I’ve covered a few events in my day. And by a few I mean, I’ve been schlepping my camera bag, voice recorder and a notebook and pen, to everything from USASA events to the Winter X Games for too many years. When you write about snowboarding, it’s almost unavoidable, as this weekend alone there was the final Dew Tour, the Canadian Open and the Legendary Banked Slalom to choose from.
For me, it was an easy pick. Not only was the Banked Slalom the only event that didn’t require air travel, but much like riding in the event, covering it is an actual pleasurable experience.Â There are no badge checks (or badges for that matter). The “media pit” is literally anywhere on the course you want to stand (as long as you’re not too close or touching the timing wire) and if you wanna do an interview, there’s no over anxious PR girl to go through. Basically anything goes.
Of course those PR girls can be nice when you need a start list (I had to bribe the customer service girl with a T-shirt to get a photo copy of one made) but walking up to Mt. Baker owner Gwyn Howatt to do an interview and having her agree, no questions asked, is a trade off I’ll take any day.
Rob Kingwill gets extra extreme (though there is no bonus for air time)
But enough about me, this is a story about the Legendary Banked Slalom, and the silver anniversary of the event is a wrap. For the women Canada’s best Olympic SBX hope Maelle Ricker topped the rest of the field by a full second, and that duct tape sure would look nice next to an Olympic medal! The women’s race was decided with the first run, but in the men’s race it wasn’t over ‘til it was over. Thanks to the Olympics, last year’s champ Nate Holland was missing, but his younger brother Pat was there to pick up where he left off, posting the fastest first run time with a 1:44.06. But at the awards, Pat’s name was called in third. The top two had posted 1:43s. In second it was Rob Fagan and in first to no one’s surprise was Temple Cummins.
Temple is sort of good at this thing
Winning is cool and all, it comes with a nifty duct tape trophy, local art and a guitar, but the LBS is only a little bit about who wins. It’s a truly pure snowboard contest, which, especially this Olympic year, is refreshing. Double corks are not required. Stamina, and the ability to use your edges however, are.
“The challenge of the Legendary Banked Slalom has always been to keep the elements that everyone likes, so it’s still the Banked Slalom, but change it up just enough so it doesn’t get stale,” Gwyn Howatt said. “This year it’s the most turns I’ve ever set in the Banked Slalom — it’s 38 or 39 turns, and usually it’s 28 or 29, so it’s a leg burner.”
If you tackle the “gravitron” turn you’re almost there.
The usual suspects were there–Dirksen, Temple Cummins, Lucas Debari, and as expected they went fast. There were also some new faces in the pro men’s mix — Forest Bailey, Tuckers Andrews and Shayne Pospisil. Well technically, Shayne did the event ten years ago or so, but the choice between doing the Dew or the Banked for him was easy.
“All my team managers, all my friends and people I don’t get to see all through the winter gather in one place,” Shayne said. “And it’s fun.”
Temple Cummins, Rob Fagan and Pat Holland and the spoils of victory
1. Temple Cummins 143.08
2. Rob Fagan 143.621
3. Pat Holland 144.06
4. Rob Kingwell (plus impromptu fakie race winner, $75 purse)
5. Josh Dirksen