One of the favorite events the OISA puts on is the Banked Slalom. While the halfpipe and slopestyle are great events, they can be intimidating to new competitors. The BS is the event many coaches use to introduce riders to competition, it’s just the rider, the course and a clock (later in the day during Boardercross is a different story). The Banked Slalom is an event with a long history in snowboarding. It combines the flow and feel of skating a ditch with the speed and technical nature of alpine ski events. The Pacific Northwest is home to 3 unique Banked Slalom events.
The Dirksen Derby at Mt Bachelor, an early season favorite, is a benefit for Tyler Eklund, a young Bend man who’s promising career was cut short due to a freak accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down while preparing for USASA nationals. Hosted by Bend area pro, Josh Dirksen, the race attracts pros and local rippers to take on the tight, challenging course through the trees. Unique to the Derby are a splitboard and a sit-ski division.
The Drink Water Rat Race is held during the summer on Timberline in the High Cascade Snowboard Camp lap park. Since the Palmer snowfield at Timberline is already the epicenter of snowboarding activity in the summer, it makes sense that this intimidating course draws a large number of pros. In line with the core ideal of the Drink Water crew, this event is a fundraiser for Water.org.
The grand daddy of them all, the Legendary Banked Slalom, is held in February at Mt Baker in Washington. This weekend is the 30th Anniversary of the LBS. Transworld Snowboarding has an excellent article up on the history of the greatest competition in snowboarding. Go read it, it’s great.