Inaugural Rattlecat Cup shakes core Red Mountain one-plankers
The “Rattlecat Shred Posse” dug into Red Mountain last weekend for the hill’s first-ever banked slalom snowboard event, sending 110 riders in timed runs down 35 steep corners carved into the gully on rider’s left of the Face of Red.
“It was a great time,” said co-organizer Scott Reynolds who we caught up to at the Snowboard Nationals in Calgary where five of his young rippers in the Red Mountain Academy (RMA) and Kootenay Riders will compete in slopestyle events this coming weekend. Reynolds has coached snowboarding for a decade and coached the last three winters with RMA.
“We built a pretty burly course, and everyone stepped up and took it down,” Reynolds said. “It was one of the steepest, tightest banked slaloms ever built, so kudos to everyone who made it.”
Even though it is not as well known as other snowboard events like bordercross, banked slalom has been around for almost three decades. One of the earliest races was held at Mount Baker 28 years ago, and has continued every year since, making it one of snowboarding’s longest-running events. The first “Legendary Banked Slalom” was held at Mount Baker in 1985 because it was one of very few North American resorts that welcomed snowboarders at the time.
It was racing at Baker’s event and also at the Neil Edgeworth Memorial Banked Slalom at Big White that inspired Reynolds and his co-conspirators Candyce Reynolds, Connor Martin, and Jesuina McDonald to organize the Inaugural Rattlecat Cup at Red.
“Banked slalom goes right to the root of competitive snowboarding,” Reynolds said. “Anyone can do it, you don’t need any freestyle tricks. If you can ride a snowboard, you can ride banked slalom.”
“Banked slalom is tailor made for Red because of all the gnarly, steep riding here,” he added. “If you can survive riding at Red, you can survive banked slalom.”
Another advantage to banked slalom is that it’s light on race needs, beyond a handful of dedicated volunteers.
“We pretty much made the whole course by hand,” Reynolds said. Except for six final turns in the course that were shaped by a snowcat, the other 29 were sculpted by about 10 shovel-wielding volunteers.
The course started at the Tower 8 cat road on the Face of Red, took three turns in the trees at the top of the triangular forest before veering out and taking 26 turns that “snake in the ditch” to rider’s right of the trees.
The course receives minimal maintenance, so it takes a pounding and ruts up. Reynolds said they did “a little bit of rake work” but mostly “the berms just get deeper and gnarlier as people rode them. That’s just how the course gets formed.”
The course that took “your average ripper” about 1:45 or so, Reynolds said. “You’re pretty exhausted and your legs are done by the time you reach the bottom.”
Advertising for this first-time event was also grassroots. After the Rattlecat Posse posted the race as a Facebook event in December, it rapidly built a following and spread by word-of-mouth. In the end, 110 racers participated, both men and women in four age categories—14 and under, 15 to 18, 19 to 39, and 40-plus.
“That’s pretty big for Rossland,” Reynolds commented, “considering everyone’s a skier!”
The Rattlecat crew also rounded up “tons of sponsors,” with prizes ranging from the Rattlecat Cup and a day of cat-skiing at Big Red for the winners, to “engraved forks” for the top three finishers, to raffle prizes that included four snowboards and “tons of gear from other snowboard companies.”
The Rattlecat Cup will be engraved with the winners’ names and displayed at Red.
“Really, more than a competition, it was just a gathering to celebrate snowboarding,” Reynolds said. “Everyone had a good time and, now the word’s out there, for sure next year it’s going to be bigger and better.”
Visit this site for complete event results.
Liam Stevens, Davis Thompson, and Jules St-Pierre had times from 1:33 to 1:43 in the boys 15-18 class. Scott Griifioen took the boys U15 with a time of 1:33, and Taje Legare, Destin Beneteau, Jonathon Michalchu, Leif Steen, Mateo Kataoka, and Neko Reimer also took fast times.
Racing the wind, Alina Stevens took the girls U15 with a time of 1:49 and Isabella Beharrell’s 1:50 took the 15-18 girls.
Stephanie Haines overtook the other 26 women in the 19-39 class with a time of 1:34, followed closely by Hannah Bilodeau, Jessica Petett, Alex Brady, Natasha Lockey, Caitlin Marynowski, Nicola Marynowski, Jessica Poulin, Fleur Simons, Kexia Bahlmann and Anna McCullagh, all with times under two minutes.
Megs Wadsworth 1:46 took the battle for the women’s 40-plus against Mel Black.
Scott Reynolds (1:27.7), Mathew Galina (1:29.7) and Mitch Pitman, Brian Semenoff, Craig Tomlinson, and Dan Grey (1:30) led off the pack of 58 men who competed in the 19-39 class. In a class of his own, Luke Edgar took the men’s 40+ in 1:35.