words:: Ben Osborne photos:: Matthew Bruhns
“It’s an honour to accept this award at the best ski resort in the world, at the center of the universe—Mount Baker.”
The White Salmon lodge erupted as Patrick McCarthy, snowboard industry icon declared while accepting the Craig Kelly spirit award. The weekend of the 34th Legendary Banked Slalom was just wrapping up, and the crowd was eager with anticipation to hear the winners announced—but not before they gave McCarthy his due credit.
A place steeped in snowboard history, there is perhaps no event that better captures the community that has grown from a once renegade sport turned global phenomenon than the Legendary Banked Slalom. In its 34th year it hasn’t lost its integrity, and it seems to only be picking up steam.
Each year the event attracts racers ranging from five to seventy years old, a slew of Olympic gold medalists, characters like the unmistakable Brett Tippie, and plenty of other industry legends. Beyond the big names, it’s the locals, the first-timers, and more who make the event what it is—a top-down community event that showcases the high-caliber of riding across the industry, no matter your age, number of sponsors, or where you’re from.
Taking home the top spots for Pro Men and Pro Women were two—time Olympic gold medallist Seth Westcott and big mountain crusher Audrey Hebert, each beating out a field with plenty of talent.
Among the Pro Men’s racers were two-time past winner Harry Kearney, snowboard legend Terje Haakonsen, and household names like Austin Smith and Austen Sweetin.
For the women, Hebert beat out a stacked field including Olympic Gold Medallist Elena Hight, and legends like Marie France Roy, Robin Van Gyn, Kaitlyn Farrington, and many more strong riders.
As usual, Mt. Baker rolled out the LBS’s version of a red carpet with homemade Paella served on finals day, cold drinks at the White Salmon lodge, and plenty more festivities to keep everyone stoked all weekend long. Young or old, skier or boarder, pro or amateur, If you haven’t gotten a chance to attend the LBS, we’d highly recommend getting there—nobody can regret a weekend at one of the most unique mountains in the world, Mount Baker. —ML
For full results, head over to the official LBS site.