The Banked Slalom was born in an age of innocence. In 1985, the first year of the event, snowboarding was newly formed and still undefined by time, experience, rules and governing bodies. Like the birth of a human, the soul of snowboarding began on a blank canvas when everything and everyone associated with the sport was in a constant state of experimentation and invention.
The gathering at that first race in 1985 was small. Sixteen snowboarders rode the course with duct-taped gear, more than a few of them wearing high-top tennis shoes and sporting gates set high on the walls of the sloping gully called “The Chute”, and the only spectators were the curious skiers riding the chair lift overhead. Necessity drew the first organizers to Mt. Baker. Bob Barci, a local bike show owner, and Tom Sims, owner and founder of Sims Snowboards, came to Mt. Baker with their idea of a banked slalom because it was one of the few ski areas in North America that welcomed snowboarders at that time and one of the few with a natural halfpipe. Even so, Mt. Baker General Manager Duncan Howat decided to hold the event on Super Bowl Sunday when most skiers were glued to their television sets instead of on the mountain.
The event and people involved in that first race have slipped into the mythology of early snowboarding, but as with any unique, spontaneous creation, the place of birth is subconsciously held with reverence by the participants and observers. No matter how far we travel or change, our roots and beginnings always seem to hold a fascination and serve as measuring points and groundings for our musings and experimentation throughout life. It is the beginning of soul.
History section from 1999 LBS Catalog
2022 LBS Art By Sarah King
Sarah King is an artist who weaves her art through snowboarding, surfing, and west coast adventuring. She grew up in London, England and studied graphic design in Brighton on the south coast. In 2011 Sarah moved to British Columbia in search of snow and the giant pacific octopus. It was also the year she started working on artwork for GNU. Working alongside Barrett Christy she has illustrated almost 20 pro model boards for Jamie Anderson.
The Craig Kelly Award
The Craig Kelly Award and it's iconic Thunderbird Trophy is a lifetime award given each year at the LBS, recognizing an individual from the Northwest with deep ties to Mt. Baker whose contribution has advanced snowboarding culture, locally and beyond. Named for the late four-time world champion and Mt. Baker local, Craig Kelly, the award represents the highest level of respect the Mt. Baker community can bestow. Past winners include Dan Donnelly, Marcella Dobis, the Cummins Family, Carter Turk, Jamie Lynn and others.