[All photos: Tim Zimmerman]
On the 5th of April, the 2015 edition of the now classic "Banked Slalom by Lib Tech" drew a fair amount of happy amateur and pro riders in Les Crosets! The race took place on Sunday instead of Saturday due to bad weather conditions.
The Superpark team and the Freeride Company joined their effort in creating and shaping a challenging, technically demanding race track. The result was intimidating for more than a few riders and some even pulled out. The cowboy and wild west lifestyle was celebrated as always, with the addition this year of a saloon door as a starting gate.
The race track itself not only featured the usual banked turns, but also a rhythm section and several jumps. Adding snowpark-inspired features to banked slalom tracks seems to be a lasting trend, and as far as the show is concerned this is good news! The slalom started at the top of the Superpark with shaped obstacles and banked turns, then continued into a steep and narrow chute that connected to a massive natural winding canyon. At this stage, your legs were burning like hell and yet you still had a dozen gates to go before the final jump and the finish line! Hard work, but thankfully there was a bar right in the finish area (+ one at the top, by the way).
Results. So if you've been riding for more than 15 years now, the name Nicole Angelrath must ring a bell. The Swiss champion was collecting medals on the snowboard tour back in the 90s and won several world titles. To this day, her talent and charm are still intact and she won the race for the second time with a comfortable lead on the other contestants of the "Calamity Jane" category.
In the master category, aka "John Wayne", it was pretty obvious to everyone that Fredi Kalbermatten (style master) and Sammy Luebke (2nd on the Freeride World Tour) would be some serious contenders for the title. And indeed, the two Lib Tech riders took first and second place, while the steezy Maxime Jaccoud landed in third place.
Local boy and all-around awesome dude Daniel Premand, the reigning champion, was the man to beat if you wanted to win in the "Django" category (men). Being one of the first to drop in, he flew through the course in a smoking time of 1:08:89, pretty much sealing the deal right there. He took first place in his category and on the overall ranking, giving him the privilege to hold the best trophy in snowboarding for the second year in a row. Planachaux ambassador Alex "Chanmé" Rochat got second and Antoine Steimer third.
With a steadily increasing number of participants (over 120 this year), there is no question that the snowboard community wants more laid-back and fun events such as this one. Make sure to make your way to Champéry - Les Crosets next year for the 5th edition of the Banked Slalom by Lib Tech - you know you want to!