Slash and Burn
As everyone went home from the Slash and Burn I started wondering what and how did an event like this ever start to happen. So with a little bit of internet time spent I realized that this race is not the first and how it started as a lack of mountains available for snowboarders and zero competitions for them as well. Before I get into that this year’s Slash and Burn which took place on our mountain here in Steamboat Springs had a great showing of both participants and observers. For the 5th annual event there were 5 different categories (Men’s, Women, Masters div, Groms, and Switch) for boarders to participate in so no one is left out. While our own mountain has been doing this event for 5 years this is not the first banked slalom competition for boarders. Mt Baker in Washington started their own banked slalom course back in 1985 and is the most well-known and attended alt snowboarding competition. The first year the competition was held was only attended by 14 riders and was only held because Mt Baker was one of the only mountains to allow snowboarders on their slopes. Bob Barci and Tom Sims were the two n charge of the competition and has held true to the original spirit of the race. Now as well as back then the winner receives a roll of duct tape as a trophy. This combined without media coverage has made these events fun in the past but not career building and usually something only locals would participate in. Recent years there has been opportunity for sponsors and companies to travel and support these alternative competitions. Monster energy and other local companies were sponsors this year in steamboat and have started making moves to supporting the local riders. Coming from such humble starts and moving into what they have become today is only a testimony to those running these local events. The hours spent preparing the course to finding the sponsors and riders couldn’t have been easy and there has been huge support from the communities but to see it bloom for locals instead of the major companies like ESPN or X-Games has been a pleasant surprise and hopefully will be a step forward in moving into a more local supportive setting. For the participants and attendees of these events thank you for supporting and competing when payouts have not been ideal and when competing in the events has been nothing but fun on the slopes. The rising influence that snowboarding events have played into the market there seems to be a shift in how the industry has moved and been shaped by these standalone events.