LEGENDARY BANKED SLALOM
Mt. Baker’s 27th annual race
Story and photo by Kitty Bond
Boarders are hoping that Mt. Baker Ski Area gets slammed with powder in time for the Legendary Banked Slalom (LBS) race on February 10, 11 and 12.
The LBS is the longest running snowboard event in the world. It has grown significantly since its inception in 1985 and attracts some of the top snowboarders in the field. Local boarders say it “defines the soul of snowboarding.”
“Snowboarding is the backbone of our mountain. Baker is unique because we form our own culture here,” Mt. Baker Ski Area employee Amy Wilkenson explains. “Many mountains are more ski friendly or even ski exclusive. The Banked Slalom drives the passion behind snowboarding, because it is tailored specifically to the sport.”
Amy Trowbridge, former world champion snowboarder and Mt. Baker Ski Area marketing co-
director, is excited about the 27th year of the LBS. “The Banked Slalom course has a natural half-pipe, which makes the race unique and challenging,” Trowbridge said. She won the LBS pro women’s division in 1987 and 1990 and has worked with sister Gwyn Howat since then to form the race into the world-class event it is today. “This year we’ve had about 900 applications for 100 spots,” said Howat, operations manager of the ski area.
Thirteen-year-old Hank Kennedy is excited to participate in a sport that is continually changing and growing. The Glacier local won the 2009 Next Generation division and is competing in the Juniors category this year with a goal time of 1:40:00. (Junior category LBS 2011 champion Gus Warbington won with a time of 1:55:14.) Although Kennedy is already sponsored by big name companies such as Salomon, Bonfire and Smith, his demeanor is amiable and laid back. His advice for snowboarders trying to become more competitive? “Just keep trying and don’t get discouraged. Enjoy the powder.”
Many big names will be traveling into town to compete – including Temple Cummins, Maëlle Ricker, Xavier de Le Rue and Seth Wescott – and come from as far away as Argentina, France, Norway and Japan. Many have won the LBS in previous years, and some have impressive international accomplishments, such as winning or competing in the Winter Olympics.
For 2012 race results and more information, visit lbs.mtbaker.us.
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