Banked slaloms are where it's at right now. From the grand daddy of them all, the LBS in Mt Baker, to the Dirksen Derby and the Sudden Rush, they are a welcome antidote to the high stakes game of gymnastics that slopestyle and big air have become; relaxed gatherings that speak to both the roots of the sport and the simple pleasure of turning on a snowboard.
Last week saw Tignes get in on the action, hosting an inaugural banked slalom event in support of Protect Our Winters. Taking place at the end of one of the most epic European winters in living memory, it was a chance for seasonaires, locals and special guests to get together for one last shred and celebrate spring in style.
"Banked slaloms are a welcome antidote to the high stakes game of gymnastics that slopestyle and big air have become"
Registration at the Box Bar was combined with an exhibition of artwork by Iuna Tinta (whose work regularly graces Roxy and Nitro boards) and photographs by resident snowboard coach and all-round lensman James Sweet.
The day itself saw attention shift to the legendary Palafour piste, where a course had been constructed down the gulley section in just 24 hours, thanks to the blood and toil of the TDC crew and assorted friends.
The competition was open to all ages and encompassed three main events: mens, women's and (most exciting for the purists) switch. The men's category was taken by Henry Clarke, whose youthful energy just pipped one of Tignes' most venerable elder statesmen, Will Hughes ("Huge William" would later have his revenge with victory in the switch event).
In the women's, three-times X Games gold medallist and Olympic bronze medal winner Jenny Jones (who, incidentally, did her first season in this very resort) cleaned up in both the regular and switch formats. Proceedings were rounded off with an open invite to all riders to form a mega train through the course.
All that remained was to pack down the gates and head to the Loop bar in Le Lac, where rider's chalet The Dragon Lodge were celebrating their 20th birthday. The Lodge's artist in (occasional) residence Schoph and his friends at Dalikfodda had helped organise the festivities, which duly involved a shit ton of Guinness, plenty of Jägermeister laybacks and the sweaty sounds of UK stoner rock outfit Steak.
Word on the street is that this new event is to become a fixture in the Tignes calendar, so expect it to return bigger and better in April 2019.