By: Dave Wray, SIA’s Western Sales & Marketing Manager @DWraySIA
February 17, 2012
There’s something about the turn that makes snowboarding so damn fun. And face it, most of what you do on a board involves turning. Add some frozen, banked, skate park like walls, some of the best pro snowboarders in the world, some legends, some everyday shredders like me, a slew of groms, some gourmet/homemade food and a splash of Northwest soul and there you have it, the Legendary Mt. Baker Banked Slalom. It’s the same thing only better and it’s been going on for the last 27 years. I’m guessing it could be the longest running snowboard event out there, but that’s not the point.
No hype, no fuss and no joke it’s the real deal of snowboarding and being a part of it is the highlight of my season…every season. Gumby (Bob Gundram, C3) said it best “you can try to duplicate this event, but you certainly can’t replicate it.” He and a several other industry dudes somehow figured out how great this event is and that the only way to get in on the action and ride the course is to sponsor the event.
The roll call of industry heads goes like this: Gags (Mike Gagliardi, Never Summer), Johan (Johan Malkoski, C3), Gumby (C3), Blue Montgomery (C3), George Kleckner (C3), Maxx Von Marbod (POW Gloves), Eric Carlson (Smith Optics), Corey Smith (Smith, Mtn Approach), John Kaiser (Mtn Approach), Pete Saari (Mervin), Krush Kulesza (Mervin) Andrew Marriner (Billabong), Bobby Meeks (Nike), Scott Downing (NW rep), Dustin Anderson (NW rep), Dave Graves (Rockies rep), Eric Warble (CO rep), Amy Eichner (Salomon Bonfire Snowboarding) 2nd place women’s pro- masters, Bob Klein (Octagon Olympic and Action Sports), Benjamin Pellegrino (Milosport, Orem Utah), George Bean (US Outdoor), Karma Vella (Poler), Patrick McCarthy (686).
The fast and icy conditions of the course on Sunday took its toll on many including myself. Usually somewhere between the 3rd and 5th turn people got bucked off the course and spit out of the turn simply because the G-forces couldn’t be managed properly. Those that did harness that energy while continuing to generate more speed did it the right way. And those that did that all the way down the course each and every turn the fastest got a roll of duct tape and huge respect from the entire community that was there.
The course is only part of the action. The real deal takes place in many different and unexpected forms and places. The Mt. Baker crew puts their entire heart and soul into this event and it really shows. They cook over 450 lbs. of salmon, the racer tent at the top is stocked with gourmet soups, paella, chocolate and cheese fondue along with hot cider, cocoa and coffee. They’ve got a DJ up there spinning tunes, One Ball Jay holds down the waxing scene and all this creates a one-of-a-kind vibe like no other snowboarding event out there.
This year they threw in a new twist with the addition of a free-from quarter pipe hand plant contest of sorts. This all went down at the new Ravens Hut Lodge along with the traditional salmon bake and beer garden. It’s events like this that make me feel so damn lucky to have a career in the snow industry as a professional and a rider.
Here are some random links on the event as well. Some might have some inappropriate language so beware.