It seems like there’s been a lot of negativity around snowboarding lately: the constant navel-gazing about the state of the industry and it’s current stagnant growth, the judging and course conditions at the Olympics, the social media bashing of Shaun White (which I will admit to being a part of) and even the lack of winter in British Columbia’s Coastal Range had left a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth. What better way to hit the reset button then to head to one of the true soul spots and original contests in all of snowboarding; the Mt Baker Legendary Banked Slalom (LBS). Racing in the LBS had been fairly high up on my bucket list, so when I scored a coveted lottery spot back in November the anticipation for the weekend had been building to a boiling point. It had been a long time since I’d been to Mt Baker and on my first chair ride up I instantly remembered what a classic snowboard-friendly mountain it is; rolling terrain with side hits in every direction you look. While the course conditions were far from ideal (many longtime racers calling it the gnarliest course ever), but the vibe was incredible. From the Next Generation to the Pro Men’s and Pro Women’s, everyone was there for the same reason: for the pure stoke of sliding down the side of a mountain standing sideways on a piece of wood. It’s taken me several days to try to convey the awesomeness of the weekend and I still don’t think I have the words to describe everything, but I know I want to make the trek to the LBS an annual tradition from here on out. Enjoy the photos (click if you want to see larger versions).
Many thanks to Gwyn, Amy and the rest of the LBS crew for their incredible work to put this event on.