Snowboarders take to Snowmass for fourth annual banked slalom race
2017 Aspen-Snowmass banked slalom results
Men’s open/pro division
1. Morris Hogan, 2:04.31
2. Jason Smith, 2:06.46
3. Travis McClain, 2:06.51
4. Cleve Johnson, 2:06.77
5. Chase DeMe, 2:06.94
6. Davis Johnson, 2:09.48
7. Wylie Adams, 2:12.23
8. Cale Myers, 2:12.75
9. Ryan Jervis, 2:13.96
10. Connor Marx, 2:16.94
Women’s open/pro division
1. Laura Hadar, 2:18.51
2. Amanda Poindexter, 2:50.90
3. Elizabeth Demarest, 2:58.17
4. Carolyn Kunkel, 3:05.36
While snowboarders often have their own discipline of choice — whether that is park, big mountain or just slaying powder — there is something about a banked slalom race that melts those divisions away.
“It’s more about having fun and making turns than anything else,” Aspen’s Morris Hogan said. “It brings a lot of different aspects of snowboarding together, like whether you do freestyle or big mountain or whatever. It all funnels down to the foundations of whatever snowboarding is, whatever it means to you.”
Hogan, 25, spent some time competing at a professional level back in the day, but mostly sticks with shredding local hills with friends anymore. This included Saturday during the fourth annual Aspen-Snowmass Banked Slalom, which he won by an impressive 2.15 seconds over Basalt’s Jason Smith.
Hogan completed the course — built in Garrett Gulch on Snowmass Mountain — in 2 minutes, 4.31 seconds. Racers had two runs to record their single best time.
Smith, a 2006 Olympian, finished in 2:06.46, while Travis McLain was third in 2:06.51.
“Every dog has their day. I don’t think it means anything,” Hogan said, trying to shrug off his victory. “There are so many amazing snowboarders in this valley and it’s really cool to see them all brought together around one event.”
In only its fourth year, the Aspen-Snowmass Banked Slalom has bounced around from spot to spot, with last year’s race being held at Buttermilk. This year’s course, which started just below the top of the Sheer Bliss chairlift, was created in a day, more or less. Numerous racers referred to the course as “aggressive,” but overall enjoyed the natural turns that come with competing in a true gulch.
“This year the place on Snowmass was way better, but with only having one day and a handful of volunteers to make a course, it just takes a little time,” said Aspen’s Laura Hadar. “I think next year will be better, because now they have the location down. It’s just more about finding the right line.”
Hadar, a retired pro snowboarder, was the top female finisher, completing the course in 2:18.51. She also won the 2016 competition.
Taking second in the women’s race Saturday was Amanda Poindexter in 2:50.90, and third Elizabeth Demarest in 2:58.17.
While Hadar did say the course needed some tweaks, she thought the new location in Snowmass was spot on. She compared it to the Legendary Banked Slalom at Mount Baker in Washington, which in its 31st year is considered to be where all other modern banked slaloms are derived from. The Mt. Baker slalom uses a natural gulch much like Saturday’s race in Snowmass.
“It got a little tight and it was sketchy. But you all have to compete in the same conditions,” Hadar said. “I think banked slaloms are kind of at the heart of snowboarding right now. It’s not a trick contest. It’s a good, old fashioned who can be faster than who down the exact same course.”
U.S. Ski & Snowboard on Tuesday announced the final U.S. World Cup schedule, a lineup that includes the Aspen World Cup from March 3 to 5 on Aspen Mountain. Those races will include a men’s super-G and two men’s downhills.