The history of ski racing in Sun Valley is as rich and as impressive as anyplace in the country. And the future is looking pretty bright, too. It is as if the slopes of Baldy and Dollar were blessed by the ski gods, Ullr and Skadi, to groom the fastest and strongest skiers and snowboarders to ever ride on snow. Sun Valley has been home to the best in the alpine sports scene since shortly after inventing the world’s first chairlift back in the 1930s. It’s a tradition that’s staying strong and is proudly on display as Sun Valley hosts events like last weekend...
Skiing & Riding
On Saturday, the action on Bald Mountain was on Lower Cozy during the fourth annual Baldy Banked Slalom. Dozens of racers of all ages gathered on the Warm Springs side of the mountain to test their skills on this terrain enhanced snowboard slalom course. Welcomed by warm temperatures and great energy, the competitors came from both near and far to enjoy an amazing day of riding.
Dozens of competitors of all ages, from near and far, gathered at the start of the Baldy Banked Slalom on Saturday to get after it
The race determined who would get four coveted spots to the legendary Mt. Baker Banked Slalom in Bellingham, Washington. Considered to be one of the oldest and most prestigious snowboard contests in country, everyone wants a chance to ride there. On Baldy, racers got two opportunities to log their best time at the event that ran all day. Nine categories of snowboarders were represented, from children to the largest group of over-40s to ever participate.
"We're all very excited to see this even grow in popularity," said event founder Cory Smith. "Each year the course has steadily improved with the help of our local snowboard community. Live music, better parties and more prizes are all part of our commitment to grow the Sun Valley snowboard scene."
Though the big prizes at the Baldy Banked Slalom were four coveted berths at the upcoming Mt. Baker Banked Slalom, many young riders from the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation program showed that they were also athletes to watch
Bibs were awarded to the winners of the Men’s Open Class, Women’s Open Class, the Gentlemen’s Division and the Grand Masters. The winners are: Matt Hughes, Ellise Turner, Yancy Caldwell and Aaron Boone. This talented group will have the chance to compete at the 30th annual Legendary Mt. Baker Banked Slalom February 19 - 22.
Event organizer John Kaiser said he thought the casual vibe at the start area was the best thing about this year’s race. "Having 90-plus snowboarders hang out, cheering each other on is a great way to get more riders in our valley, both as residents and as visitors. We are always stoked to get more people snowboarding and events like this foster the local snowboard community."
For Julian Tyo of Sun Valley's Mountain Events, the event was a huge success. "Hosting the Banked Slalom on Bald Mountain is always a pleasure, bringing together many departments to create something unique," he said. "Using a timed, race format organic to snowboard culture is the perfect complement to Sun Valley's storied alpine race heritage."
It's great to win, but the Baldy Banked Slalom is also about bringing the entire snowboard community together
Many up-and-coming local riders also competed. Andy Gilbert, snowboard coach for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation called this a "great event." He continued, "This race brings all ages and experience levels together on the mountain. It's a fantastic way to unite the snowboard community."
An after-party and awards ceremony at Apple's Bar and Grill located at the base of Warm Springs kept the fun going well into the night. Wins were celebrated and the party kicked into high gear when favorite local band, El Stash, took the stage, playing in full costume. It was another day to celebrate the mountain lifestyle at the world's original destination winter sports resort.
Popular local band El Stash rocked the awards ceremony and dressed for the occasion in squirrel suits and, yes, even as Chewbacca
Whether competitors left with a coveted spot to the Mt. Baker Banked Slalom, with a cool Idaho-shaped trophy in hand, or just with the satisfaction of a race well run, by all accounts, everyone hopes there will be a fifth installment of the Baldy Banked Slalom next year.
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