Legends of the Turn: 31st Legendary Banked Slalom 2017

Legends of the Turn: 31st Legendary Banked Slalom 2017

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Photos and words by Beau Gaughran

Last weekend, some of the best snowboarders in the world migrated to the Mt. Baker Ski Area to compete in the Legendary Banked Slalom. And they weren’t alone. They joined an enormous family of snowboarding zealots—men, women, boys, and girls ranging in age from as young as eight to as sage as 62. If you were at Mt. Baker last weekend, you would have come upon this horde of knuckle draggers as you crested over the top of Chair 5—beautifully shaped boards, the smell of soup, and racers crowding around a shack perched perfectly at the top of a winding banked slalom course nestled into the natural half pipe.

When one thinks of a snowboard competition, they often think of big air and mind-boggling tricks. The only trick done in the Legendary Banked Slalom however, is the oldest and most important one—the turn. The event began on Friday just as the Mt. Baker Highway was cleared of toppled trees, debris, and several feet of snow and it ended on a delightfully sunny Sunday with warmer temperatures and soft, fast snow.

The event drew in more than 400 racers including legends and pros like Terje Haakonsen, Travis Rice, and Jake Blauvelt, who competed alongside local rippers like Harry Kearney. Nils Mindnich of Stowe, Vermont, won the Pro Men’s division riding both regular and switch (which is legendary in and of itself) while Stephanie Haines from Kelowna, B.C., took first place in the Pro Women’s category.

Find the full results here.

“Stay Low Be Powerful.”
The Next Gen boys group line up.
One of the Next Gen girls takes off on course.
As the saying goes…
One of the Next Gen boys on course.
Grom on course.

Dropping into the course.
Kyle Cremers from Bozeman, Montana, just out of the start gate.
Perfectly shaped banks in the natural half pipe.
One of the younger racers finishing strong.
One of the Next Gen girls staying low and strong.
Amalia Pelchat of Whistler, B.C., took second place for the Next Gen Girls.
At the top of the Legendary Banked Slalom.
Racers prep their boards together at the top of the course.
“Stay Low Be Powerful.”
Curtis Ciszek took third in the Pro Men division.
Josh Dirksen readies himself for a second place run in the Pro Men division.
Curtis Ciszek with Mt. Shuksan in the background.
The first turn and a crowd of spectators.
The Mt. Baker Ski Area provided sunny skies and warm temperatures for finals day.
Travis Rice, a legend and household name in snowboarding, readies himself before his start.
Travis Rice out of the gate.
Terje Haakonsen of Oslo, Norway.
Terje out of the start gate.

 

Terje again.
The seventh of many turns on the course
Athletes stay fueled with soup and hot drinks before their turn at the course.
The White Salmon lodge minutes before the awards ceremony.
Moments before the lodge filled to the brim with the Pacific Northwest snowboarding community.
The top three finishes in each category walked away with incredible prizes and, of course, a duct tape trophy.

 

One of many victories celebrated Sunday night.