Washington’s Mt. Baker Ski Area throws one of the funkiest race events every February. The Legendary Banked Slalom is a one-of-a-kind snowboard race with rigorous competition just to gain entry.
The Legendary Banked Slalom, which takes place Feb. 10-12, has been running since 1985 when it started as a grassroots snowboard event in the budding industry. Competition to enter the event has grown to cutthroat proportions.
Competitors can enter via one of several hoops. The top 30 percent of competitors in the prior year's race have spots reserved. Then 95 spots are plucked from a random lottery draw with 25 lottery spots reserved for repeat applicants who haven’t gotten in before. Other spots go to the winners of the Next Generation contest for kids and winners of a local's qualifier in January.
Maelle Ricker, winner of the gold medal in women's snowboard cross at the 2010 Olympics, will defend her Legendary Banked Slalom title once again this month. She has won the event for the past five years.
True to snowboarding's roots, the event gives winners the winners of the Legendary Banked Slalom a hefty dose of bragging rights. They don't take home big money. Just a gold roll of duct tape.
Want to see what it’s like to go down Mt. Baker’s Legendary Banked Slalom course? Check out this POV video of snowboarder J.J. Johnson from Bellingham, Wash. riding down the course. Skip forward to 34 seconds to pick up the start gate:
For more information on Mt. Baker’s Legendary Banked Slalom, check here.