ever forget. The sun, the snow, Rob Morrow’s win, and the incredibly hot weenie roast–all stuff that memories are made from.

Men’s Pro
1. Rob Morrow (114.407)
2. Temple Cummins (114.517)
3. Ross Peterson (115.052)
4. Josh Dirksen
5. Serge Vitelli
6. Teal Copelin
7. Tim Ossler
8. J.D. Platt
9. Dave Sypniewski
10. Josh Rosen
11. Tom Gillis
12. Peter Bauer
13. Andy Hetzel
14. Ian Beer
15. Tomas Legame
16. Mark Freisen
17. Darren Mattingle
18. WEs Makepeace
19. Omar Lundie
20. Alex Warbuerten
21. Justin Mooney
22. Marcus Egge
23. Jason McAllister
24. Joey McGuire

Women’s Pro
1. Karleen Jeffery (118.427)
2. Dawn Fidler (121.470)
3. Kristi Yzerman (122.678)
4. Circe Wallace
5. Barrett Christy
Older Amateur Men
1. Jode Carlucci
2. Scott Nelson
3. David Wray

Younger Amateur Men
1. Kory Klouzer
2. Jesse Burtner
3. Bobi Rey
Amateur Women
1. Allison O’Brien
2. Shanna Wilson
3. Marcie Brown
1. Jean Nerva
2. Matt Gilder
3. Pete Saari
40 Over
1. Tim Taylor
2. Rob Skala
3. Bob Barci
4. Duncan Howat
1. Jacob Wilhemson
2. Javs Lehn
3. John Lahning
Next Generation
1. Lucas Debri
2. Cody Garrington
3. Kenny Neal