words and photos: Mike Azevedo
Bearded, beer-drinking, bastards. These are my people, and these people came in hoards to attend the First Annual Mike Baker Banked Slalom hosted by Ragged Mountain. The lack of an open container law in my home town of Danbury, New Hampshire, allowed the contestants the liquid courage it took to take on the monstrous course. Mike Baker, Ben Newton and the Ragged Mountain crew constructed a fast and technical course, which ended with an uphill berm that threw the riders for a loop. As the race went on, the speeds increased and so did the pace of the beer drinking spectators, resulting in somewhat of a gauntlet at the bottom turn. It was a flashback to the way East Coast contests used to be: rowdy and hilarious. These types of contests are absolutely necessary. There needs to be contests that are solely based on getting the local snowboard community together and having a good time.
In the end, things weren't quite as rowdy as I make it sound, a little light-hearted debauchery never hurt anyone. The top speeds were held by present and future local legends. In the Mens 30 Plus category, it was Aaron Diamond taking the top spot, with Mike Baker and Waterville's Luke Mathison takings second and third. In the Open class, Chris Carr took the win, with Merrick Joyce and Avert Guldemond with the silver and bronze flask positions. Overall, the contest brought together snowboarders of all ages and abilities and showed them all a damn good time. And that my friends, is what it's all about.