words and photos: Mary Walsh

There are not enough opportunities in a season to meet up and snowboard with a heavy selection of the boarding community all in the name of sharing our love of standing sideways and in only two seasons, Jamie Cobbett and Mike Baker have created an event that brings over one hundred snowboarders together for a day of shredding debauchery and good, old fashioned competition. The Second Annual Mike Baker Banked Slalom went down on Friday, March 14 at Ragged Mountain in New Hampshire and we’re all better for having raced down the icy banked slalom course under graybird skies.

It’s been a great winter in New England with plentiful snowfall, though the white stuff has been accompanied by an onslaught of depressingly cold temperatures. Negative twenties have been only the tip of the iceberg for New Hampshire residents and while the cold has been fairly unbearable it was practically preparation for the balmy East Coast weather that graced the Mike Baker Banked Slalom. For the second annual iteration of the contest, the snow was hardpack and the course was very technical. One turn that dog-legged left into two rollers with gates that were practically daring regular footers to crash into them, sloughed speed for many competitors and catalyzed fast times on the top of the course. The pride of New England-raised riders, the ability to carve in hairy conditions, was tested and the crowd of 130+ competitors couldn’t have been more stoked to prove their mettle.

Mike Baker has been a legendary personality in New Hampshire for years, both for his abilities on his snowboard as well as his humble and gracious personality. Throughout the day, his biggest concern was that the crowd was having fun, and impressively, he was able to balance this with a top ten finish of his own–he is a classic NHD (for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, a trip to the Granite State is in order). Baker’s gregariousness and Ragged Event Manager Jamie Cobbett’s contest-organizing skills drew a crowd of the who’s who in New England and beyond: all of the locals, from ASSMan Eric Kovall and new dad Andrew Mutty, to Tom Johnson, Chris Carr, and Sam Hulbert, and Loon locals Mike Ravelson, Cole St. Martin, Tyler L’Heureux and Parker Szumowski were signed up. Vermont locals Dan Hartman and Chip Allen Natvig, as well as Rome’s Josh Reid and Chris Piatek made the trek to Ragged, as well. Tanner McCarky flew out from Seattle, Eastern Boarder’s Herb Gringon and Andy Bub came up from Mass, and the whole Mervin and Think Thank crew was signed up: Jesse Burtner, Brandon Reis, Sean Genovese, Krush Kulesza, Max and Gus Warbington, and more. And, of course NHDs Aaron Diamond, Ben Newton, Avert Guldemond, Nelson Wormstead, and Shane Nassar were standing at the drop in.

The line for the drop in may have have been over an hour, but no one was complaining as they schemed side bets at the top of the course. Nelson Wormstead took one hundered dollars of Kovall’s ASS cash for beating him in the race; Tanner McCarty got to slap Brandon Reis in the face with his dirty sock and force Reis to wear the sock like dog ears. Rumor is that the slowest Think Thanker has to wear clothing for the whole weekend picked out by the rest of the crew from a local thrift store, and more than one relationship may have been on the rocks when the guy and girl’s times were too close for comfort. When it comes down to official standings though, it was Ross Powers, who traveled to NH from Stratton with his daughter Victoria, who bested the field with a very impressive 44. 9. Apparently he fell during his winning run and still achieved such a low score; that dude can (not surprisingly) turn his snowboard. Max Warbington brought his Mt. Bachelor talents to Ragged and earned second with a 45. 33 and Sean Genovese of the Dino Race Team placed third with a respectable 45.73. On the women’s side, Katie Kennedy wowed the field with a 48. 27, a score admired by many of the dudes in attendance. Ethan Norton, who took last place for the day, went home with a brand new NHD tattoo.

As the day wrapped up and the competitors gathered in the baselodge to celebrate the winners and spend their spoils on PBR tall cans, the last thing that could be heard as the crowd settled in was, “Avert Guldemond had to leave early, but he said to spend his winnings at the bar–that doesn’t sound like him, so the NHDs could be lying.” Another awesome year for the Mike Baker Banked Slalom.

A HUGE thanks to Mike Baker, Jamie Cobbett, and Ragged Mountain, who put together an epic event and provided a good time for everyone in attendance. Thank you to all the sponsors, Lib Tech, Oakley, Rome, DVS, Stanley, and more.

RESULTS:

OPEN
1. Ross Powers – 44.90
2. Max Warbington – 45.33
3. Sean Genovese – 45.73
4. Gus Warbington – 45.95
5. Andrew Mutty – 46.05
6. Sam Hulbert – 46.12
7. Mike Baker – 46.18
8. Avert Guldemond – 46.31
9. Stephen Foley – 46.47
10. TIE – Ryan Flynn  and Merrick Joyce – 46.67

MEN’S 37+
1. Jeff Juneau
2. Mike Tallone
3. Jason Goldsmith
4. Eric Webster
5. Krush Kulesza

WOMEN
1. Katie Kennedy
2. Alica Pasquerillo
3. Mary Walsh
4. Sarah Greenshields
5. Tarrah Robillard