2014 A-Rob’s Smash Life Banked Slalom Alpental

Turn 5 was tricky. A rising hip into a vert wall bowl that fell away 7 feet by the time it finished. With a rock you had to high line around. It served a lot of people.
The Smash Life races are about two things. The friends involved and rememberance of Aaron Robinson.
High fives for AROB!
terraced sidewalks and steep drop away turns were used to contend with the steep falll line in sections.
Turn 4. One of the few places to catch your breath on the course.
Marcel Dolak takes his racing serious, and it pays off. Cool calm and calculated brought him a first place finish in the grumpy old men division.
a bold move to ride a 169 K2 Eldorado in this mini-bike style course. I proved an ill fated selection.
pump bumps and tight pocketed banks constructed the last 7 turns.
miscalculating and blowing out the berm before this goat track meant a 8 foot drop to the next berm below. no joke.
Matt Klimek was another key person in the construction of the course. At this point he is probably wishing we had put more space between these turns.
Kyle Miller in turn one and on his way to a third place finish at alpental and first place overall for the series.
Shane Stalling pulls out onto the course. Only to be followed by a fitting barrage of snowballs.
Hjalmar Syverson spent days digging the course before hand. Thanks Hjalmar.
Consequences of turn 5. Chase
First place finisher and second place overall, Todd Kirby, handles the toughest turn on course.
Not sure if John Shaw is shouting
Austin Hironaka came back from the land of powder to ride this bobsled track. I think he was shocked.
All the way from Montana, the infamous Riot Act. They know how to get a mosh pit going.

words and photos: Jeff Hawe

It's a good feeling to stand back after multiple long days of hard labor moving tons of snow by hand, to realize you've built something special. Something which will bring people together for a very good cause. It will give them an objective whilst celebrating the life of a departed friend. Just ask the dedicated crew of volunteers and Summit Snoqualmie employees who shoveled endlessly to complete this years Alpental Smash Life Banked Slalom. They did something good, again. Granted the course was some sort of twisted-hybrid bastard red-headed step child of a banked slalom and derby course. Snaking its way through characteristically steep Alpental terrain, this "track" was likened to a bobsled course and a icy bull riding rodeo. Yet when the dust settled on Saturday January 18th, thankfully everyone rode away smiling. No season enders resulted in the amplitude of carnage on course.

The race series known as simply the Smash Life, a phrase coined by the late Aaron Robinson, has become more of a gathering than a competition. Sure, riders show up ready to race and push it to their fastest. But in the end, the positive love-all-energy AROB was know for always overshadows any happenings on course. This race series continues to grow, with plans for an expansion to a two day format in 2015. Every race since its inception has filled to capacity. People love what it is all about. Good times on a snowboard. ! ! In a nod of recognition from the holy grail of races the Mt Baker Legendary Banked Slalom. The overall winner (whomever boasted the fastest combined time from both the MT and WA races) of the men's and women's open categories received a spot in the 2014 LBS. The gravity of this was not lost on the recipients. Todd Kirby and Sarris McComb will be saying their prayers and pulling out of the infamous LBS start shack this year.

A few other quick highlights from this years Alpental Smash Life. Sean Robinson (Aaron's younger brother) showed up and ripped with us. The young riders hung tough and put up some impressive times. The infamous parking lot camping antics and good times in lot 3 continued on. The overall vibe and attitude at the race is summed best in that it matters nothing who you are or how talented of a rider you are. The fact that you are there taking part is enough for the rest of the tribe to cheer for you and share the stoke.


Men’s Open:
Todd Kirby – 51.13
Andy Bergin Sperry – 51.32
Kyle Miller – 51.63

Women’s Open:
Sarris McComb – 56.28
Mallory Sullivan – 102.89
Robyn Bonerman – 103.27

Grumpy Old Men:
Marcel Dolak – 53.17
Ryan McCurdy – 55.63
Kemo Cole – 55.74

Isabella Gomez – 58.18

Keala Cole – 55.84
Austin Buza – 56.19
Matteo Sultan – 56.22