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29th Annual Legendary Banked Slalom

As you may or may not know – Mt. Baker Ski Area in Washington state has been putting on “THE” event in snowboarding.
This year marked the 29th Annual Legendary Banked Slalom. It is the second longest running contest in North America (behind the U.S. Open put on by Burton – and just in front of our own event – The Easy Rider Snowboard Cup).

I was planning to go down and watch – and ride with industry friends – but 4 days before the event – my friends at Lib Tech / Gnu called and told me that they had managedtogetme a spot in the race. Actually Pete Saari (one of the founders of Lib Tech) had given up his spot so I could enter.
The LBS has a limited amount of entries – you either have to be an invited pro, have won yourcategoryin the past, be a major sponsor of the event, win one of the qualifiers held the week before, or win one of the few sports given away by lottery. Since I met none of the above (the last time I entered the LBS was 1990) I really never thought I would be racing in it.

I jumped on a plane Friday morning – flew to Vancouver – rented a car – got stopped at the boarder for a “random agricultural search” – and then drove to Mt. Baker.
By the time I picked up my racer pack – and made my way op to the course – my group was being called into the starting area. SO much for getting a look at the course.

In the famous start hut (it was the same one from 1990) – one of the workers said “just stay high out of the tunnel”. I replied – “Tunnel? What Tunnel?” He laughed and began my count down.

While I slid out on both runs (it was super icy) I still made all the gates and got times for each of my of my runs on Friday and Saturday.

The weekend was amazing – if you ever want to go watch the best riders in world riding and having fun . . . go to the Legendary Banked Slalom!

Some photos from the weekend below.
A HUGE Thank You to everyone at Mt. Baker, Pete and Mike from Mervin for keeping snowboarding Fun, and to Dan for securing my spot and letting me crash in your condo!

Words above the start say it all!
Words above the start say it all!
First part of the course.  Knowing how to turn is important.
First part of the course. Knowing how to turn is important.
Next part of the course - before the tunnel.
Next part of the course – before the tunnel.
The Tunnel.  Due to low snow - the course had to be moved higher on the mountain - which required the tunnel for people to get off the lift above.
The Tunnel. Due to low snow – the course had to be moved higher on the mountain – which required the tunnel for people to get off the lift above.
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Lower portion of the course. The tunnel is at the very top.
Looking down the gully from the last photo.  Yes, it's a leg burner!
Looking down the gully from the last photo. Yes, it’s a leg burner!
Finally - the finish line is in sight. (little building on right).
Finally – the finish line is in sight. (little building on right).
Although he didn't win over all, Terje had the fastest single run time of the weekend - and he did it switch!
Although he didn’t win over all, Terje had the fastest single run time of the weekend – and he did it switch!
Saturday afternoon BBQ for competitors.  No crappy hotdogs here - Salmon, mashed potatoes and salad.
Saturday afternoon BBQ for competitors. No crappy hotdogs here – Salmon, mashed potatoes and salad.
Saturday night Lib Tech party - with Wes Makepeace and Jamie Lynn providing the tunes.
Saturday night Lib Tech party – with Wes Makepeace and Jamie Lynn providing the tunes.
Got to take a few laps with Mike Olson - Mervin founder.
Got to take a few laps with Mike Olson – Mervin founder.
The man responsible for snowboarding being a fun as it is - Duncan Howitt.  CEO of Mt. Baker.
The man responsible for snowboarding being a fun as it is – Duncan Howitt. CEO of Mt. Baker.