Rob Kingwill has a roughly decade-long history of appearing in Warren Miller films and racing the Mt. Baker Ski Area’s Legendary Banked Slalom. Last year, he put the two together to showcase the camaraderie and soul of the Legendary Banked Slalom for the Warren Miller audience. The segment is in the new Warren Miller film, Face of Winter, which premieres on November 10 at the Mt. Baker Theatre in Bellingham. Discounted tickets are available at Backcountry Essentials and Yeager’s Sporting Goods.
Mount Baker Experience: What’s your history with the Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom?
I’ve been coming to the LBS since 2006 or so, after Seth Westcott managed to get me a spot to compete when one of our friends that had a spot got hurt. I haven’t missed a year since. It is one of my favorite places to come to in the world, and the gathering of the snowboard tribe makes me feel like I am home.
MBE: How long have you been shooting with Warren Miller Entertainment?
This will be my ninth appearance in the Warren Miller movies. I’ve gotten the chance to ride in some of the coolest places on the planet because of it!
MBE: What was it like combining the two? Was there something you were hoping would come across in the film segment?
The LBS is really special to me, and I was kind of nervous being given the chance to show how awesome the event is to the world. There is so much soul and history to capture, and we worked really hard to honor how truly legendary the race is. The most important thing I wanted to convey was how fun the race is, and how it is a great unifying force to bring snowboarders from all ages and skill levels together to compete and feel the stoke of our culture.
MBE: How much of a factor was weather for the banked slalom film segment? It happened to be a bluebird day — was it going to be in the film regardless of what happened with the weather?
The Warren Miller camera men are the best in the business, and they can capture the action in any conditions. This year was sunny, but actually pretty hardpacked and icy, which aren’t my favorite conditions to race in. My favorite is when the course is super soft and it is snowing so hard you can barely see. You take powder runs with your friends while waiting for your turn, and have to be super light in your feet and feel the flow to do well.
MBE: What was it like winning the Pro Masters title? Was that your best finish at the Banked Slalom?
I won the Pro Masters title in 2016 and 2017, and I have a third place in Pro Men’s from 2006, and a ton of top 10s. Winning was a dream come true for me, just because I’ve been chasing gold duct tape for so long. It also changed the way I look at the course – the year I won I let go of focusing on winning anything, and instead focused on truly being in the moment in each turn of the course. The LBS is truly incredible because by finals day, it has taken over 1,000 runs down the course to dig it in. A thousand people came together to make those turns that way, and something like that happens only once a year in one place, the LBS! The run that I won with I felt really connected to the course, and just grateful to be there. It helped me to ride faster, not overturn by trying too hard, and ultimately walk away with gold duct tape. It is how I try to approach racing every year now!