Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The 31st running of the Mt. Baker Banked Slalom

Man oh man did I have big plans for this years Banked Slalom.  I just turned 50 and for most people, they're bummed out with this age milestone.  Not me, I was stoked cause now I was the youngest dude in denial in the Grand Masters class that consists of 50-59 year old's.  Usually the younger the guy, the better the chance of finishing.  Usually...

A couple months ago I was thinking that this is the year all three of us get tape.  Milo won his class last year, but his time was good enough to get him second in the age category above.  And Mac, well he just plain hauls ass and I can blame myself for him not getting on the podium last year because I had him on the wrong equipment.

Griff was coming out, and so was Jake Jarvis.  Was is the key word.  He got himself so spun out of control with how much work he had writing orders for Powder Tools and Christy Sports that there was "NO WAY" he could get away for a 3 day adventure to Baker, with the entire industry that actually snowboards.  So last Tuesday he did the dreaded call to me and asked what he could do to make it up.  We chatted that Griff was coming out and it would be rad to surprise his ass with a spot in the very race he's entered the lottery to get in on for the last 6 or 7 years.  Jake wrote a compelling letter to Amy Howat and she did something that they really never do, gave Jake's spot to Griff.

WA was a shit show last week.  Mountain passes were shut down everywhere from Baker to White Pass.  Baker was shut down from Sunday before the race until the actual race day.  There were 20 or so employees that got stuck up at the pass that set the course, timing, shoveled the chairs, got the trails in check and readied the area in case it could open on Friday.  And it did.

Friday morning we drove up from Bellingham, seeing how there were 3 trees that crashed on top of our condo and the power was out, so they wouldn't let us check in.  We got to the area early, checked in, bro'd down and side slipped one of the smoothest runs I'd ever been on in the 9 years of doing the Slalom.  Hats off to you guys at Baker cause with all that Mother Nature handed you, you guys delivered a straight flush.

Milo's arch rival at the LBS was back this year.  Cody Warble has always beat Milo every time they race and he was back after two slaloms off.  He posted the fastest time on Friday with Milo in tow and both of them qualified.  Mac had a stacked class and was on the bubble of qualification but had to give it a go on Saturday to get in.  Griff and I had what any old man would call a pretty stacked Geritol class of dudes that still actually love to get after it as best that they can.  Luke from Traeger, Tex Davenport, Jay from World Boards, amongst others were in our field of 20.  Benny Pelligrino set me straight right before I took my run and said "Johan, I don't care how you finish, but what ever you do, beat Jay Moore." This of course was because a couple of years ago Jay won the class and his times were faster than the age class below, so naturally he was pretty stoked about it and let the younger dudes know that this old man still had it.  Ben's wish was granted both on Friday and Saturday as Jay took a slight back seat to my time. I was at the finish line for Griffs first pull thru the course.  He came across the line, layed down in exhaustion when the gate keeper came and told him his time was jacked and he had to do his run again.  "But I don't WANT to do another run" was his response.

Fridays shit show of weather turned into slightly nicer on Saturday.  My only responsibility was to make sure Mac's board was ready to roll so he qualified, and to announce the event for the first two age groups while Britt, who has announced the LBS for 16 years got to pre run the course.  Gwen gave me a skeptical look knowing some squirrelly shit could come out of my mouth.  

The rest of the day was spent spinning laps, riding chairs and shooting the shit with people you'll only get to do it with at the Banked Slalom.  On one of the chair rides up we were sitting with a dude that came over from Kauai to hang out with his "homies."  After chatting with him for a bit, he said he started and was selling these knee gaskets called Mrs. G's.  His name was Steve Graham and I almost fell off the chair.

Sunday was fun day and all three of the Malkoski's made the main event, as well as our French Friend Matteo, Mac's whole crew of dude made it and our friends the Cline's boys were in.  Griff didn't make it on paper but that was fine, the fact that he got three full pulls, didn't puke, finished with a respectable time and earned a LBS goodie bag of his own was a win for the kid.

Milo had the fastest time for his class on the first run, Mac had the second in his class.  After their second runs they both felt good.  I was feeling like I needed an excuse in case I didn't podium so when and old buddy asked me to hike the arm before the finals, I thought this horrible idea sounds great.

In the end Milo got second, Mac finished forth, Wyatt realized his destiny and won, and Jay Moore beat me in both runs on finals day.  Not at all how I had it planned out in my head but sitting at work three days after it's all over I have nothing but a winning smile on my face as the real charm of the LBS isn't the trophys, race, weather, or special wax you have on your board, its the people.

Enjoy the photoes from the weekend:

Gnar and Kashnala eyeballing lines, or shred babes?
 Benny has got some of the smoothest style of the track and on. 
 This is a photo of the 4th hottest chick in snowboarding.  So hot. 
 Soccer moms, sandwiched by legends. 
 Gnar pinning it thru one of the fastest turns.
 Owen Cline
 Pat Bridges listening in on what Lisa is telling Milo to do on the course so he can go and tell Cody Warble what to do. 
 This was a highlight of mine from the event.  Pat Bridges, arguably knows more of the kids at the LBS than anyone and stood at the top of the start line yelling at all of them with a little bit of pride.. 
Three Gold duct tape winners, Finn Finestone, Wyatt Cline and Juliette Pelchat.

 Wy Wy
 Mi Mi
 Mr. Logic got a well deserved pat in the ass from Jeff Galbreith as the recipient of the Craig Kelly award for cultivating snowboarding in the North West for 25 years.  Congrats buddy, you deserved it. 
 "Wait, what I gotta go?  Shit, let me get some tunes going Amy." 
 Griff captured one of my only turns that I didn't scrub speed on.
 Benny 50/50ing the berm.
 4-7=3 and that's how many runs Griff got down the coarse.  Three. 
 Grand Masters waiting for times at the finish line.

 Steve Graham, Luke and Jay Moore.  Full fan mode.
 Right before the finals, we hiked so I could have an excuse for not winning, but after meeting up with OX at the top and taking his line down, I won. 
 When 3 time Olympian and X-Games champ Daron Rahlves sends you wax and instructions, you listen and follow them to a T.  Thanks Wend Wax and Mr. Rahlves. 
 A 54 year old man pretending that his 30 year old wife "wanted" a picture with Travis Rice when actually the 54 year old man wanted the picture of Travis with his wife.  Nice work all weekend Rick Kadar, you exude a stoke and smile second to none. 
 How's THAT banner placement?
Crazy ass Julie Smith from Canada and Kim Cline from the Diabetes Den. 
Friday was blue bird and calm, right Jason Cline?
See you next year Baker.  Thank you for all the smiles. 

Monday, January 02, 2017

Christmas Break 2016

The kids Christmas Break was December 17 - January 1, 2017 and right after school ended we packed the cars and went up to our cabin Skykomish, WA to spend two weeks on the hill.  I missed last years December to remember but I heard this one was better.  It seemed like it snowed every other day of this vacation.  No park days, maybe a park run or a park pow, but it was all around the worlds for our daily go too's.  Good times were had with the Clines, Von Marbod, A-Man, Burchs, Fragar, Schaefer, Billy, Waino, McQueens, Coles, Klothes, Sweetin, Brackens and Willis as well as all the new friends made along the way. 

Friday, December 30, 2016


I remember this dude from when I raced BMX in the 80's.  This is a cool story about something shitty and leaves you with the thought that your stupid obsessions keep you grounded even when the rest of your life is a mess.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Clueless in Call Me Rad Bro

Sorry but I got to vent after I saw this weed induced post.  How can someone with no experience, sales or clue on how to run a proper snowboard business give the INDUSTRY a much deserved enema?  SIA is a industry owned organization genius.  We, the industry own it.  If you don’t like whats going on with it, get involved.  
Don’t sit there behind a keyboard calling out dudes like @karl175er (Kyle Kennedy), who have more heart, soul and experience in the business than you could ever hope to amass.   Alongside him is Colin Edwards.  You wouldn't know Colin because he previously worked at the largest online snow sports retailer in the world.  I get it, your too cool to actually want to sell your super core shit that you make in Asia because you couldn't figure out how to do it yourselves in Summit County.  All that partying at that super suck-sessful retail establishment you ran out of business must of cut into your development and production time eh?  Anyway, Colin has quite a grip on things and is in there to help with the change going on with in the SIA.  Then there's Nick Sargent.  He came from the Number One snowboard brand ever.  Yes, that one from Vermont.  He worked there for 15 or so years running the largest money making department that didn't sell a product.  These three are steering this ship into the future of SIA. 
Yea the trade show isn’t perfect, but it's convenient.  You know what happens under that roof?   Business.  Maybe that's why you need to “create” your own trade show so you can hang out drinking beers and smoking weed with your like minded bro’s while people that actually build snowboarding products and sell them conduct whats called BUSINESS.  Take that hi5 to the bank from your boi's at the end of the week and good luck cashing it to pay your mortgage.
Pretend to be like you?  Who the fuck are you?  NO ONE, I mean NO ONE ever heard of you until YOU created this trade show which is just a publicity ploy from Nightmare, and not a bad one at that.  Congrats, you’ve done one thing right.  
And before you roll out some "comeback" of what an old balls, never was I am and how I suck at snowboarding, your right I do.  But I smile knowing that my 16 year old kid would put on an absolute clinic to your entire cool guy team and show them what your supposed to do on a snowboard that is built to today's standards.
I suggest you apologize like a man, stop being a whiny pussy, figure out how to get some sales, and then take that bottled up energy and lets work together to build a better industry.
And to all the other brands joining in on this sinking parts with no labor ship, remember one thing, when you hang out with shit, you smell like shit.  
#clueless #youarethefutureofoutofbusiness #hellounemployementline #dontsharethisbecausethesekooksneednomorefreepublicityfromthebacksofrealbusiness

Monday, November 28, 2016


Yesterday for Thanksgiving, Milo and I  (Mac was sick, Lisa was cooking) grabbed the split boards and headed up to Stevens Pass for our inaugural rip up the mountain.  Now we've been splitting for the last 6 years but only a couple of times a year.  We split board, but we're not split boarders.  Usually we do it like we did yesterday, pre-season or when the season ends and there's' still a shitload of snow on the hill.  We're what you'd call season extenders in the split board world.  Definitely not the Deeper, Further, and Even Further type of dudes.  We prefer chairlifts, cats, choppers and car shuttles to self powered masochism.

So off we go, trudging thru pow, walking up a fucking hill with not enough snow to open the lifts.  Too many clothes on, sweating our balls off, thirsty, panting, trying to find a rhythm and a track that's already put in while tricking myself into thinking this is actually fun.  It was fun though, cause Milo and I were totally engaged talking about school, sports, chicks, college, shredding, and this is what kept my legs rolling.  We saw people along the way, dudes in proper set ups blowing by us, but we kept at it.

As Milo pulled away from me, I had time to think to myself and think I did.  The East Coast complaining went away and the West Coast everything's awesome came into play and I started to think how rad it was that I was climbing Stevens Pass with my son today.  I got to reflect on how thankful I was for this misery that I'm lucky to be apart of.

Last year at this time my Doctors told me that if I even came to the cabin that I could die.  Straight up.  "If you get any sort of virus, cold or cut, your immune system is so fragile that the distance you are from this hospital (61 miles) your body will go septic and by the time you come in here, it will be too late."  That's the shit our doctors told us.

My cadence kicked in and I was motivated not just to get to the top for the ride down, but pushed by all the people that I'm thankful for.  I've said it before and I'll keep saying it, that it takes a village to raise an idiot with cancer, and I'm living proof of it.

So with this post, I want to give thanks, thanks to the people that gave me the opportunity to be writing this post today:

First and foremost my Family - Lisa, Milo, Mac, Rocky, Clay and Leslie Macomber.

Seattle Caner Care / University of Washington - Dr. Becker, Sonny, Dr. Dan Egan, PA Peter Johnston, PA Kevin, Justin Shepard, Megan, Pilar, Sue, Lindsey, Molly, Erica, Lisa, Debra, Debby, Oliva, Emily, Nate, Natalie, Andrea, Jenn, Larissa, Mercedes, Toni, Cindy, Natalie, & Dr. Storb.

Hospital and Home Visitors: Greg and Julie, Pk, Gumby, Kasey and TJ Gundram, Bob, Ann and Dom Kelly, Gorio Bustamante, Roland Morgan, John, Frank & Aurora Logic, Ballard Pat & Laura McQueen, Riley Goodwin, Thomas Nash,  Sam & Jack Coleman,  Jess Placek,  Kyle Kennedy,  Dan Stanalonis, Kris Sweez,  Adam Gerkin,  Ry-Ry McLaughlin, Steve Kerr, Frank Martin, Steph V, Matt Sirotzki,  Bob and Sue Tontini, Cheryl and Nick Larson, Eddie Spaghetti, Jack Donovan, Beatrice, Lil Stevie and Emily Macomber.

Meal Providers: Michelle & Chuck Cole, Sam & Katy Coleman, Michelle and Stephanie Worely Fannel, Cynthia Coleman, Josh and Krista Burch, Jim Bob Hume, Pat and Jen Reinholt, Brian Bybee, Tristi and Matt Sirtozki, Greg and Julie Tontini, Lisa Glover, Cindy Wolfe, Sue and Dennis Nicholson, Scott and Cheryl Bracken, Martin and Alie Wolfson, Johanna, Sarah and Adam Bradley, Lynette, Blaine and Julie, Natasha Soultrain, Bruce & Kirsten Bannister, Cindy Lykins, Cheryl Ann, April & Kimo Cole, Cheryl Larson and Jean MacBarron.

People that kept Milo and Mac cancer free:  Kim, Jason, Wyatt and Owen Cline,  The Kellys, Carman Klothe, Skyer Klothe, Riley Goodwin, Mark Dangler, Myles Soderstrom, Matt Wainhouse, The Soultrains, Josh Dirkson, Ari Strickland, Brian Schaeffer, Suzanne Bridges, Stevens Pass, Kelly Carter and Chris Danforth.

Skype / FaceTime / Phone and Texters: Mike Rosen, Bruce & Cynthia, Mom and Dad, Emmet, Graves, Lizzy G, Griff, Evan Walker, Sweaty, Wilmoth, Krauth, Ed Munroe, Sparky, Dan Sullivan, Rob McCutchan, Kevin Addy, Matt Patti, Sarah Hudkins, Rahlves, Tony and Gab, Fletcher, Natalie Murphy, Chirs Dixson, Sister Giovanni, Jay Good, Jeff Baughn, Martino Fumagalli, Hor Hey Kleckner and Manny, Andy Hetzel, Benny Pelligrino, Inventor of Snowboarding, Doug Macomber, Becky and Steve Macomber, George Johnston, Justin Afflenux, Maxx Von Marbod, Dustin Craven, Brandon Cocard, Jj Catlett, Scott Stevens, Dan Brisse, Jess Kimura, Phil Jacques, Martino-Claudia-Julietta Fumagalli, Adolph Koleman, Griff, Tay Tay,  Steve and Debby, YourMom206 and many many more.

Yes I know I've left some people out, there's a thing called Chemo Brain, and I certainly have a little of that normally, but then add all that dope and I get dopier.   I'm sorry as I'm thankful for everyone that helped along the way.

To all of you that came, cooked, cleaned and called, thanks, thanks for giving me THIS Thanksgiving.