Banked slalom proves to be a hit in year 2 |

Banked slalom proves to be a hit in year 2

— What started as a fun but relatively small trial run has blossomed into a full-fledged festival at the now-annual Slash and Burn Banked Slalom at Howelsen Hill.

Not only did the crowd-pleasing event get a boost in attendance and participants with numerous sponsorship tents along with some food venders, but the course itself upped the ante a bit.

Last year’s course at Howelsen was located closer to the adjacent ski jumps and featured just 11 turns. This year, riders got to enjoy some top-to-bottom banked slalom conditions with almost triple the number of turns.

In all, it took more than a full day’s worth of man hours to piece it together, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Snowboard Director Tori Koski said.

“Eric Lodwick was on the cat, and he put in well over 25 hours in the cat on it,” Koski said. “It was all hand work on the top section, too.”

The overall vibe of the Slash and Burn isn’t like the typical downhill race sanctioned by the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club on the hill. With public address announcers providing some comic relief, and few 21-and-older spectators without a beer in hand, things are a bit more relaxed.

Crowning the winner is different, too. All riders, from the junior divisions to the older age classes to the elite group, receive their first-run times, then they have a decision to make — settle for the first time or go up and descend again and try to better it. Second-run times aren’t announced until the award ceremonies, providing a bit of suspense when the results are finally announced.

In the open men’s and women’s divisions, more than $1,000 in prize money was divided among the podium finishers.

“It was so much bigger this year,” Koski said. “Last year, I threw the event together with Powder Tools and Alex Pashley in about 10 days, and we still had 165 competitors.”

With help from Pashley and his experience in the snowboard industry, big-time reps like Never Summer Industries and Zeal Optics set up shop, and 231 riders hit the course.

“It was honestly amazing,” Koski said. “An event like this is just a fun one that brings the entire snowboard community together, from 6-year-old Winter Sports Club athletes to your everyday rider to Olympians, like Jamie Anderson and Alex Deibold.”

Mick Dierdorff, one of the mainstays in building the course, turned around and threw down the day’s best time of 55.64 seconds. Sixteen-year-old Billy Winters took second, and Deibold, a bronze medalist at last year’s Winter Olympics, was third.

On the women’s side, Maria Ramberger was the top finisher and Erin Nemec took second. Winter Sports Club’s Savanna Atkins, 16, was third in the open class. Koski finished fourth

In the 30-plus age division, Todd Franzen, Travis Kistler and Jesse Teague took 1-2-3. On the women’s side in the same age group, Allison Berger was the first-place finisher, Summer Muir was second and Pia Halloran was third.

Other local highlights came from Winter Sports Club 14-year-old Cody Winters, who finished in the top five of the men’s open class despite repeated pleas to his coaches to jump down to his age group.

“He first registered in open class, and we told him to do that but he loves winning,” Koski said. “He kept switching his mind. He asked every single one of his coaches, and they all said it’s a challenge, and he did it, and he had way more fun.”

Winston Vaughan, another Winter Sports Club product, took the 10-to-12 age group victory.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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