Competing for Duct Tape: 2017 Mount Baker Legendary Banked Slalom Gallery + Results

The scene from the top. Mount Baker's Legendary Banked Slalom is the longest-running contest in snowboarding, and the format allows kindergarteners to race the same course as Travis Rice, seen here dropping in. | Photo: Nick Hamilton
The Mount Baker Highway has been driven by almost everyone who has made a major impact on snowboarding. Where the road ends, a true snowboarder's mountain awaits, with endless options inbounds and out. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
The Wake 'N' Bakery has been fueling LBS racers with coffee, breakfast burritos, and quiche since 2004. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
It takes a certain person to call Glacier home. Locals love the mountains above most all else. Like your iPhone, the snowboard hype machine doesn't work here. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Mount Baker Snowboard Shop has existed in Glacier for 28 years, helping outfit everyone from Craig Kelly to Terje Haakonsen to Lucas Debari before heading up the highway. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
On the walls of this landmark hang historic cutouts from magazines, signed by snowboarding's influencers across three decades. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Rice rounding turn two. | Photo: Nick Hamilton
Sunday's finals start list is an eclectic group of names, comprised of many of the most talented snowboarders in the world. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
The food at the top of the LBS course is far superior to the tray of Jimmy John's sandwiches you might find at another snowboard event. Paella is a Legendary Banked Slalom tradition and is made in batches large enough to feed the hundreds of registered racers. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
People like Nina make the Legendary Banked Slalom possible. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Trays of smoked salmon offer optimal fuel for riders waiting to drop. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Rice's pre-race ritual? | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Banked slalom wisdom says to stay at the top of the berms when possible. Following Elias Elhardt through this course is a lesson in taking the high line. | Photo: Nick Hamilton
Banked slalom jock: One who puts exceptional emphasis on the preparation for and results of banked slalom races. Smartwool's Alex Pashley, 1:19:55. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Left to right: Danika Duffy, Madison Blackley, Jenna Kuklinski, Amanda Hankison, Nirvana Ortanez, Stefi Luckston. #dresslikeawoman | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Sam Tuor and Jason Robinson discussing the time a couple weeks back when J-Rob caught fire on the set of a Chinese action movie. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
One Ball Jay offers benches with scrapers, corks, and brushes to keep racers' boards well-prepped for the course. John Foy taking advantage. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Tedious waxing technique. | Photo: Erik Hoffman
Ralph Kucharek and Bonfire team manager, Jenna Kuklinski, discussing Ralph's time and how it relates to his 2017 contract. Jk, no clue. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Everybody loves Ralph. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Amanda Hankison has a new truck with a sled in the back and a recently-added Mt. Baker license plate frame. She's well on the way to her backcountry badass certification. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Another lady with a truck and sled, Hana Beaman. Beaman's had her backcountry badass cert for a decade now. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Travis Rice, a snowboard, and a camera. That's all we know. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Portland-based photographer Shaun Daley isn't concerned with semantics or irrelevant proportions. Coffee in a soup cup. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
evo's partner marketing manager, Jon Kiser, breezed into Sunday's finals. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Quiksilver marketing manager Andrew Marriner is one of those people who's good at everything. Putting down fast times at banked slaloms is one of those things. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
We're glad Jason Robinson's vagabond lifestyle landed him at Baker for the weekend. It's always good to see J-Rob. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Jake Welch somewhere in the middle of a 1:18.18. | Photo: Nick Hamilton
Co-owner of one of the most established and influential snowboard shops, Milosport, Benny Pellegrino is a snowboarder in every sense of the word and made the migration from Utah to race at Baker. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Snowboarding is in the Anderson family blood, and Signal's marketing director, Billy Anderson, brought the family out to rip Baker for the weekend. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
CAPiTA founder Blue Montgomery took a break from running one of the most prominent brands in snowboarding to race at the Legendary Banked Slalom. And he made finals. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Mount Bakers fabled "Arm" flexin'. | Photo: Erik Hoffman
Lib Tech / Gnu team manager, Dave Marx, has an infectious smile hiding behind his balaclava. He's riding the MullAir, featuring a touch of banana between the feet with camber throughout the rest. A bit of taper with a early rise nose. Bindings are at 15 in the front 0 in the back. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Iikka Backstrom ages like Todd Richards. Which is not at all. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
When his inner Shad comes out, Tahoe-based Taylor Carlton is a fierce competitor. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Carlton coming in hot. | Photo: Nick Hamilton
Shad will lay into any berm that gives him lip. | Photo: Nick Hamilton
Mount Baker's operation manager, Gwyn Howat, atop the course where she spends the majority of LBS weekend running the show. Gwyn, along with a tight-knit group of Baker locals, make the Legendary Banked Slalom possible. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
A picture is worth a thousand stickers? Austin Smith hydrating. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Chris Rasman and Austin Smith discussing whether Tinder or having a tiny home is more conducive to meeting girls. We completely made that up, but it's possible. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Chris Rasman, dropping in three. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Legend has it Josh Dirksen has a wax kit that looks like a fishing tackle box. Within, there is rumored to be a small chunk specifically labeled 'LBS'. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
The Legendary Banked Slalom featuring the legendary Forest Bailey. PHOTO: Nick Hamilton
Amid her United Slopes of America tour, Desiree Melancon stopped in at Baker and casually put down a fourth place time in the women's pro division. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Drayden Gardner moments before his winning run. | Photo: Erik Hoffman
Leanne Pelosi calming the gate nerves while waiting to drop. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Leanne screaming through a right-hander in the midst of a 1:21.11 run. | Photo: Nick Hamilton
Nitro's Knut Eliassen documenting. Hit me with the other angle when you get a chance, Knut. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Fun fact: Lucas Debari took Jacob Krugmire's snowboard from outside the base lodge without realizing until he got to the top of the mountain. He took it for a run and returned it to a confused Krugmire, who was certain his board had been stolen. The Gnu Müllair was a popular choice for the LBS course. | Photo: Nick Hamilton
A pensive Alex Yoder contemplates whether he will have quinoa or kale for lunch. Or perhaps both... | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Brett Esser finding his line through turn four. | Photo: Erik Hoffman
686 team manager and Baker local, Pat McCarthy, has been around the Banked Slalom for years. He's watched the event grow, and his positive attitude has remained the whole time. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Pat McCarthy getting a fresh wax. | Photo: Erik Hoffman
Johnny Brady and Chris Cloud on their way up. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
The race is only one component of a weekend that brings the snowboard community together. A quick chair ride and hike from the top of the course and you can find yourself atop some of the best sidecountry in the United States. Chris Cloud and Johnny Brady taking a break from the chaos. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Tyler Ravelle sneaking a turn in the sidecountry in between races.
Austin Smith, out the tiny home and about to drop. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Austin Smith on the new Nitro Quiver shape, the Squash. | Photo: Nick Hamilton
Austin putting down a 1:15.64. | Photo: Nick Hamilton
Over the past few seasons, Mary Rand has traded her Rhode Island rail-riding roots for the large-scale mountains of the Northwest, and it's starting to show. Mary is well on her way to becoming an all-terrain powerhouse and put down a very respectable 1:20.99 at LBS. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Mary Rand, two out. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Mary flying through turn four at Mt. Baker. PHOTO: Erik Hoffman
Whether you know it or not, you've seen Ami Voutilainen's Illustration and design work. Watching him ride a snowboard is also aesthetically pleasing. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Terje Haakonsen has won the men's pro category of LBS more than anyone else. Legend also has it he won the switch race on acid, but who's to say? | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Terje. That right arm is a dead giveaway. | Photo: Nick Hamilton
Terje running a 1:15.31. | Photo: Nick Hamilton
During LBS there are far more snowboards on the mountain than skis. | Photo: Erik Hoffman
One of half of Tittyfish—the other being Jamie Lynn—Wes Makepeace took fifth in the Pro Master's division with a 1:17.94. Tittyfish played on Friday night in a packed barn next to the Mount Baker Snowboard Shop. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Bend-based artist Adam Haynes added another duct tape trophy to his collection this weekend. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Calvin Patterson lives down the road in Bellingham and makes sure invasive species aren't destroying the local ecosystem when he's not ripping Baker. Patterson took the top spot in the Older Amateur division. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
With a screaming fast 1:18.50, Candadian Stephanie Honey-Haines beat out respective second and third place finishers Spencer O'Brien and Torah Bright to take the gold duct tape in the Women's Pro division. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
The gift and the curse. Josh Dirksen has repeatedly placed second but never won the Legendary Banked Slalom. The turning tutelage he's instilled in Nils Mindnich, however, may be exactly what put a roll of gold duct tape in Nils' hands. | Photo: Taylor Boyd
Congratulations, Nils! 1:13.22 is absolutely mental. | Photo: Taylor Boyd

As you pull off Mount Baker Highway into Glacier, Washington, your clock rewinds 20 years. Might as well put your phone on airplane mode because you won't have service until you leave. Don't bother texting friends to make plans; your messages won't go through. You'll see 'em at the bar though—there are only two.

The small community that lies on Route 542, a half hour down the road from some of the best snowboarding in the United States is a far cry from the 5-star village at the base of some Vail-owned resort.

We arrived in Glacier on a Wednesday night before the 31st Mount Baker Legendary Banked Slalom. As six of us settled into a house with beds for less, everything went black. We stoked the fire and accepted that we were now not only without cell service or WiFi but power altogether. A sudden and jarring thud shook the dark house as a large tree toppled onto the roof.

Driving into Glacier, Washington is like entering a portal that transports you to a time two decades past. There is no cell reception, and WiFi is limited. Graham’s Store and Restaurant have most everything you need, including candles when the power’s out. | Photo: Taylor Boyd

We woke in the morning to a cold house illuminated only by natural light and lit a fire. Downed trees crossed Mount Baker Highway every fifty feet or so. When the road to the mountain would reopen was up in the air, as were hundreds of horizontal trees waiting to join those fallen to the pavement. After a trip to general store to get supplies, the six of us ended up circled in the living room. We talked, we stoked the fire, and we talked some more. When the sun dipped behind the trees, we threw another log on the fire and lit some candles.

When we woke, we were back on the grid and the road had opened in time for Friday morning's qualifiers. Racers rushed through registration, peeling duct tape from the rolls strewn about the Mount Baker lodge, sticking numbers to their front legs. Visibility on-course fell toward the 'can't see shit' side of the spectrum, which in combination with lack of familiarity with the course setup reflected in riders' times.

When the clouds lift, Shuksan reveals itself. | Photo: Erik Hoffman

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The following day, during Saturday's qualifiers, it was common for racers to shave more than five seconds off their Friday time, with fast times on the course running between 1:17 and 1:30, depending on category.

Saturday of LBS is most riders' last night in town and always draws the biggest crowd to the bar. Racers who didn't qualify for the following days' main event have easy justification to order one more, while those who did have ample opportunity to induce a hangover before Sunday’s finals runs.

Sunday was one of those rare days when the dense Northwest clouds that lurk around Baker dissipated, allowing the sun a chance to shine on Mount Shuksan in the background and the Legendary Banked Slalom course in the foreground.

The course was fully banked by Sunday, rewarding racers who took a high line through berms, slingshotting from toe to heel and gaining momentum with each turn.

Elias Elhardt. High spirits and high lines. | Photo: Nick Hamilton

Ultimately, it was the young Nils Mindnich who found the fastest line through the course, beating his mentor and second place-finisher Josh Dirksen for the top spot in the Men’s Pro Division, while relatively unknown Canadian ripper Stephanie Honey-Haines nabbed gold duct tape in the Women’s Pro Division, beating out Spencer O’Brien, Torah Bright, and Desiree Melancon.

LBS sets up an unmatched combination of people in a place unlike any other. Everyone in attendance is awarded with a few days during which they can ignore the outside world and enjoy the largely WiFi and cell service-free microcosm that exists around Mount Baker. It is its simplicity that makes the Legendary Banked Slalom the longest running contest in snowboarding.

Congrats to all the racers, especially those who took home the tape.

Results:

Younger Ams Men 
1. Drayden Gardner – 1:17.29
2. Milo Malkoski – 1:18.32
3. Cody Warble – 1:18.64
4. Matteo Soltane — 1:20.05

Older Ams Men 
1. Calvin Patterson – 1:17.28
2. Trevin Sims – 1:17.45
3. Sam Trippe – 1:17.59
4. Tyler Sloan – 1:18.08

Ams Women 
1. Zoe Vernon – 1:24.33
2. Frederique Joncas – 1:24.57
3. Jacqui Shaffer – 1:25.46
4.  Caley Vanular – 1:26.48

Masters Women 
1. Sara Niblock – 1:21.58
2. Ashley Thornton – 1:23.71
3. Anna Bengtson – 1:23.91
4. Audra Bintz – 1:24.44

Masters Men
1. Scott Reynolds – 1:17.44
2. Adam Haynes – 1:17.52
3. Chris Bowlin – 1:18.10
4. John Foy – 1:18.43

Grand Masters
1. Luke Edgar – 1:24.57
2. Douglas Gundlach – 1:24.92
3. Ashley Muller – 1:25.68
4. Andre D – 1:25.77

Pro Master Men
1. Rob Kingwill – 1:16.63
2. Ashley Call – 1:16.69
3. Deni Bevin – 1:17.30
4. Mark Fawcett – 1:17.89

Pro Master Women
1. Barrett Cummins-Christy – 1:22.90
2. Megan Porcheron – 1:26.52
3. Marguerite Cossettini – 1:26.57
4. Fabienne Dirksen – 1:26.73

Pro Women
1. Stephanie Haines – 1:18.50
2. Spencer O’Brien – 1:18.82
3. Torah Bright – 1:19.33
4. Desiree Melancon – 1:19.90

Pro Men
1. Nils Mindnich – 1:13.22
2. Josh Dirksen – 1:14.19
3. Curtis Ciszek – 1:14.23
4. Seth Wescott – 1:14.69

Full results here.

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