Temple Cummins and Maelle Ricker Win Mt. Baker’s 23rd Annual Legendary Banked Slalom.

Mount Baker, WA: Persevering through record winter storms, road closures and the general wrath of the North Cascades, local favorite and perhaps the mountain’s top freerider Temple Cummins, pumped and bumped his way over this year’s particularly demanding course to win his third Golden Duct Tape in a field that included 6-time winner Terje Haakonsen as well as last year’s champion, Glacier’s own Lucas Debari. In the pro women’s category, Burton vet Maelle Ricker came from Whistler to take home her second straight roll of glory.

Despite a Saturday closure of the highway (and therefore the mountain) by Washington’s Department of Transportation (all of Washington’s major passes and mountain highways were closed to facilitate snow removal), shredders from around the globe showed up on finals Sunday to brave the classic dumping, wet snow conditions. With sightings of notable riders from Scott E. Wittlake to Wolle Nyvelt and Rob Morrow, all generations were once again represented and inspired.

In addition to Temple’s win, the Cummin’s Family presented the Craig Kelly Award (given to Northwesters who make outstanding contributions to snowboard culture) to the 2008 recipients: The Howat Family, with Duncan accepting the trophy alongside wife Gail and daughters Amy and Gwyn. The Howats have put on the LBS for most of its 23-year history after being established by fellow CK Award winner the late Bob Barci. Although the family normally eschews any focus upon themselves, it was high time these individuals were recognized for continuing this amazing tradition, and a standing ovation from the White Salmon Lodge confirmed this.

As the evening skies cleared, the last of the bbq salmon was consumed, and the parking lot filtered out past a multi-colored Volcom R.V., it was clear again that the Banked Slalom is only enhanced, and never faded, by mother nature.

– Jeff Galbraith

Actually, writing a story about the Banked Slalom is more difficult than you might imagine: Like all contests it has winners and losers – but that’s where the similarities end.

First of all it is a ‘timed’ snowboard race that isn’t lame. In fact, this might be considered the anti race – completely devoid of hardbooters – sponsored by companies like Lib Tech and Volcom, with big names and legends competing for zero prize money. It isn’t televised, and there are no interview time outs. The riders who attend are like a who’s who of snowboarding history… from contemporary heros like Terje Haakonsen, Temple Cummins and Danny Kass to legends like Bob Klein (the 3rd guy ever to ride transition on a snowboard), Tom Burt, Pete Saari (co-founder of Lib Tech, who put up a qualifying time competitive with the pros.) And countless others: filmers, company founders and owners, retired pros, current pros, kids as young as nine are all here for the same reason – enjoying snowboarding.

– Mark Sullivan


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