A photo recap of the first annual JLA Banked Slalom at Mammoth Mountain

Comments by Chris Owen/

Years ago I decided that racing is for kooks. I thought that I was all about freeriding and couldn’t be bothered with something that took so much time and serious training. Racers got up early and missed out on powder days. They’d spend hours in the gates and then head straight to the gym. For me, snowboarding just wasn’t something to take so seriously. Why is it then that races have become some of my favorite events in snowboarding? The Mount Baker Legendary Banked Slalom holds a special place in my heart and always will. The Rat Race at Mount Hood is a party I look forward to being at every summer and now the JLA Banked Slalom at Mammoth Mountain, CA will also be added to my list of must-attend races.

This past weekend was the first annual JLA Banked Slalom. The event was created to celebrate the memory of Jeffrey Lin Anderson who died 10 years ago to the day of the event. The old Mammoth Mountain crew (a crew of kids that included Jeff and his older brother Billy) showed up in numbers. Friends that Jeff made along the way in snowboarding were also there: Gigi Ruf, Danny Kass, Dustin Delguidice, Scott Blum, Eddie Wall, Pat Moore and Rob Kingwill. The day got off to a slow start due to 130 MPH wind gusts at the top of the course, but once the race got underway everything went smoothly. The Mammoth Mountain park and race crews made sure that everything got back on track, and they held one hell of a race.

I realized that snowboard races make it possible for a wide group of people to come together and compete on the same level – I like that. You won’t find a local weekend warrior or a 7th grade girl competing against Pat Moore on a big air jump or quarterpipe, but they can on a course like this. The JLA race was a nice coming together of people in a healthy and competitive atmosphere. Everyone had a blast and came away with a smile on their face, so maybe racing’s not so kooky after all.