All photos: Sam Oetiker
The fourth edition of Nicolas Müller and Terje Haakonsen’s Sudden Rush Banked Slalom went down once again in Laax last weekend, and with a new course location and better weather than in previous years it was the best one to date.
Now in its fourth year, the Sudden Rush Banked Slalom in Laax, organised by Nicolas Müller and Terje Haakonsen, has gone from strength to strength and the 2018 edition was comprehensively their most successful. Firstly, the start list was insane – alongside legends from snowboarding like Bryan Iguchi, Max Plotzeneder, Peter Bauer, Michi Albin and Fabian Rohrer there was a great turnout of pro riders, such as Christian Haller, Max Buri, Markus Keller, Elias Elhardt and many more. There was also a heavy squad of female racers charging hard and, most stokingly, a great turnout of kids who frickin’ RIP. And, thankfully, unlike previous years, Mother Nature was in one of her better moods.
A banked slalom is an alternative kind of contest to the hyper-spinning mega-flipping that tends to occupy the media airwaves. But having attended both varieties of snowboard competition, I can confirm that while both certainly have their merits, there’s something particularly awesome about the no-bullshit spectacle of riders pushing their limits to post the fastest time. And seeing riders who no longer mess with the former clearly having lost none of their competitive instincts.
“There’s something particularly awesome about the no-bullshit spectacle of riders pushing their limits to post the fastest time”
A banked slalom arguably shows the best rider – rather than jumper – of a snowboard more clearly than anything else. Though there is rarely any air time and certainly no quad-corking or rainbow-flat-downs, I defy anyone to stand on a berm and watch guys like Müller, Terje, Elias or Hitsch blast past at Mach 11, fractions of a percent away from losing control yet managing to hold on and power off into the next berm, and not be impressed.