Finals Sunday at The 25th Annual Mount Baker Banked Slalom

Mt Baker, WA (February 8, 2010)

Yesterday, one of the longest-running snowboard contests in the world celebrated its 25th anniversary. And a quarter-century into its run as perhaps the most community-oriented event in the game, things have certainly changed; snowboarding has matured from a social misfit only embraced by a few resorts like Mt Baker to a media darling for the upcoming Olympics. But alongside the big-money events going on at the same time, like the Dew Tour and Canadian Open, snowboarders from all over the world still show up to try to win a roll of duct tape, a blanket, and a custom belt buckle.

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Item: Hawe LBS Day Three
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Photos: Jeff Hawe

Indeed, those who have been snowboarding the longest seem to appreciate the event more, as this year the men’s masters category (30-39) had more riders than older amateurs (20-29), which, I’d be willing to bet, hadn’t happened in the 25 year history. And alongside industry veterans like Johan Malkoski and Benny Pellegrino, legends like Tom Burt, Alex Warburton, Temple Cummins, DCP, Dan Donnelly (who received the Craig Kelly Award from our own Jeff Galbraith) and Scotty Wittlake, and unsung heroes who wash dishes every night and shred every day kept it on edge all the same.

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Item: Jessie Lu Iphone LBS
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Photos: Jessie Lu. “Most Hugs per Capita at the LBS.”

Those who earned the right to race on superbowl Sunday arrived to cloudy skies and warming temperatures, with fog rolling in and out of the natural halfpipe. The mood was certainly more subdued, with a flurry of activity around the waxing station before each group took their two laps through the course, some preferring to find a quiet spot to meditate and others sending hit runs on-hill and backcountry laps in the alpine to forget about pre-race jitters. And by the time the race staff—who, I should mention, pulled things off without a hitch—finally got everyone through the nearly two-minute course, including an impromptu fakie race through the fog at the end of the day, all were thoroughly saturated with shred love by three days of lapping the mountain with good friends who may only be seen once a year.

Video: One run down the course on Saturday qualifiers.

Although the course consisted of about ten more gates this year, pushing times closer to two minutes than ever before, times were still very close, with hundredths of a second separating many in the top ten of every category. In the White Salmon Lodge, no one was really sure who won and every finisher, from super masters to juniors, got a house-shaking welcome to the front of the room, particularly Maelle Ricker’s repeat performance as Women’s Pro champion. And when they announced Temple Cummins come-from-behind victory in Men’s Pro, his fourth roll of golden duct tape, it sent the packed-house into a frenzy that scared the lodge cat into hiding and brought most out of their seats.

Many thanks to Nicole, Laura, Gwyn, Britt and the rest of the race crew for getting everyone down the course smoothly and with a smile on their face, to Henry and the barbeque cooks for the salmon, and to everyone who showed up to share in the quarter-century-long history of the race. Here’s to 25 more years of reminding us what’s really important as snowboarders—a sense of community that lives on at the Legendary Banked Slalom, and the joy that can come from simply using your edges to get down the mountain.


Pro Men: Temple Cummins, 1:43.08

Pro Women: Maelle Ricker, 1:49.88

Pro Masters: Tim Carlson, 1:50.73

Masters: Johnny Martens, 1:48.37

Super Masters: Bob Satushek, 2:35.52

Grand Masters: Jim Taylor, 2:06.89

Mid Masters: Gorio Bustamante, 1:54.40

Women Masters: Tanya Simonson, 2:02.30

Women Amateurs: Martina Nemcova, 2:04.93

Older Amateurs: Craig Newbury, 1:46.57

Younger Amateurs: Austen Sweetin, 1:47.76

Juniors: Gus Warbington, 1:55.14

Next Generation: Cody Warble, 2:00.43

For full results from final’s Sunday visit the Mt Baker website.


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