Riders enjoy warm weather, cold beers at Slash & Burn
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The new coronavirus eviscerated the sporting world in a matter of days, spreading cancellations like wildfire at a local and national level. However, like a sole scorched tree in a fallen forest, the Slash & Burn Banked Slalom was still standing.
Those at Steamboat Resort seemed unbothered by the lack of toilet paper in the world, especially those at Bashor Bowl. Snowboarders skidded towards the tents with a beer in hand, careful to spray more snow than pale ale.
With music playing loudly, the riders cheered each other on while enjoying one of the warmest days on Mount Werner this spring.
Steamboat resident Vaurice Holden said it captures what snowboarding is all about.
“Having fun with your friends,” he said. “It’s a party.”
The course resembles ribbon candy, sending snowboarders on a steep, winding ride with banked curves and gates to pass through. The fastest time wins. It’s simple, but unique and fosters friendly competition.
Holden said the course was slushy from the sun beaming down on it all morning, turning the course into a soft, mashed potato-like texture.
“That first run, it was sick,” said local Ivan Miric as he waved to friends a few feet away.
Everyone at the bottom of Bashor seemed to know each other one way or another. Many had ties to Powder Tools, a snowboard shop at the base that co-hosts the event with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
“We know all the Powder Tool guys,” said local Keith Kyhl. “(Manager) Bernie (Tomassetti) does a great. That’s why we’re here.”
Brittany Dick and Kyhl were both planning on participating in the race, but when she tore her MCL and he broke a rib, it sidelined them both. That didn’t stop them from making the trip up the mountain to cheer on their friends, though.
“It’s just the best party of the year,” said Dick. “We got the best weather this year. We’re bringing together the entire crew. You got to start ’em young.”
Also spectating the event, was Dick’s 9-month-old daughter, Clover Kyhl, who donned a red hat and white sunglasses to keep her pale skin protected from the sun.
“She’ll get on her board in two weeks for the first time,” said Dick. “So, we’re trying to get her used to it.”
As the Slash & Burn kicks off spring on the mountain, it also marks the end of sports in Steamboat for an unknown amount of time. With professional sports postponed, high school sports suspended until April 6, the final Ski Free Sunday at Howelsen canceled and leagues around town halting their contests, the banked slalom race represented the final competition for many to participate in or witness.
“We thought men’s league hockey was the last event to go on. We had a game Tuesday night, now that’s canceled for the rest of the season,” said Kyhl. “This is the only sport we have in town.”
“It’s a reminder to keep living life and enjoy it while you can,” added Dick.
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