Main Photo by: Christian Lentz @christianlentzphotography
An event so iconic in snowboarding’s history it’s hailed as the Holy Grail of slaloms by locals and internationals alike. The LBS isn’t about prize money, it’s about the gathering of the tribe. Simply and in its finest form, it’s the gathering of awesome individuals and the snowboard community at Mt Baker to conquer the fabled banked course and win the legendary Duct Tape trophy. The Mt Baker Legendary Banked Slalom is one of the oldest snowboarding competitions dating back to 1985. Today the qualifications have exploded with the event becoming a showcase of a who’s who in the industry and the 32nd slalom didn’t fall short of expectations.
POW has been a part of the Baker LBS for a number of years designing exclusive GORE-TEX® hand wear and head wear for the event. POW’s national sales team management duo, Ryan and Jami Davis, were there for the weekend of action with Ryan tackling the course.
Photos by Ryan & Jami Davis
Friday’s qualifiers followed a storm that dumped 140+” of snow in 8 days, which proved a big task for the LBS course builders, but they came through with the goods. The day started out grey and cold after a huge blast of rain, a pattern which often follows that kind of powder. Anyone who dropped into the course needed good gear and goggles to combat against the flat light and dumping wet snow, but morals were high.
After a day of testing weather, Friday night was spent waxing boards with pointers from the pros at One Ball Jay. The crew rolled over to the new POW test centre, which is in mid construction, and had some beers while watching the crew skate. We retired to the Moonshine Compound for a final inspection of our boards and a good night’s sleep, necessary to battle the course tomorrow.
We eagerly awoke Saturday morning to see the sun unveiling the snow-covered Cascades. The iconic Mt. Shuksan showed herself off and the course had turned to near ice. We decided to take a hike up Shuksan Arm with a crew of old buddies and a young Kai Huggin. It was amazing if you chose the right line and after a two-hour tour, I raced back for my run. With my adrenalin pumping I arrived with just 5 minutes to spare and Mike Trowbridge (Mountain Manager at Mt Baker) asked if he could follow cam my run. It was an honor to be asked and we tripped out the sideline observers because it looked like I had poached the course and was being chased by a skier...hilarious!
Photos by Ryan & Jami Davis
Saturday night came around quickly and we all enjoyed a big potluck dinner and as the evening grew longer Scott Sullivan, Jeff Pensiero and Wes Makepeace played a set for those who were lucky enough to catch it. We sipped drinks, told stories and faded out.
Sunday is finals day. All who qualified were waved and ready for a firm and rutted course. Racers were going 5 seconds faster than the previous days and disqualifications were normal. The day went by in a buzz of cheerful excitement and the winners were handed the iconic duct tape trophies at the awards ceremony that night.
Every year the LBS is a highlight, bucket list or dream come true to those in attendance.
Having POW Gloves support and be a key part of this legendary event makes me proud to be a part of POW. We keep the legends and everyone in-betweens hands toasty, dry and ready to ride the banks.
There simply is no better event to support and our involvement is beyond the concept of sponsorship it is just an honour to kit this community of icons and locals. This is one where the legends, the pros and kids ride the same course without judging and anyone can be a hero for a day.
The course is now closed, but the memories of this year burn bright and we look to the future event both as a rider and supporter through POW Gloves. Until next year and we will keep saving our prayers for that start box at Mt Baker.
Ryan & Jami Davis I moonshine distribution