The Bomber Banked Slalom at Mission Ridge, WA: Free Turns For All
The latest event to hit the scene wasn't created just to be some random banked slalom style race, but instead was the idea and engineering of long-time local northwest and LIB legend Joey McGuire. McGuire now owns and operates Revolution Snow and Skate shop in Wenatchee, one of the main sponsors of the event. When he's not hard at work managing a small business he's playing rad dad keeping the shred alive with his two sons.
Approximately 130 racers registered prior to Saturday morning, the event had already proven to attract some interest. Between the one guy manning the swarming registration booth, and the course builders frantically trying to setup, re-engineer, and dial-in the course line, everything still managed to come together without too late of a race start. It was more than apparent from first observations that this was going to be a banked slalom unlike the rest. The course was steep and the banks were tight. Loss of control due to leg burn in certain banks could have meant serious airtime into an unfavorable impromptu landing.
Once racing was underway, the contest really began to reveal its hessian nature it was effectively assuming. Everything about this event was gnarly. From one weather extreme to the next-to course hazards, ranging from perilous ice patches, sections ridden with loose or sharp lava rock poking through, and the constant bombardment of large snow devils. Obstacle management was the name of the game today. A strong feeling of antsiness was sensed amongst the crowd of racers as they watched on from the starting gate area as the course chewed up every so many racers. At one point I heard racer Jim Guindon of HOT LAVA crew state, "It felt more like mountain biking!" Indeed the similarities were there. Though the hazard problem was unintentional, I feel that the biggest element this banked slalom had going for it was the risk factor, which as gnarly as it was, is what made it exciting. In the end, everyone survived the course and smiling faces were widespread. And to top it off, event entry was free.
Down at the award ceremony the first round (and I'm talking the ammo kind) of awards made their way into the rightful owners hands, while better late than never the promised keg of Iron Horse finally made its way onto the deck to be enjoyed along with the great views down into the Wenatchee valley. Before everyone became too preoccupied with post-race festivities, Brad Miller, event coordinator, emcee, and longtime local OG, made sure we gave one last big thanks to Joey McGuire for the event and pushing everyone up the course.
The event was a success and I was impressed that it took on an identity of its own and managed to distinguish itself far from becoming "Just another banked slalom." Do I foresee a banked slalom circuit in the future? Who knows? What I do know is that I already look forward to next year's Bomber Banked! You think you have the gusto to do battle in these gut clenchers? We'll see you next season.
Special thanks to Mission Ridge Winter resort, Joey McGuire, Baker and the rest of Missions Park staff, B RAD, Mia Abbett, Sponsors: Revolution Snow and Skate, LIB TECH, DEFCON, COAL, DIECUT STICKERS.COM, and Iron Horse Brewery, as well as everyone else who contributed to the event.
1st Place Masters: Mike Cummins
1st Place Adults: Kris Melton
1st Place Youths: Jonah Schlicker
1st Place Womens: Jamie Novak
1st Place Groms: Milo Malkoski