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Killington is my home mountain. I mean, I ride at Mt Hood these days, but Killington is where I learned to snowboard and hold many fond memories of my youth. So when the ultimate East Coast event weekend (6 total over a four day span) included the opportunity to spend two days at the Beast of the East, needless to say, I was ecstatic. The fact that the event was a banked slalom (the only contest I’m capable of holding my own in anymore) only made things better.
This was not just any Banked Slalom though. This was the first annual Slash and Berm, which ran through the Killington Stash park and day 2 (which is what I will focus on here) was also a team event. As soon as I heard the latter, I set out to assemble the dream banked slalom team (that consisted of people who were on the east and didn’t already have teammates.) First I selected Erik Hoffman, photographer and white-guy fro haver. I figured the extra weight from his hair would give him an edge. Next was Pat Fay, who’s women’s pants made him especially aerodynamic. And finally, Max Lyons, who according to Instagram, is pretty good at snowboarding. We had this in the bag (especially when you take into account only the top two scores counted.)
Now, I’ve been to a few banked slaloms in my day, and this course proved to be my most formidable adversary. Let me run you though it real quick. First you dropped in to a right turn, then keep it strait to drop a staircase. From there it’s a quick left to a table top, next a step down, and then mountain-bike-style c-box. Make it past that and you take a roller into a step up. After that was a single turn before the mandatory wall ride, which if you hit too fast you’d easily miss the next quick right turn. (There were actually spotters at this step pointing you in the right direction.) After that another left shot you through a snow tunnel, and into a long arcing turn around the shack. A slight uphill shot you into the woods in slow motion, where a helltrack (for lack of a better term) with pump bumps and doubles, sharp turns and general need for quickness was the scene. Once you popped out of that, a super sharp left turn sent you into a series of 4 or five berms before pointing it back into the trees. In the final stretch there was one precarious turn that sent many a racer into a tree, and finally, an option pole jam if you really wanted to earn style points (that didn’t count for anything.)
In total it took the fastest racer, Steven Kelly, 1:33.48 seconds to get through his team, Surf the Earth would finish second overall. For me, it took more like 2:02, and sadly, my dream team didn’t fair much better. Actually, Erik and I ended up hitting the same tree and when all was said and done, we’d taken 13th place. As it turns out, the real dream team was from Burton – Ryan and Connor Manning, Josh Zerkel and Ralph Kuchirek (who DQ’d, for the record.)
I caught up with the Mannings after the event and asked their secret. Apparently hitting the c box was a mistake (they jumped the corner and pointed it to the step up) and also it was important not to be a pussy. “Sometimes it just takes gate to make you realize you can do something,” Connor explained.
The spoils of victory.
And that’s about it. The winning team took home a sick carved Bear trophy and will no doubtedly return next year to defend their honor. As of right now, Killington Parks mastermind Rosey has already started planning the course. Thanks are also in order for Darkside and Burton and the Molly Fund, to which all proceeds benefited.