At the first Mt. Baker Banked Slalom in 1985 there were a grand total of 19 finishers. The entry ranks have swelled a wee bit since then, to the point where we had to switch from a first-come, first-serve entry method to a more complicated system in the 2000's. We've refined it over the years, trying to accommodate people from all aspects of snowboarding; amateurs, pro's, sponsors, young, old, riders from around the world and the locals from our home mountain. The Locals Qualifier is our way to maintain solid representation by our locals at the Banked Slalom, and is in appreciation for the lean years in the early '90s when the locals kept the race afloat with their stoke and participation.
THE DATE CHANGE
After many years of holding the Qualifier on MLK weekend, we have changed the date of the Qualifier to late March. Several factors went in to this decision;
- More time to anticipate and plan! For those who earn a qualifying spot in the LBS, this will give them LOTS more time to plan and train for the LBS.
- Course crew - it's been difficult to get enough course crew volunteers to build the course and infrastructure on the midweek days prior to the race. In January and February our mountain staff is maxed out with mountain operations and cannot assist with the event, but with a move to March, we will be able to utilize more of our mountain staff midweek and thus be able continue to hold the Qualifier.
- Busy Holiday weekend - MLK weekend has become an extremely busy weekend (when the weather is decent) and moving to March will facilitate the race on a non-holiday weekend with easier parking, less chance of lift lines and more space in the HM lodge for registration and awards. We considered other weekends in January but moving to an earlier weekend could mean less snow in Death Star, and moving to a later weekend puts it too close to the LBS. And we would still have run in to the issue with mountain crew being unable to help with the build in January and February.
We are looking forward to seeing you Locals and Next Gen'ers in the start shack in March!