The fifth edition of the SuddenRush Banked Slalom held in Laax, Switzerland on March 7-10th, brought together a definitive mix of pro riders, legends, and snowboard fans alike. Over 400 riders, ranging in age from 4 to 56, came out for the big event.
The fifth edition in LAAX has once again shown that this is more than just a race. It’s all about seeing friends and meeting up with the whole snowboarding family.
Xavier De Le Rue, former Freeride World Champion, came to SuddenRush for the first time. He said “I think my biggest satisfaction of the weekend is to see the snowboarding vibe so alive here in Laax. This event is so refreshing, it’s just heartwarming and I wanna come back and do more events like this.”
The 400-metre course beneath the Crap Sogn Gion, featured 21 banked turns, and took center stage over three days. Numerous people spent weeks shoveling snow to get the course in shape, including event hosts; Terje Haakonsen and Nicolas Müller, co-organizer Chris Bachmann, and pro rider, Nick Geisen.
“The snow was better than ever, it was perfect,” said Virgilio Crivelli, who’s ridden in the event many years. “The banks were just the right height. The course was built for all classes, so it’s the same for everyone, for masters, open riders, kids and professionals. That’s important. It ensures everyone had fun and will come back,” he continued.
The Pro class and Masters (40+), Grand Masters (45-49) and Super Masters (50+) were the first to take on the course on Friday. Host Terje Haakonsen showed his class once again and emerged triumphant in the Pro category.
In the women’s event, Chloe Sillieres, former LAAX Open participant, secured first place on the podium: “I used to compete in Slopestyle competitions, but now I only take part in Banked Slaloms. I love the atmosphere, everybody just wants to ride and have fun. Here in Laax, especially, everything is very familiar. It’s just a cool resort.” Also worth mentioning is the Super Masters class (50+), which is like a ‘Who’s Who’ of snowboarding legends and pioneers from the past. Peter Bauer, who dominated the alpine snowboarding scene in the 1980s, came out on top here yet again. The Open category followed on Saturday. Laax local Tiziana Casutt won the women’s category, while David Birri was victorious in the men’s.
On Sunday, almost 80 kids and teenagers raced. The Fakie Race was also held on Sunday, and Terje once again showed that he is the master, and took his second win for the weekend.
Respect the Nature – the focus on sustainability is a mission from both SuddenRush and LAAX. The Laax Greenstyle Initiative was clear for all to see all weekend. Recycled bib numbers from old banners from previous events as well as living trophies in the shape of the Swiss stone pine tree, which is native to Laax, were just two examples of being green.
The course was also completely shaped by hand without the use of any machinery. Part of the entry fee goes to the Greenstyle Foundation and to the Atlantic Rainforest Organisation, which Chris Bachmann, the man behind SuddenRush and co-organiser of the Banked Slalom, helped to establish. Worn Wear Repair Tour from Patagonia was also on hand in Laax, repairing outdoor clothing of any brand free of charge.
This was SuddenRush Banked Slalom LAAX 2019 – a tribute to the origins of snowboarding!