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 dirtbag 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 have been doing this for years and another couple that started snowboarding in December and figured it would be a great way to round out their season.
I remember like it was yesterday waiting for my first run, I was terrified! I am not good a competing, I compete against myself and I apparently have high standards. I did not think I was good enough to be there and was sure I was going to either fall flat on my face or come last. Then I dropped in and the world shifted, it was not about the competition anymore it was just me and the course and it was a blast. I finished my run and all sense of competition left me I had had such a great time and couldn’t wait to do it again! Standing at the finish cheering on the others as they came down, congratulating each other on just staying alive and getting to the bottom. That is what snowboarding is about – family!
The race is unique in its layout and that is what makes it worth coming out for! The comp runs over two days and is as much about the party on Saturday night as it is about the riding. You get one inspection and two runs. One on Saturday and one on Sunday, Sunday is just straight up no inspection just hit it. The best time over both days wins. To ensure that all participate, it is all a mystery as to where you stand until the banquet on Saturday, you know where you are on Sunday morning but until prize giving you don’t know if you are on the podium. The course is super fun, and it’s just like Eminem says ‘you got one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes but once….’
So we got the times and I was in second, I couldn’t believe it!! For the first time since my swimming career back in high school I was on the podium with a big bag full of goodies and a trophy that I cherish!
That was the first year, we went back the following year and I fell on my Sunday run, I was bummed, I just wasn’t focused. I still got third that year but I was really after 1st, now I had been on the podium I wanted to be on the top, I’ve not spent a lot of time there and just once I wanted to win! Last year we were out with injury so this year was my opportunity. And I did it!! First place and now I have to bump up into the pro category to race against the likes of Maelle Ricker. Plus next year it is a stop on the Banked Slalom World Cup circuit so I don’t have a chanceJ. I’m stoked as now I can just run the course and love the experience. No expectations of winning just loving the experience, loving the course and supporting the community of snowboarding that I am a part of! However, I don’t think it matters how many times I compete I will still stand at the top and ask myself what am I doing here and stand at the bottom wondering where else I would be!
For more Betty photos visit our gallery and to see our videos check it out here. As for the results from the weekend check them out on BC Snowboard.com. Plus to see the official photos from the event check it out on Facebook here.
It is a super fun weekend, a great group of people and a fun time! It is not about how good you are, where you place or how you ride it is about how much fun you have! The prizes are also worth mentioning with a $10,000 purse for pro, 1st place gets a snowboard and 2nd and 3rd get a sick booty! Plus the door prizes include snowboards, packs, jackets, hoodies, gloves….. So I encourage you young and old – seasoned or newbies to join us next year at the Neil Edgeworth 16th Memorial banked slalom – you will have fun.
Big Thank you to Flynn Seddon, Cathy Astofooroff, BC Snowboard Association, Big White Ski Resort & Terrain Park Crew, Outdoor Events and everyone else that made this a great weekend!
Maelle Ricker and Rob Fagen - Canada's Fastest Snowboarders winning the Cup!!!