Banked slalom race for some, reunion for many | SteamboatToday.com
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Banked slalom race for some, reunion for many

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club director Tori Koski races in last year's Slash and Burn Banked Slalom event at Howelsen Hill. The race returns this weekend for its fourth winter. In that time, it's become somewhat of a reunion for many former Winter Sports Club athletes.
Austin Colbert

Schedule

Saturday, open and age class divisions

8 a.m.-9 — Practice

9:30 a.m. —  First run

1:30 p.m. — Second run

3 p.m. — Switch race

5 p.m. — Awards

11 a.m.-6 p.m. —  Beer garden, Skull Creek Greek food available

Sunday, 17-and-under divisions

11:30 a.m. — First run

1:30 p.m. — Second run

3 p.m. — Awards

11 a.m.-3 p.m. — Beer garden, Skull Creek Greek food available

Costs

Registration

Open class, $30

Age class, $25

Lift ticket


Adult, $25

Youth, $15

— There was a time Davis Johnson logged enough days on his snowboard each winter that there wasn’t much point in counting. He rode all the days, or at least the vast majority of them.

Schedule

Saturday, open and age class divisions

8 a.m.-9 — Practice

9:30 a.m. —  First run

1:30 p.m. — Second run

3 p.m. — Switch race

5 p.m. — Awards

11 a.m.-6 p.m. —  Beer garden, Skull Creek Greek food available

Sunday, 17-and-under divisions

11:30 a.m. — First run

1:30 p.m. — Second run

3 p.m. — Awards

11 a.m.-3 p.m. — Beer garden, Skull Creek Greek food available

Costs

Registration

Open class, $30

Age class, $25

Lift ticket


Adult, $25

Youth, $15

The 2005 Steamboat Springs High School graduate didn’t ever quite have a realistic shot at the Olympics or X Games, but growing up in Steamboat, he, of course, harbored those dreams, and he pursued them doggedly at Steamboat Ski Area and Howelsen Hill, alongside the friends he grew up with in the sport.

Now five years retired from competition, he still manages a respectable 40 days per year, he said, but does so via an Interstate 70 weekend commute from Denver, leaving behind a job in a cubical.

So, weekends like this one are special, he said Thursday afternoon, pulling into Steamboat Springs and heading immediately to a snowboard shop to get his board tuned and ready.

He’s back for the the fourth annual Slash and Burn Banked Slalom, set for Saturday and Sunday at Howelsen Hill in downtown Steamboat.

In its short life, the event has grown quickly into a highlight for young riders, a different kind of race to look forward to late in their competitive seasons.

For older, retired Steamboat Springs riders, however, it’s become a reunion.

“Just seeing old friends, being back on the stomping ground, it’s awesome,” Johnson said. “We all competed against each other growing up, and we still like to compete, now in our late 20s or early 30s. We still have that rivalry, and it’s a lot of fun.”

The event takes advantage of the end-of-the-season status at Howelsen Hill. Snowcats and volunteers built a course that zigs and zags its way down the face of the hill. It’s a race — fastest one down wins.

They key, according to Johnson, a two-time podium finisher in the event, is to attack it relentlessly, go all out and enjoy the moment.

“This is the only contest I do all year,” Johnson said. “If you had a slopestyle contest or a halfpipe contest, it wouldn’t be the same. We’re all older and not doing that anymore. That’s the beauty of this event. Everyone can do it. It doesn’t matter what your ability is or how much you ride anymore. It’s just friends seeing who can be the fastest.”

Tori Koski, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club snowboard director, was one of those friends Johnson used to ride with in Steamboat. She said plenty from that crew will be back, but plenty of others, as well.

She’s expecting at least 250 athletes to tackle the course through the course of two days. Saturday will be mostly adult races and will include some extremely talented riders. In addition to the middle-aged set, some of Steamboat’s top active riders will be on hand, including Matt Ladley and Taylor Gold, fresh off podium performances at this year’s X Games Aspen halfpipe contest.

Sunday, younger athletes will hit the snow.

“This event brings the whole snowboard community together,” Koski said. “You get parents racing one day, then kids the next. It’s a fun, hometown event, and a lot of former Winter Sports Club snowboarders always love to come home for it.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9


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