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The 2012 Legendary Banked Slalom: Ice Ruts, Handplants, and a Victory for the Veteran Contingent

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Item: Banked Slalom 2012
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Mother Nature works in mysterious ways in the Pacific Northwest—and she always seems to throw a curveball at Mt Baker’s Legendary Banked Slalom. In this, the 27th year of snowboarding’s second oldest ongoing event, competitors were greeted with a mixed bag of rain, sun, and cooling temperatures through the weekend. And, amongst what many were calling the most challenging banked slalom in recent years, it was the veterans who proved that edge control doesn’t dissipate with age. Indeed, there was no surprise victory from a 17-year-old as in 2011. Rather, the top of the pro men’s podium came in at 35-plus, with Terje Haakonsen (37), Josh Dirksen (35) and Temple Cummins (37) rounding out the top three spots. Perhaps it was a sign of the times—as the snowboarding world matures before our eyes, turning 30 doesn’t mean that you can no longer hang with the young bucks.

Soft, fast, and flowy hit runs from Austin to the Death Star ditch kept competitors satiated throughout Friday, while one of the quicker courses in recent years transformed from mellow, longer turns to near-vertical banks and developed heavy trenches near the gates. By Saturday, temperatures had dropped to the low 30s and a heavy crust took over the ruts. Picking one’s line was no longer an option—racers had to simply line it up through the transition then hold on for the ride through quickening corners. Alpine mist moved in and out, providing a brief glimpse here and there of Mt Shuksan looming over the course, as staying on your feet became the ticket to Sunday. Indeed, a good pair of goggles may have been more important than a good wax job—Scotty Wittlake and Maria Debari dropped in with a squeegee or two hooked over their thumbs for moto-style sight-line refreshers midway through a minute and a half of berms.

But, by the end of the day, skies cleared and a smattering of wet snow moved in for the salmon barbeque at Mt Baker’s new Raven Lodge below Chairs 3, 5 and 6—and there, behind the grills, a tombstone quarterpipe added a new element to LBS weekend as hand-planters vied for a ticket to next year’s LBS. It was the first time in about 20 years that freestyle was part of the slalom, and it was a venue for the groms to jib with their heroes in front of a thoroughly packed beer garden as a thousand or so revelers prepared for Saturday night’s festivities, including the frequency TSJ party in conjunction with Lib Tech and Smith Optics at Glacier’s last cocktail stop, Chair 9. There, Metalmucil, Scott Sullivan and the T-Bagging Bandits played to a full house, a line formed around the corner, and the police once again proved their interest in a good time by maintaining a healthy presence both inside the bar and in the parking lot.

And then there was Sunday—hangovers, ice, and two runs to glory. Pro Masters repeat champion Mark Fawcett simply described the course as “challenging.” In the same category, Marcel Dolak washed out twice but still wound up in second place. Travis Rice, who qualified in first, proved his mortality by washing out and missing the podium. The 30-plus category ran faster than the 20-29ers for the first time in recent history, and the old dogs proved that, at least when it comes to turning a snowboard, older and wiser really does apply.

A huge thanks to the Howats, Nicole, Britt, all of the course workers, racers and spectators; if you build it we will come. And we will never tire of sliding slippery through a ditch with several hundred members of the tribe. See you in the start shack in 2013.

Results

Men’s Pro:

1. Terje Haakonsen (1.25.66)

2. Josh Dirksen (1.26.21)

3. Temple Cummins (1.26.27)

4. Rob Fagan (1.26.52)

5. Blair Habenicht (1.27.20)

6. Lucas Debari (1.28.02)

Women’s Pro:

1. Maelle Ricker (1.31.81)

2. Laura Hadar (1.36.40)

3. Maria Debari (1.37.93)

Men’s Pro Masters:

1. Mark Fawcett (1.31.56)

2. Marcel Dolak (1.33.95)

3. Blue Montgomery (1.34.04)

Women’s Pro Masters:

1. Barrett Christy (1.39.43)

2. Amy Eichner (1.44.83)

3. Marguerite Cossettini (1.45.17)

Men’s Older Ams:

1. Nate Kewin (1.33.19)

2. Spencer Cordovano (1.33.81)

3. Daniel Sandberg (1.33.97)

Men’s Younger Ams:

1. Ryan Roemer (1.34.33)

2. Gus Warbington (1.35.15)

3. Travis Claughton (1.41.57)

Women’s Ams:

1. Danielle Davis (1.49.19)

2. Sally Butler (1.54.79)

3. Martina Nemcova (1.58.89)

Juniors:

1. Jacob Krugmire (1.36.63)

2. Cody Warble (1.39.69)

3. Jonas Harris (1.42.67)

Next Gen:

1. Milo Malkoski (1.44.70)

2. Keala Cole (1.53.02)

3. Kailani Lauderdale (1.58.38)

Women’s Masters:

1. Tanya Simonson (1.53.30)

2. Sarah Taylor (1.54.41)

3. Christine Zander (1.55.20)

Men’s Masters:

1. Adam Haynes (1.31.72)

2. John Kaiser (1.33.01)

3. Chris Tretwold (1.34.17)

Mid Masters:

1. Gorio Bustamante (1.37.79)

2. Mike Cummins (1.38.14)

3. Waylon Edwards (1.38.71)

Grand Masters:

1. Randy Haugen (1.57.53)

2. Kevin Boyce (1.58.29)

3. Mark Hogan (1.59.76)

Fakie Contest:

1. Rob Kingwill

2. Travis Rice

3. Harry Kearney

For the full results, visit the official Legenday Banked Slalom website.

Main Image: Meg Haywood-Sullivan.

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