words: Mary Walsh
photos: Mike Yoshida and Mary Walsh
captions: Pat Bridges
This year, in honor of the thirtieth anniversary of this fabled, Northwestern turning event, an extra day was added to the schedule at the Legendary Mt. Baker Banked Slalom. Usually, the LBS has two days of qualifiers for all divisions, but this edition of Mt. Baker’s finest contest held additional qualifying runs for former winners, industry pros, and deemed legends on Saturday in one final burst to further bolster Sunday’s ranks.
Before the clock started running on course, it was a mad dash as a foot-plus of fresh snow blanketed the mountain. Whoever exited Chair 9 before last call the previous night (and some who had not but whose will for powder was strong) headed up the access road beneath cloudy skies, stacked the line up, and sent unbridled slashes down untracked trails and through the trees. By the time the shack was occupied with racers at the top of the banked course, the clouds had separated, opening up to blue skies and a majestically white-cloaked Mt. Shuksan.
The roster of riders was a first class list of legendary individuals, some who have dedicated seasons to shaping the industry and community and some who are in the middle of their influential arcs. Rob Morrow, Jamie Lynn, Ken Achenbach, Terje Haakonsen, Pat McCarthy, Circe Wallace, Jake Blauvelt, Gus Warbington, Mathieu Crepel, Austen Sweetin, Mike Basich, Tom Burt, Andy Hetzel, Maelle Ricker, Nate Holland, Jeff Pensiero, and Harry Kearney were merely a few of the notable snowboarders who dropped in.
At the heart of the Baker Banked, nestled within the left and right arcs that wind down the natural halfpipe, is the undisputed awareness that this is a weekend for and by snowboarders, where, for more than three decades, people whose winters are dominated by a constant need to stand sideways have congregated to take their place in their community alongside like-minded friends. It’s fitting that this annual reunion happens to be at a resort that is home to some of the most storied terrain in North America and when a storm rolls through, there are few places better to lean back and point it downhill. On the third day of the 30th Annual Legendary Banked Slalom, after two days of damp, cold Washington weather–albeit with very fun fresh–the steeps were refilled, the roosters were let out, and the precip was pilfered by a massive gang of snow-hungry frothers. It’s difficult to express collective group excitement without sounding hokey, but fuck it, if you weren’t there, you were blowing it.
There’s one more day of the 30th Annual Legendary Mt. Backer Banked Slalom as the finalists vie for a chance to win the gold duct tape and find their way into the canon of past winners. Below are the men’s and women’s pro qualifiers, check out the full results on the LBS website. Stay tuned to Snowboarder.com for the full recap tomorrow.
1st – Gus Warbington – 2:01.32
2nd – Mathieu Crepel – 2:01.90
3rd – Terje Haakonsen – 2:02.09
4th – Austen Sweetin – 2:02.223 (tiebreaker first run – 2:03.16)
5th – Pontus Staahlkloo – 2:02.223 (tiebreaker first run – 2:04.71)
6th – Harry Kearney – 2:02.84
7th – Jake Blauvelt – 2:03.42
8th – Nate Holland – 2:04.23
9th – Jerry Mack – 2:04.98
1st – Maelle Ricker – 2:04.06
2nd – Stephanie Haines – 2:07.58
3rd – Helen Schettini – 2:13.52
4th – Kelsey Galt – 2:14.13
5th – Annie Boulanger – 2:20.13
6th – Kari Hoss – 2:21.32
7th – Halina Boyd – 2:28.17
8th – Stacy Asarian (Thomas) – 2:44.72