The Legendary Baker Banked Slalom 2014.
I’ve been riding those insane, rugged, raw mountains surrounding Mt. Baker since the mid 90s, and the Legendary Baker Banked Slalom is one of the many reasons I keep coming back (I have probably raced 12 in total). You are completely off the grid once you start heading up the Mt. Baker highway; it’s almost like going back in time to the 90s. Speaking of which, we did exactly that this year: Jamie Lynn, Russell Winfield, Rip Zinger and a few other buddies and I rented a 34 foot RV and hit the only road into Mt. Baker for the weekend. When we pulled up to registration, Jamie was rockin’ a facemask, and both Russ and him jumped out the back with their Polar sleeping-bag on. Jamie got sent back from registration to get his license because they didn't believe it was him. Kind of funny.
This year the course was icy and challenging compared to some years when you’re fortunate to be riding powder banks. Day one started out with a side-slip and course inspection – stoked to find out they used a chainsaw to build some the banks through the natural half pipe this year. From there we have a few hours to enjoy Mt.Baker before we get some quality food, like paella, soup and other goodies that they provide at the top near the start gate. Some people take racing really seriously by excessively waxing their boards and sharpening their edges, and not wanting to burn their legs out, but we have to go and shred Baker, because it’s such a good free ride mountain. I was stoked to take a few runs with the young gun Ben Furguson and made this little clip.
We had bluebird for the first two qualification days. On day one, I passed the guy ahead of me near the bottom of the course and finished in the top three. The second day I had the fastest time, but qualifications don’t mean anything when you’re heading into the finals. When I couldn’t stay on my feet for the finals, I had to be happy with a consolation prize for winning the Fakie race. "Lucky for me” it was a Burton powder board with the LBS logo on it. Congrats to Harry Kearney who had fast times all weekend and smoked everybody in the finals.
Photos provided by Rip Zinger and Natalie Langmann.