The 28th Annual Mt Baker Legendary Banked Slalom Finals
Do you remember your first turns? There was that rush of gravity as you keeled over toeside, then dipped back to the safety of your heels. It all builds from there. Switch doublecorks, street rails, freeride lines--they all start with a few turns. For as much as snowboarding has evolved past the simple motion of turning, into risky acts accelerated and glorified by videos and contests, the Mt Baker Banked Slalom is a refreshingly simple reminder of snowboarding's essence and northwest roots.
The 28th year of the Mt Baker Legendary Banked Slalom got rolling with epic conditions to say the least, two feet of fresh before the contest followed by two full days of sun. For a place that's usually socked in and a sweeping course that's known to induce vertigo, clear conditions are pretty precious. That being said, crews got after it. If a rider's run wasn't up, they were likely scraping away every last bit of pow Baker had to offer. There were a lot of secretive photo shoots, GoPro laps, and soul runs happening outside of the race.
At the top of Chair Five the legendary food was simmering, sounds were pumping and people were dropping in. This year's course was a little tamer, it had a smoother flow and less jarring. At least that's what it looked like from the sidelines. The talk around the LBS hut was it was going to come down to a wax race. And it did. The professional boardercrossers crew and their fancy wax and fast boards seemed to do the trick. Maelle Ricker and Seth Wescott both took top spots in the Pro divisions. Laura Hadar and Dominique Vallee took second and third, respectively. Graham Wantanabe and Jason Robinson rounded out second and third for men.
Marcel Dolak and Marni Yamada took firsts in the Pro Masters categories, followed by Marguerite Cossettini and Barret Christy-Cummins and Peter Bauer and Billy Anderson. There were a dozen or so more divisions handed out with giant bags of schwag to grinning riders. Full results can be found at the LBS site. The last noteworthy accolade was the Craig Kelly Thunderbird Award that went to Jamie Lynn for his contributions to the northwest snowboarding scene.
Banked slaloms are hot these days. They're plain and simple, and fun. No judging, just time. There are quite a few grassroots ones across the country now, but only one is considered "legendary" for good reason. The prizes, the food, the venue and the people Baker attracts can't be beat. Riders like Nicolas Muller, Travis Rice, Terje Haakonsen, the Cummins brothers, DCP, JF Pelchat, Josh Dirksen and more milling around with some of the best up and comers, old dogs like Shaun Palmer, Peter Bauer, Rob Morrow, Jamie Lynn and Gary Pendygrasse, and about a hundred other of snowboarding's most influential people is pretty heavy.
1. Maelle Ricker
2. Laura Hadar
3. Dominique Vallee
1. Seth Wescott
2. Graham Wantanabe
3. Jason Robinson
Pro Women Masters
1. Marni Yamada
2. Marguerite Cossettini
3. Barret Christy-Cummins
Pro Men Masters
1. Marcel Dolak
2. Peter Bauer
3. Billy Anderson
Check out full results from the LBS site
Check out more pics from the qualifying days