Most of us are wiping the humidity from our faces when February rolls around and the thought of snowboarding is another four months away. Unless you happened to win the Mt Hotham Banked Slalom last August like Aussie snowboard legend Mark Cowley, then you are off to Mt Baker, Washington to compete at another level.
Mt Baker with the course on the right. Photo by Greg Roebuck
The guys at Lib Tech in Australia reignited the Mt Hotham Banked Slalom event here in Australia, with first place winner getting a ticket to the holy grail of snowboard events, the Legendary Mt Baker Banked Slalom in Washington, USA. The Mt Baker Banked Slalom doesn’t get the legendary title for no reason, this event started in 1985 and has had the who’s who of snowboarding on it’s honour roll ever since, including Tom Sims, Shaun Palmer, Craig Kelly, and Terje Haakonsen. The event has always been just as much about competing, as it is about snowboarders coming together and having a good time.
Marguerite on course. Photo by Greg Roebuck
The “golden ticket” winner with entry to the Mt Baker event was Mt Hotham local and legend Mark Cowley. “Unreal”, was the only word Cowley had to offer when he returned last week from the event. However, this was not his first appearance in the competition, Mark had attempted the daunting banked turns on two previous occasions 12 years a go. Not much had it changed in all those years, “Not a single bit” Cowley says ” it is like they are doing the opposite to everyone else and trying not to impress”.
With snowboard heavy weights like DCP, Josh Dirkson, Bryan Fox and Temple Cummings all fighting it out for a roll of duct tape as a trophy you know that there is more to this event than TV ratings and sponsors. This event is making sure snowboarding doesn’t get lost to a world of double corks and X games, by allowing snowboarders to remember where it all came from. For the record Temple won his third roll of golden duct tape this year, which has put him just three wins behind record holder Terje Haakonsen who has six wins at the event.
A good hang. Photo by Greg Roebuck
Relying on his second run, due to a fall in his first, Cowley described his competition as “fierce”. With only a second between the top four times, Mark’s fourth place in the Pro Masters division is impressive to say the least, just scraping in above Transworld “legend award” winner Tom Burt.
Fellow Australian snowboard legend Marguerite Cossettini, competed in the Women’s Masters division, and took home a second place. Mark just made it into the top 30% of overall times and has secured himself a start for next season’s Mt Baker Banked Slalom event. Will he be going back? “Of course”.
Mark and Marguerite Photo by Greg Roebuck
Mark will be back to defend his title at Australia’s own Mt Hotham Banked Slalom, or “Banked Slalom of Death”, as several of the local snowboarders have been referring to it. The event is pencilled in for August 14th, with word on the street the prize has escalated. Organises are trying to create the same passion, enthusiasm and following that the Mt Baker event brings with it.
Photographer Greg Roebuck followed Mark and Marguerite to Mt Baker to capture the event. The full article will be in the up coming issue of Transfer Snowboard Magazine.