27/09/2013 | by Theo Acworth | 2 comments
If there’s one banked slalom that you will have heard about on this list, this is it. The Baker banked slalom celebrated its 28th year in 2013 – that’s almost 3 decades of bringing together some of the worlds best riders – freestyle, freeride and otherwise – to bomb it down a steep, winding course as fast as they possibly can.
The first ever Baker banked slalom went down in 1985 with Tom Sims christening it ‘The Sims Open’ and perhaps a little narcissistically, challenged riders to beat him down the course. Baker was chosen as one of only a handful of resorts that even allowed snowboarding at that time, although the mountain owner only allowed Sims to run the event on ‘Super Bowl Sunday’ – the quietest day on the hill of the year.
That fateful day truly set the scene for an event that would continue to this very day. Of course Sims posted the fastest time, followed by Terry Kidwell (who Craig Kelly dubbed “the father of Freestyle”), Ken Achenbach (inventor of the baseless binding and founder of Camp of Champions), a nineteen year old Craig Kelly and Bob Klein.
Over the years the event continued to grow in popularity and scale, consistently attracting the world’s best to tackle the course and most importantly, have a great day out with family and friends. Riders like Craig Kelly, Shaun Palmer and Xavier de le Rue have all won the event, with Terje Haakonsen taking it a whopping seven times over a 17-year period (he even qualified for the finals switch in 1996)!
As one of the longest running snowboard contests in the world (if you can even call it a contest as such), the Mt. Baker Banked Slalom is here to stay, and even though the word ‘legendary’ is bandied about a lot in snowboarding, it’s 100% deserved in this case.