Wave Rave L.A. x Mt. Baldy Banked Slalom Recap

Words and photos by Todd Robertson. 
 
 
Not since the carefree days before Covid had Mt. Baldy hosted a banked slalom, but thanks to an incredible snowpack and some fresh enthusiasm brought by Wave Rave Los Angeles, the time was finally right to relaunch the event.  It took several weeks of back and forth between WRLA GM Alex Carlson and Mt. Baldy co-owner/GM Robby Ellingson to finalize what this year’s slalom would look like and when it finally did– things needed to happen quickly.  Alex spearheaded the involvement of as many of the industry’s finest brands in just a few short weeks’ time. The Mt. Baldy staff handled the operations side of the event getting an impressive course outlined and partially built on Robin’s Run just five days before the slalom would take place.  Then it was all hands on deck to get the banks shaped, sidewalks and gutters carved out, and the rest of the finishing touches done from raking to salting and finalizing flag placement.  Crews from LA, Laguna, and Mammoth camped out in the parking lot and joined Baldy staff, both past and present, to tirelessly prepare a course that would live up to Baldy’s rugged reputation.  
The Wave Rave LA crew.
 
Zeia Rose


On Saturday April 22, 2023, over 125 competitors made their way up the steep and winding road to Mt. Baldy under perfect bluebird conditions.  After a serene 18-minute ride up Chair 1, the riders got their first looks at the venue.  From below, it appeared like any other slalom course but as contestants went up Chair 3 the narrow gutters, tight uphill banks, and a massive turn one feature came into view.  A delayed start benefitted riders from having to face the crispy morning snow conditions and once things began to soften under the warm sun it was finally time to send.  With no chance to slip or practice the course, competitors had to learn its nuances by racing on it, which undoubtedly benefited the more seasoned racers. Arthur Longo and Zeia Rose were each putting on a clinic in the Open divisions while Eamon Rubira and Domonique Checkwood topped out the Master’s 35+ divisions.  Reef Applebaum just edged out River Biolos to claim top spot in the Grom Boys division in the closest matchup of the day.  For those that weren’t so proficient, turn three became ‘carnage corner’ with several riders ejecting over the berm and into nearby bushes sending the crowd at the top of the course into a cheer-filled frenzy.  The thirty-two DNF’s/DQ’s throughout the day were a testament to the course’s challenges, but those riders lucky or skilled enough to stay on their feet for both runs were rewarded with a combined time that would put them in the running to podium. 
 
Quite the group.

 

The awards celebration at the Notch that afternoon was filled with smiles, laughter, and numerous tales of survival.  The top three finishers from each division received incredible prize packages courtesy of the generous sponsors and additional giveaways were made to the key people whose hard work made the event happen.  A free raffle rained down even more product for the rest of the attendees and all-in-all, the eclectic line up of Baldy locals, industry heads, and passionate SoCal shredders made for an incredibly fun grassroots event with a strong snowboarding community feel– one that absolutely needs to happen again next year.
 
Results:
Grom
1. Reef Applebaum
2. River Biolos
3. Waylon Martin
Women’s Masters 35+
1. Domonique Checkwood
 
Men’s Masters 35+ (photo above)
1. Eamon Rubira
2. David Nook
3. John Scobie
Women’s Open
1. Zeia Rose
2. Ashley Strauss
3. Kaelin Cassidy
Men’s Open
1. Arthur Longo
2. Anthony Piazza
3. Jared Welch

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