The 32nd Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom was a twisting, turning, icy luge with just enough washboard textured snow to chatter an edge out of position and knock you on your keister. Say your prayers couldn’t be a more accurate adage pasted above the start shack of the seemingly endless amount of thigh burning berms. Stay low and be powerful is the name of the game. From a tight knit operations crew who work tirelessly through wind and weather to carve the course, to the hometown feel of a lodge that serves three dollar beers it’s a wonder that more aren’t attracted to Mt. Baker Ski Area nestled in the cascades near the Canadian border. It makes for the perfect setting for one of the most legendary events in snowboarding. The snow, terrain and the hard working talent willing to put together this prestigious event creates an environment where the most well known he’s and she’s of the sport are drawn to try their luck through the winding berms and earn their spot in LBS lore.
About 1,200 riders run through the slalom over the course of the event. This years 686 group consisted of Pat McCarthy (Pro Division), Brett Esser (Pro Division), Phil Jacques (Pro Division), Matt Wainhouse (Pro Division), Forest Bailey (Pro Division), Matteo Soltane (Younger Ams Division) and Cannon Cummins (Jr Boys Division). By Sunday morning the stage had been set for finals, the course was graced with a second straight day of bright sunlight and the riders now had their chance to make a run at the coveted golden roll of duct tape.
By days end Cannon had claimed the silver duct tape in the Junior Boys Division, Matteo Soltane with the gold duct tape in the Younger Amateurs Division and Phil, who had never raced in the Legendary Banked Slalom before, slid into the third place bronze duct tape spot in the Men’s Professional Division with a time of 1.15.30 the third fastest time the entire weekend.
It’s not everyday we get to come to a mountain see all our friends in one spot and eat free homemade paella in Washington sun but regardless of the weather we are always grateful for all the wonderful people who put on the event for the past 32 years and are always excited to come up and participate every year. We’ll see you at the 33rd edition of the Legendary Banked Slalom. Stay fast people.
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