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Blair Habenicht wins the 2016 Smashlife Banked Slalom – Alpental

Jay Hergert

Jay Hergert, smash pow and life, simultaneously. 

Words and photos Garrett Read

The 5th annual A-Rob Smash Life banked slalom went down at Alpental on January 16th and 17th. A fundraiser for the A-Rob plant a seed project, it was started by Aaron Robison’s Family after we lost Aaron in a snowboarding accident in Chile in 2011. The A-Rob Plant a Seed Project is a non-profit that gives underprivileged youth a chance to experience the fun of snowboarding and that is just what the Smash Life Banked Slalom is all about.

This Season at Alpental has been one for the books. With the 2nd deepest snowpack in the country, the team was able to construct a course with huge waves that snaked down this natural gully, which made it “challenging but fun,” according to Blair Habenicht. And much like the previous month the snow was falling hard, so hard that on Saturday the course was buried and the powers that be decided to qualify everybody and the racers all went and ripped pow. On Sunday the snow had not let up, and competitors were riding pow between their runs, a proper tribute to A-Rob!

Blair Habenicht took the win in open class and when the results are final they will all be available at smashlifebankedslalom.com

Aaron Cardwell

Aaron Cardwell turning.Alpental

There’s a little bit of snow at Alpental. Blair

Blair Habenicht, not as fast going up as down.
Blair turn

Snowy wonderland.

dropping

Dropping!

Locals

The local color. more turns

Aggressive turning.
Turn

Pitted on course.

open winners

The winners.

Kyle Miller and Sarris McComb Win Smash Life Banked Slalom – Big Sky

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Kyle Miller.

For the past five years, Shane Stalling has labored tirelessly to bring the people the Smash Life Banked Slalom at Big Sky. Held in honor of fallen comrade Aaron Robinson, the event raises money for the Plant a Seed Foundation and brings together the Montana snowboard community like no other. This year the runs went down from Jan 9-10, two mellow days with plenty of time for course inspection and smashing beers, as well as a metal show from local band Scavenger on Saturday night. The course was conveniently located next to the terrain park under the Swift chair, in the Big Sky version of the Stash, with 12 or so tight-yet-manageable hand dug banks and a low-gnar factor compared to years past.

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Spencer!

Part of what makes this banked slalom stand out from others is the fact it’s at an incredible place such as Big Sky. The resort goes out of its way for this event – offering hook ups such as $50 tickets for competitors. (They’re usually a bit more expensive…) If you’ve never been, Big Sky is a nice glimpse into how the other half lives, with slopeside hot tubs, pristine grooming, and an insane uphill capacity that whisks you up to the 11,000 ft top of Lone Peak if you so desire. You may even run into a Kardashian here. And because it’s Montana, the snow is crisp and cold and somehow manages to get better through out the day, not worse. It’s incredible, really.

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But enough about that. On the course, Kyle Miller took the win in both men’s open class and the switch race, edging out last year’s champ Micah Hoogeven. Sarris McComb took the win for the women, obviously. For full results go here.

tuning

Proper tuning tech is key. 

At a lot of snowboard events, cool guy vibes are prevalent, but not here. Smiles, high fives and introductions to people you don’t know are the norm. The competition is real, but at the end of the day, no one cares who wins. (Just as long as they don’t get last, right?) While there were not a ton of big name pros in attendance, crews from Washington, Minnesota, Idaho and more showed up to get in on the action. The result was a big party of friends that I’m glad I didn’t miss. If you get the chance to go in the future, don’t blow it, Smash Life Banked Slalom is one for the books.

The action continues next weekend at Alpental*, where after a couple years of low tide, well, it’s gonna be sick!

*It should also be noted that the top combined times from this race and Alpental will score a bid into the Baker Banked Slalom, so hopefully Kyle likes taking trips to Washington!

RESULTS

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Qualifiers action

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Art.

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Mandatory start gate shot. 

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Icing, definitely still a thing in Montana. Shane is the victim. 

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Bert Spurr in the flesh. 

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Kitted for finals day. 

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A good time was had by all. 

Yobeat’s Year in Review – January 2014

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My, my it’s been a crazy year here at Yobeat, as well as in the rest of Board World! There were sex scandals, exotic travel, foreigners with funny accents, a ton of dudes from the Midwest, and that’s just us! Anyway… because we have a very short collective memory and try to stay on the pulse of what’s happening in the snowboard world, we will of course be using our old posts to jog our memory.

January

We kicked off the year with a Hump Day with Denis “Bonus” Leyontev, who is cool, for a Russian. Yobeaters fanned their hate/love affair with Summit County when a questionable Bet You Can’t came out of Keystone. We got to go to Big Sky, Montana for the Smash Life banked slalom where Stan beat me. He would also do the same at Alpental, WA for the second stop, and win the media pool! BTW – Smash Life is happening again at Big Sky and Alpental this year and registration is open!

The 2014 Real Snow videos dropped, but someone would later rig the vote, ruining for everyone. Tim Eddy and Taylor Carlton went ultimate split boarding and it was really funny, but not as funny as skier nut shots  or the the lead up to the Olympics. Forest Bailey was crowned Yobeat’s Rider of The Year by you, the reader. Smokin added GBP Snowboards and Nial Romanek to its program. Ashbury tapped the Euro Market with Benny Urban. It was also a big month for snowboot boot brands adding team riders. ThirtyTwo picked up Jeremy Jones (the other one got silently cut from the big B recently, so no need to specify), Vans kept it core with Jake Kuyzk and Celsius grabbed Nick Dirks (ironically, while he was simultaneously getting dropped from K2.)

The talks of snowboarding being doomed really kicked with this article on in Outside. Todd Richards bitched out Bob Costas.  Shaun White dropped his self-filmed documentary.Strange Brew went to Trollhaugen and Yawgoo Valley.   I went to ISPO (European SIA),which I officially deemed better than SIA (but what isn’t better in Europe these days?) Yawgoons finally dropped their first edit of the seasonat the end of the month, and yep, they’re sick.

Seeing as we posted A LOT of shit and I wouldn’t want any one to have to read anything too long, I might as well spread these out a bit. Stay tuned for the rest of the year as I write them all week long! In fact, here’s February.

Don’t miss a damn thing -follow us on our social networks including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat (@Yobeat.)

 

Smashlife Banked Slalom Video

The 3rd Annual Smash Life Banked Slalom was a huge success. Check out full results and coverage here.

Smashlife Banked Slalom: The Series

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May we finally find out who smashes the hardest.

2013 Smash Life Banked Slalom: Alpental

If you’re looking to prove how good you are at snowboarding to yourself, or anyone else, the course at the Alpental Smash Life Banked Slalom was the perfect benchmark. Conveniently located in shadows on a trail literally deemed “too steep” last year by Joe Pope and his motley crew of park rats, the winding snake run was hand dug for three days, and really, really fucking long. Let’s just say, we THOUGHT the course at Big Sky was scary, but while there may have been less random rocks sticking out at Alpental, the room for detrimental error (read: flying at full speed out of a berm and sliding indefinitely down a bumpy, rutted trail) was huge. Even Montana mad man Shane Stalling admitted they may be trying to kill us with this one.

Luckily, for those of us with desk jobs and gigantic egos, making it down the course fast was not really the point. No! I’m not just making excuses for my poor performance (but let’s just set the record straight, it was pathetic) I’m actually talking about why we were all there. The event, like the one a few weeks back in Montana, was a fundraiser for the A Rob Plant a Seed foundation, and all funds raised will go to help get kids to the hill. The online registration filled up in 36 hours and when all was said and done on January 19, 2013, 126 racers of all ages, creeds and genders tried their hardest not to die. (For the record, no one did.)

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Blue Montgomery has a desk job, but you wouldn’t know it.

The fact that it was for a good cause didn’t stop everyone from 9-year-olds to industry heads to pros to the local legends from throwing themselves down it at top speed with little to no regard for personal safety. In fact, if you were really good (or potentially really stupid) the second half of the course was built perfectly for speed. And since you were so tired from hanging on for dear life at the top half of the course, there was really nothing to do other than go with it (unless you’re me, then you speed checked like a girl riding up to a rail.)

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It all started here.

The women, children and old people went first, and a top time of 1:19.14 was clocked by 14-17-year-old Justus Hines. This time would end up to be respectable overall, but as soon as the men hit the course, we saw what was really possible — well, if you’re Blair Habenicht As a Washington native, and one of the few competitors who actually gets paid to snowboard, he had some extra pressure on him — but he came through with the top two times of the day, a 1:10.72 and a 1:11.65 in his first and second runs. The rest of the podium was made of local legends and ams, proving that in Washington, it really doesn’t matter who gets paid after all.

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This is what going really fucking fast looks like. Blair Habenitch.

At the end of the day, money was raised, bets were settled and the whole thing was capped off by a performance from Riot Act in the Alpental lodge. In the fewest words possible: it was awesome! Thanks to Joe Pope, the whole Snoqualmie Park Crew, Shane Stalling, all the sponsors, and of course, Aaron Robinson, whose legend is what really makes things like this possible.

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Joe Pope is ready to give some awards!

RESULTS

Men

1. Blair Habenitch 1:10.72
2. Matt Edgers 1:11.73
3. Jay Kelly 1:12.70
4. Marcel Dolak 1:14.40
5. Matthew Robinson 1:14.71
6. Blue Montgomery 1:15.87
7. Austin Hironaka 1:16.02
8. Anthony Gervais 1:16.13
9. Shaun McKay 1:16.47
10. Chris Bowlin 1:16.80
11. Nick Felt 1:17.14
12. Paul Stanley 1:17:28
13. Jadree Donovan 1:17.34
14. Shane Stalling 1:17.91
15. Bryce Wenker 1:17.98

Honorable mentions
Sean Tedore 1:21.21
Peter Mullenbach 1:21.47
Peter Line 1:36.80

Women

1. Robyn Borneman 1:26.76
2. Khai Bhagwan 1:29.71
3. Kayla Kobelin 1:31.46
4. Kari Hoss 1:32.80
5. Isabella Gomez 1:33.20
6. Mallory Sullivan 1:36.75
7. Isabella Gomez 1:33.20
8 Jamie Klontz 1:40.27
9. Jenell Turner 1:45.79
10. Brooke Geery 1:47.92

Groms Age 5-13

1. Keala Cole 1:24.86
2. Matteo Soltane 1:25.17
3. Frank Besselo 1:32.84
4. Alex Lancaster 1:34.17
5. Paavo Saari 1:39.06
6. Maui Soltane 2:06.81

Age 14-17

1. Justus Hines 1:19.14
2. Austin Buxa 1:20.03
3. Shane Keller 1:20.79
4.Ben Still 1:22.03
5. Zachary Shoopman 1:22.25

Masters

1. Kimo Cole 1:23.61
2. Ken Verner 1:25.13
3. Adrian Navarro 1:29.34
4. John Haase 1:43.42
5. Aron Lundstrom 1:59.95
6. Ben Rupp 2:14.10

Yobeat Cup

1. Jared’s Helmet 1:10.72
2. Justin Leveille 1:32.66
3. Brooke Geery 1:47.92

The 2013 ARob Smash Life Banked Slalom

Words: Brooke Geery. Above Main Gallery: Jared Souney.

starter air

Usually when you say, hey, will you do an air out of the start gate in a race people ignore you. Eric was down though.

People in Montana are rugged. Dare I say gnarly, even. The ride steep shit, hard shit, rocky shit, and even traverse endlessly with ease, so they don’t think about the mountain the same way people from other places do. And when you let a crew from Montana build their dream Banked Slalom course, those that come from elsewhere better watch the fuck out. Now don’t read that as a complaint, or even an excuse, it’s just the only way I could begin to describe the course at the 2nd ARob Smash Life Banked slalom on January 5th in Bozeman, MT.

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Stan negotiates the first few turns on his way to the BRONZE medal.

So about that course. This thing started slow with some big old banks, but quickly turned into a super g where the only option was to pin in. There was a last-minute gate addition placed in an attempt to slow people down, but it caught almost everyone by surprise. This was not a race for the feint of heart so when making predictions on the results, you can count out all the people who came from Baker, Oregon, Colorado or even as far away as Michigan. Park rats need not apply. Honestly, you can even count out Lucas Debari, who rolled up in the Go Boarding Subaru with Alex Yoder.

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Jon Overson with that photo bomb and all the other guys who couldn’t beat Todd Kirby.

Really, the ones to watch when it came to results were the locals, or more specifically, Todd Kirby. He was referred to as the golden boy, the pace setter, and various other glowing names by his friends — who may or may not have been being sarcastic — and sure enough, when the seconds were counted, Todd topped Arob’s brother Jason Robinson by a solid hundredth of a second. To make everyone feel better though, even he fell on his second run.

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This dude was STOKED.

The truth is though, the results don’t matter. The event — brain child of all of the late, great Aaron Robinson’s friends and family, and man-powered by Shane Stalling — is a benefit for the A Rob Plant a Seed foundation, with all the proceeds going to help more kids get out and board in ARob’s honor. It’s put on by homeys, and aside from scaring the shit out of us flatlanders, they did an amazing job making the day nothing but fun. Even the awards

Which in the end, is all that really matters. After all, ARob would have wanted it that way.

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Oh yeah, and there were sheep.

RESULTS

Men 17-37

Todd Kirby 35.42
Jason Robinson 35.43
Chad Dalman 36.18
Reed Schneider 36.33
Lucas Debari 36.49
Micah Hoogeveen 36.52
Alex Yoder 36.62
Tyrel Bacon (Paid) 36.64
Eric Morrison 37.25
Chad Cremers 37.27
Brand Browning 37.29
Mitchell Kirby 37.47
Shane Stalling 37.66
Cody Lewis 37.68
Mark Thieszen 37.82
Kameron Joahnson 37.93
Nathaniel Murphy 37.96
Shane Knowles 38.2
Kyle Cremers 38.22
Erik Overson 38.25
Jon Oversor 38.54
Kevin Fischer 38.67
Mike Brearey 38.67
Rand Stearns 38.94
Joe Pope 38.94

winners
Jason Schutz and Todd Kirby. Smash life.

Masters 38+

1. Jason Schutz 35.83
2. Chad Zeigler 38.25
3. T bos 40.05
4. Jeff Wexall 40.05
5. Jay Moore (P) 40.5
6. Chad Peterson 43.45
7. Bird Morris 43.73

babes

Women

1. Sarris McComb 37.86
2. Tanya Simonson (P) 39.17
3. Galen Bridgewater 40.7
4. Audra Bintz 41.05
5. Amy Balbier 42.65
6. Carly Miron 44.64
7. Brooke Geery 46.01
8. Maggie Heerdt 46.45
9. Kate Lindsay 53.06
10. Victoria Baughman 60.87

The Yobeat Cup

The winner receives one weapon from the 50,000 Silver Dollar store.

1. RC Cone 42.54
2. Tim Breault 42.66
3. Justin Leveille 44.09
4. Brooke Geery 46.01

Thanks to Big Sky, all the event sponsors, the Robinson Family, Shane Stalling and everyone else who made this event possible. We’ll be back next year, when I will stay on my feet and be on top of the Yobeat cup!

The Smash Life Slalom and Manifest Premiere

Join us on January 6th to celebrate Aaron Robinson by Smashing Life at Big Sky’s first ever snowboard slalom. Registration is $15 8:30 AM-10AM in the Big Sky Mountain Mall Friday morning. Preregistration is $10 if you get your name on the list by emailing your info (Name, Age, M/F) to [email protected] (still need to sign in morning of). 100% of proceeds go to A-Robs Plant-A-Seed Foundation, helping Montana’s underprivileged youth get on the slopes snowboarding! All ages are welcome.

Racing begins at 10:30 AM. Going to be fast! Jam Format Race, so take as many runs as you can throughout the day!

Shortly after the lifts shut down A-Robs MANIFEST, a film by Sam Tuor and FunBlock Films Inspired by the late Aaron Robinson will be playing in the Summit Hotels Talus Room. Free Admission but Plant-A-Seed Donations will be highly recommended. Raffle Prizes as well. Check the Manifest Teaser here:

Following the video, After Party (21+) at Scissorbills with music from The Riot Act.