The Mt Baker Legendary Banked Slalom (LBS) is the snowboard equivalent of the Super Bowl, but with all the corporate sponsorship, live TV broadcasts, and over-the-top hype that surrounds modern day snowboard events. As one of the longest running contests in snowboarding, the LBS is a gathering of some of the best riders in the world in an incredibly laid back scene celebrating the most simple of snowboard skills: the art of the turn.
In the week leading up to the LBS, Mother Nature served up a whopper of a Pacific Northwest weather bomb that closed the highway up to Mt Baker. Operations Manager, Gwyn Howat, and her team were stranded on the mountain preparing the course and hand shovelling chairs in case they were able to open. The highway opened on Thursday under rainy skies with snow in the forecast for the weekend.
The first rounds of qualifying on Friday took place under less than ideal conditions, but heavy snowfall throughout the day softened up the course to classic LBS conditions. With 20 cms falling overnight on Friday, racers warmed up their legs on Saturday morning with a few pow laps. Increased visibility meant qualifying times got faster and faster over the course of the day. The skies fully cleared for classic "Baker Blue" conditions for Sunday's final rounds. Sandbox rider Finn Finestone blazed down the course in 1:19.82 to take the win in the Junior Boys division. Nils Mindnich won the Pro Men's division and Stephanie Haines won the Pro Women's division.
Leanne Pelosi dropping into her first qualifying run on Friday
Tyler Ravelle taking the high line through Turn #1
Truth Smith looks on as Chad Chomlack buffs in a layer of high speed wax.
Truth Smith putting his fresh wax job to the test.
Two thumbs up from Gus Warbington just before he steps into the start hut.
Caleb Chomlack arcing through Turn #1 on his way to qualifying for Sunday's final.
Finn Finestone staying low and powerful on his way to victory in the Junior Boys division.
Finn Finestone (pictured far right) collects one of the most coveted trophies in all of snowboarding; the Gold Duct tape