SHANGRI-LA SUITES #215, SEATTLE, WA – (dateline Washington Standard Bluntch Time): This 2001 17th annual was, in fact, the best Legendary Banked Slalom in recent memory, and perhaps the best ever. The 1987 race, in which a 16-year old Shaun Palmer successfully defended his repeat title over challengers including Craig Kelly and Dan Donnelly; and the 1989 race, in which Craig Kelly and Amy Howat, capped a Mt. Baker homeschool 1-2 finish, are the only two others which matched this year’s drama.
As stragglers trickled out of the White Salmon Lodge, and out into cold, and now snowing parking lot, shouts of jubliation anda steady popping of Schmidt’s Brut filled the air. The Cummins family, and friends hugged and doused Temple and Barretwith barley-love and real love. Locals smiled and wrung their hands as the skies filled in like a freshly poured Black Russianand began to let loose a steady flurry of much-needed snow. As closing cermemonies wound down, Duncan Howatproclaimed, “I garuntee you there will be twenty-inches more snow by next weekend.”
The already greedy locs muttered “Only twenty?”
Beyond the Men’s and Women’s pros, there were many amazing performances on this all-time burliest Baker course, ever. From groms to Grandmasters, all turned in gutty runs down the ice-mines.
In the Next Generation class (11-and-under), the aptly-named Roger Carver took home the biggest bag of loot among the littleones, with local Maple Falls prodigy Cody Justus-Garringto grabbing the silver Duct-tape, and the pride of Golden, CO NickyLarson in third.
With times which drop closer to Men’s Pro each season, the Junior’s (12-15) are perhaps the Now Generation and their runswould back this: Kelowna, BC’s Taylor Galt in first with a time of 1:38:31. Eastern Oregon’s Nick Comford nailed second, andMilano’s/Burton rider Lucas DeBari held on for third.
The Younger Amateur Men (16-20) were headed up by a 1-2 Washington finish with Blair Habenicht in first, and RalphBackstrom in second. Sixteen-year-old Jason Robinson rounded out the highly competitive class with a third-place finish.
Older Amateur (20-30) kept it west coast American style with Portland, Or’s Kyle Phillip’s picking up the win with a time of1:33.96, and San Luis Obispo, CA’s Scott Nelson a second behind for the silver. Bellingham’s Marcus Adolph kept on it forthird.
In the Amateur Women’s, more NW domination with Sunnyside, WA’s Krisi Dill winning the class, and Langley, B.C. MarieGrindlay driving down over the border to take second, and Glacier girl Cece Briggs picking up the bronze Duct-tape.
In the Master’s Men’s class which begins to look more like a Hall-of-Fame game every year, former World Cup racer andSalem, OR resident, Shannon Melhuse, edged out Vacouver, B.C.’s GAry PEndergrasse by just under a second. FormerMen’s Pro champion Mervin staffer Paul Ferrel, remained a familiar podium sight with his thrid-place finish.
And finally in the Grandmasta-cuts-fasta division, another familiar podium face Mike Cotes mad his annual pilgrimage to Mt.Baker for his Golden Duct-tape Trophy, Fellow Washingtonian, Jim Taylor came in less than a second later for second, andAlaska madman and Boarderline Shop owner Scott Liska in third-place, the best among the Liska family entrants.
As the departed streamed down highway 542 and into the night, the snow only seemed to increase in volume directly inproportion to the exodus.
You shoulda been here, tomorrow…
Until next year, and with much Washington pride….
Peace and Turns,