My experience with the Neil Edgeworth banked slalom goes back a few years now. The first time I went I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was told by my husband that he was off to compete in this race and I was not only coming with but competing as well. Hold on just a minute I think was my response, why am I competing? So he explained and I went, hesitantly.
This weekend is about a collection of snowboarders getting together to celebrate the spirit of snowboarding. Second only to the legendary Baker Banked Slalom, the Neil Edgeworth is in its 15th year with a record breaking 259 competitors’ out this weekend. Being the oldest snowboard competition discipline, this unique competition includes all snowboarders; the adaptive guys, the grommets, the pros, the masters and everyone in between. Plus this year they had a division for the snow skaters, I thought the adaptive guys were a bunch of nutballs but it takes balls to ride the banked slalom course on a board let alone a snow skate!! There are always a great assortment of levels, ages and abilities out.
The oldest competitor was 69 yrs old and there is a couple in their early 60’s that have been doing it since 2004! It was great to meet a couple in the over 50’s that started snowboarding in December and figured it would be a great way to round out their season.
As has been the tradition for the past few years there was a solid representation of Rossland riders and all rode well and placed high in the rankings of the 250 plus competitors. This year we had three riders podium, two firsts and a second. Ian Lockey won in the Adaptive Class, Natasha Lockey won in the 25 - 34 female division and Eileen Purssell came in second in the 45 and over female division.
Additionally, the Rossland team placed well overall. Alina Stevens came in fourth in the 14 and under females and in the 14 and under males we had Davis Thompson 11th and Jules St-Pierre was 15th out of a total 10 and 18 competitors respectively. In the 15 to 18 yr old men Liam Stevens came in 5th and Tra Schlam was 14th of a total 20 competitors. In the females 25 – 34 Shannon McNeil and Katie Rice showed Rossland girls go fast with 10th and 16th out of a total 21 ladies. The Big Red Cats Guiding and Driver team also showed well with Jon MacDonald 17th in the 25-34 yr males and Natasha Stormes 7th in the 19 – 24 yr females.
Finally, our Kootenay Rider coaches rode well in the Pro category and showed the team how it is done! Overall a great showing from the team and hopefully next year we will have more athletes out representing our hill and having fun! For more results check out http://bcsnowboard.com/15th-annual-neil-edgeworth-banked-slalom-results/ and photos at http://www.facebook.com/BCSnowboardAssociation and http://www.bettygohard.ca/gallery/63-natasha-lockey/album.html?albumid=61
The highlight of the weekend for me was meeting the 2010 Winter Olympic Gold Medalist Maelle Ricker, and getting to do a couple of laps on the hill with her. She is really nice and it was great to ride with an Olympic champion!! Additionally, Rob Fagen and members from the provincial and National Teams were also competing. Although I was not up to riding in Pro with Maelle this year, as a winner in my category I am destined to ride pro next year and if the timing is right Maelle said she’ll be back. This year my winning time of 1:28:93 was a good 10sec behind Maelle winning with 1:18:45 so looks like I need to get a fast board, fast wax and figure out how to keep it together at Olympic speed.
To get an idea of what the course is all about check out Ian and Natasha’s run http://www.bettygohard.ca/blog/entry/ride-the-banked-slalom-course-with-ian-lockey.html.
Natasha Lockey is the owner of BettyGoHard.com a Women’s Action Sports Community dedicated to getting the girls out and being active. The online network is a place for females to connect, inspire and motivate each other to get into action. There are videos, photos and stories plus information on events and interviews with other Betty’s. Additionally, BettyGoHard runs events locally for mountain biking, hiking, snowboarding, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Not just for the girls - Check it out at www.bettygohard.com.