Ralph Kucharek Wins Sidesurfers Banked Slalom At Sugarbush

words: Stan Leveille
photos: Ashley Rosemeyer and Peter Cirilli

After carefully navigating 21 turns, a straightaway section leading to a 100-foot banked wall of snow and two speed rollers placed devilishly close to the finish line… I screeched to a halt completely out of breath but uncompromisingly ecstatic.

This weekend marked the second annual Sidesurfers Banked Slalom, an event held at Sugarbush in partnership with John Murphy's sunglass accessory brand, Sidesurfers. For those of you unclear on the term "banked slalom," it describes a snowboard race in which the rider must navigate a course of banked turns, making sure not to miss any gates, for this will disqualify their run. Historians would credit the first banked slalom to Mount Baker's Legendary Banked Slalom in Washington State. The first race was held in 1985 and is considered the predecessor to boardercross.

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Congruent with the LBS in Washington, would be this event’s immense public support. Where slopestyle and halfpipe competitions can be isolating, the banked slalom is an event for the whole family, be it the extended family of those that love snowboarding or literal families who have members of varying ages and skill levels.

"The event is important to me because it brings together generations of snowboarders to celebrate our shared passion with a fun and accessible community event. I started Sidesurfers as a way to stay creative, push boundaries, and an outlet to stay adventurous. Gathering the community to celebrate the simple act of turning is a perfect way to create positive camaraderie and help pass our craft to the next generation of rippers,” said John Murphy, who received a time that would have given him second place, but he took himself out of the running.

The average men's time to complete the course was around 1:10.00, but repeat men's winner and Vermont living-legend, Ralph Kucharek, clocked an astonishing time of 1:03.44. When asked what got him across the finish line so quickly, Kucharek responded, "Pointing it where others checked speed, peer pressure, and a Gnu snowboard."

Results:

Youth Boys (1-15)

1. Xavier Kennedy
2. Joseph Niquette
3. Yoni Herskowitz

Youth Girls (1-15)
1.Acadia Farell
2. Ilyana Valadakis
3: Josephine Neary


Men (15-31)

Ralph Kucharek
Tommy Emanuelson
Ryan Manning

Women (15-31)
Olivia Shively
Lilly Calabrese
Samantha Madden

Men (31+)
1.Ryan Flynn
2. Toby Parks
3. Michael Rodrigues

Women (31+)
1. Meghan Oliver
2. Amanda Gardner
3. Sandra Murphy

 

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