Slopestyle and halfpipe are great events but they’ve been over commercialized in recent years. The rider’s freedom of expression has been reduced in exchange for higher ratings and wider general public consumption. There are one-off competitions like Travis Rice’s Supernatural, held at Baldface Lodge, that have pushed the culture forward. But, are there any left that are still pure? Sure there is Terje Haakonsen’s wonder child, the Arctic Challenge, but is there anything closer in North America? There is! Look no further than the Pacific Northwest – The Mt Baker Banked Slalom.
The Legendary Banked Slalom
Started in 1985, this is one of the oldest and baddest events in snowboarding. You won’t see speed suits like Giant Slalom but rather lots of Gore-Tex and twin-tip free-ride boards. Also, to keep with the grassroots style, the winner receives a Duct Tape trophy along with an embroidered Carhartt jacket. Even the “Rob Morrow rule” oozes snowboard culture. Since it was his idea, it made sense to name it after him. Rob makes the brackets easy to follow. Each racer takes one qualifying run on Friday and about the top 25% for each category automatically qualify for the Sunday finals. If you don’t make it, you can try again on Saturday to qualify.
Compared to the US Open, which has moved from its original location to Vail, the Legendary Banked Slalom has stayed put at the snowiest ski resort on the planet – Mt Baker. If you make it up to Washington and want to see the course in person, head over to Chair 8. On rider’s right toward the edge of the ski area boundary, you will see the berms for the Mt. Baker Banked Slalom course.
Why is it so famous?
Not unlike the Daytona 500, the Mt. Baker Banked Slalom (a.k.a. the Legendary Banked Slalom) is considered the most prestigious of all banked slalom events. On top of that, it also happens to be one of the oldest banked slalom events in snowboarding. This event also gets credit as the incubator for Boardercross. Another shining point for the event is its snowboarders-by-snowboarders mantra, without the corporate push that has tarnished a lot of other historic competitions. Finally, the list of winners reads like the snowboarding hall of fame. Here are just a few:
- Tom Sims (Won the 1st annual)
- Terje Haakonsen
- Shaun Palmer
- Craig Kelly
- Xavier De Le Rue
- Rob Morrow
Friday February 10, 2017
8:00 – 8:45 AM • RACER CHECK-IN; MUST PRE-REGISTER; NO DAY-OF REGISTRATION
9:00 – 10:00 AM • COURSE INSPECTION
10:15 AM • RACE START
1:30 PM • MUSIC & FIRE PIT @ WHITE SALMON DAY LODGE (weather dependent)
4:00 PM • RESULTS – The list of qualifying racers for the Sunday Finals will post in the Racer Info Booth @ White Salmon Day Lodge
Saturday February 11, 2017
9:07 – 9:23 AM • COURSE INSPECTION
9:30 AM • SATURDAY RACE START
2:00 – 5:30 PM • BONFIRE, SALMON BBQ, MUSIC – Everyone welcome. Bring your bib to get complimentary food & bring a friend (check Racer Info Booth for non-racer food tickets). 21 & Over only in the Beer Garden
4:00 PM • FINALIST POSTING – The list of qualifying racers for the Sunday finals will post in the Racer Info Booth @ White Salmon Day Lodge
Sunday February 12, 2017
9:15AM • SUNDAY RACE START
NO COURSE INSPECTION unless a ton of snow falls and we need it packed out
4:00 PM • PRIZES & AWARDS – Main Level @ White Salmon Day Lodge
Please Note: Schedule of events is subject to change without notice depending on unpredictable circumstances. We will post all race time changes at the start shack and the Race Info Booth @ White Salmon Day Lodge lower level