A-Rob's Smash Life Banked Slalom 2017
- Terrain Parks
Once again, Alpental was the scene of one of the most amazing grassroots snowboarding events in the world. On January 7th and 8th snowboarders from across the country set their sights on the course at Alpental, determined to best their friend's times. The course this year was in a new location, and worked out amazingly well. Located on the run Dom, not only was getting to the course MUCH easier, but building, maintaining and riding this course was a dream compared to the struggles of last year. The new zone allowed the crew of faithful volunteers to cut a course that kept you guessing around every corner. Tight turns, long turns, high speed pointers, and the perfect amount of sketchiness was the recipe for this year's races.
Saturday morning registration opened and racers descended on Denny Lodge. Donuts, breakfast sammys and lots of coffee were the fuel of choice for many. Day one gave everyone the chance to take two timed runs in attempts to make finals on Sunday. The action lasted all day long, with spills thrills and some really fast times. Two runs were almost mandatory due to the gnarliness of the course, just making it to the bottom in one piece was a victory in itself. I don't know if anyone actually had a clean run, it was more of who bobbled the least and was able to hold on long enough to reach the finish line. Overall, the competition was tough. Times seemed to be pretty consistent, with fractions of seconds often being the deciding factor.
By the end of Saturday, the field was widdled down to a heavy list of racers. Beers were drank and meat was grilled in lot 3 late into the evening, fueled by the stoke after a full day of racing. Sunday morning, things were off to a slow start, but that was in no way a reflection of what was to come. With about half the field of competitors, and only one timed run on Sunday, the over all vibe was laid back, even though a lot was at stake. With only one run in finals, riders had to make their run count. The finish line was populated by many frustrated racers who didn't get the run they wanted, along with those who thought they had gotten a decent time.
After the last race was run, and some of the guys finished their bonus switch runs, it was time to head inside for awards. The lodge comes alive the weekend of Smash Life, and by the time the results got printed and prizes sorted, Denny Lodge was a packed house. Kyle Miller ended up winning it all with the fastest time of 1:11.52, almost a full second faster than Micah Hoogeveen in second, and Chad Cremers in third. Not only are these guys fast, but they are crucial to the success of the whole event. All three spend their week before the race volunteering on the build team, spending days on hill, shoveling away. Although these guys were extremely fast, Blair Habenicht clocked the fastest time of the weekend, however it was an unofficial time as he needed some redemption for flying off the course in finals.
All in all, the entire weekend was one for the books. This is hands down one of the best, most passion driven events I have ever been apart of, or even seen. To the winners, enjoy your bragging rights, you know there is already targets on your heads for next year. For now, the next leg will be held at Lost Trail, MT Jan 21-22.