The Legendary Banked Slalom at Kirkwood took place on April 14, 2013. This was my first time attending the event but for years I’ve heard that it’s awesome and that Kirkwood takes care of snowskaters, laying down sick trophies, cash, and other prizes. My expectations were high going in, and I wasn’t let down.
The course was legit. It carved up and down the sides of Snowsnake Gully off Chair 11. Each participant got 2 runs and the lowest combined time won. In other words-no throw away run, you had to stick them both. We were allowed time in the morning to practice, but the gully was a solid ice, death trap. Many people chose not to take a practice run at all.
The first run for the snowskaters started at about 11:00 AM, and the gully was still rock hard. Naturally, ladies went first. Then, the guys had a go at it. The times for the first run were displayed on a board at the bottom so you knew where you stood after that one. Billy Bradford had the best time after the first run with Pat Bonser 3 seconds behind, and Matt Hightower 7 seconds behind Pat.
Kirkwood local and snowskate legend, Pat Bonser, has had this event on lock for the past 4 years. Since there has been a Snowskate Division in the Kirkwood Banked Slalom, he has won it. And, the entire field was gunning him down. When Billy beat him in the first run, everyone erupted with chatter, “Pat’s reign is over.” “He’s walking with a limp! He’s injured.” “He’s on a new Predog Snowskate; he’s not comfortable on it!!” “He forgot his wax at home!” “Pat’s gotta step aside, FINALLY!”
The second and last run started at 3:00 PM, by this time the ice had turned to slush and the line was well worn in. Ladies again went first each of them improved their times over the first run. Snowskates can slay on the soft slush. The guys saw this and knew that this was the run to smoke. Each guy dropped until it got to the last two: Pat and Billy. Pat dropped first knowing that he had to make up 3 seconds on top of whatever Billy was able to put up for his second run. He had a solid drop in, and from the first gate, you could see that he wasn’t holding back. He was FLYING! Then, halfway through the course, disaster struck! He crashed! He recovered quickly though and didn’t miss his gate. He sped to the bottom but knew that he had lost it. Then Billy, knowing he had a 3 second cushion on top of the crash that Pat just had, dropped in. He laid down a solid run. And, without seeing the times, EVERYONE knew that Billy had it in the bag.
Everyone arrived at the awards ceremony ready to see Billy at the top of the podium. But first, the snowskate ladies: There has never before been a female snowskater entered in the Kirkwood Banked Slalom and this year, we put together a field of 4. Go girls! Results:
When the girls stepped down, the men were called: 3rd Place went to Pat “Goblin” Quinn who put up a crazy impressive 2nd run. Then, 2nd Place was called, BILLY BRADFORD!! Crickets. Then, murmurs, “What the hell? Who got first then?”
And, the Snowskate Division solidified its place in the contest being the 2nd largest division of 25! Proving that if you allow them, they will come!
And, that was it! Yummy Passholder lunch provided by Kirkwood, super fun race, cool people, drama, suspense, rad prizes, awesomeness, MUST GO TO THE KIRKWOOD BANKED SLALOM!!!