The 32nd annual Mt. Baker Banked Slalom was, as always, an amazing experience. If you have never been to the MBBS you really need to mark your calendar next year and see what the longest running snowboard event in the world is all about for yourself. There is no cash prize money and the course is run by snowboarders from all ages groups. From little groms to seasoned veterans that helped make snowboarding a sport and industry. Of course this event wouldn't be possible without the dedicated people that run the event every year. Not just the people that work at Mt. Baker but all the volunteers, the industry support, the pro riders and people that live eat and sleep snowboarding.
Having the right wax along with a properly tuned board for race type of conditions is going to give you an edge. (or not) However you still have to be able to go fast and more importantly not fall. Every year you see the best snowboarders in the world race the banked slalom, sometimes they win, sometimes they don’t. When you are pushing hard sometimes even the best guys DQ.
Friday qualifiers: One inspection slip run of the course, then you wait and do your 1st and only run of Friday. The top 25% of the field from each division automatically advance to the finals on Sunday. Saturday you get one more run and they take the top 25% and the rest of the field is done. If you make it to the finals on Sunday you get two runs. But they do not tell racers their 2nd run times so no one knows who wins until the awards ceremony back at the White Slalom lodge at the base of the resort.
Friday conditions were rough. White out conditions and snowing. The light was extremely flat to the point you really couldn't see the course. Race crews worked to put down some tree branches to help guide you down the course. Due to the weather it took a long time to run everyone through the course. But the highlight of this years race had to be the finish line turn, a 360 left hand corkscrew turn into a small tunnel with a disco ball hanging at the end of the finish line. A really cool feature that must have took a long time to dig out by hand. Kudos to the race crew for their creative twist to the course. The course was also shorter than some previous races which allows them to be able to run more racers in a shorter time span. With thousands of people entering the lottery, the race organizers really want give as many people a chance to get into the event as possible.
Saturday qualifiers: The weather had completely changed. There was only a couple inches of new snow, it was cooler, icy, and blue skies. The course was fast, hard, and developing ruts as over a thousand riders have passed through the course at this time.
We were waxing folks with Racer X Universal or Cold, it was right on the line with the cold conditions, new snow and icy course. Racer X racing wax series is our new offering of race waxes with more convenient and affordable sizes. Racer X waxes have been used with great success on the biggest stages of snowboarding and ski racing. Olympics, World Cup, XGames, and just about every sort of snowboard and ski racing event for the past decade. Base structure, wax, legs and lines all make a slight difference hopefully for the better and getting you into the duct tape.
Rolling into Sunday, finals day. The sun was out, it’s fairly cold, and the runs were just getting faster! All finalist receive two runs and the course was sending some of the best to the ground and DQing. The younger Amateurs, girls and boys are incredibly fast these days and it’s exciting to see the new crop of rippers coming up! You can read the full results on the Mt Baker LBS website. http://lbs.mtbaker.us/
Oneball is honored to be a sponsor and have our extensive team and employees compete in this special event every year. It's really cool to see people from all over the world come to a little resort in the upper northwest corner of the USA to run gates down a gully for fun. Some people know they aren't going to win, some have competed dozens of time and other have never even been to the resort before. People from all over the world all for the love of snowboarding.
There are many banked slalom events popping up all over the world. Some are even qualifiers for the LBS. Events like this are fun and help grow the sport of snowboarding.
Thanks again to Mt. Baker snowboard resort