Taking on the Gully

Enjoying the podium and growlers in 2016. File Photo.

Banked Slalom organizer anticipates a fiesty competition

One of the most inclusive races in British Columbia returns for its eighth year March. 9 and 10. The Bluebird Day Fund Banked Slalom welcomes boarders and skiers alike to take on the natural features of Sun Peaks’ Hully Gully.

This year’s event will see a switch from a wand timing system to a chip system which will allow competitors to pass by and be tracked. The new live timing system will display the top three times at the start gate on what Koach Thiessen, co-owner of Oronge Boardshop and event organizer, has dubbed the chirp board.

“Everybody is going to know what everybody’s time was at for the top three positions, so it’s going to be a little bit more feisty and jousty I think at the top start this year which is fun,” he said.

Anticipating a more challenging course this year due to the lower snow base, Thiessen recommended riders enter the event being confident on their equipment and not to overthink it.

“I’m kind of foreseeing this year’s course might be a little more challenging with a little less snow, there might be more actual natural features you have to contend with, which I think makes it more entertaining.”

The course, set in three sections, allows competitors to build their confidence by starting on cat built berms before turning into the Hully Gully in which you take on Marlie’s Wave, and the Autobahn before ending with the mogul field.

“The mogul field makes or breaks somebody’s run. It’s almost like if you can handle the two gates that you have in the mogul field cleanly you’re going to have a great time,” said Thiessen.  “It also has taken a lot of people from hero to zero.”

As one of his favourite events, Thiessen describes the banked slalom as more of a festival atmosphere with everyone involved wanting to make sure others are having fun. Competitors are capped at 125 to ensure everyone has enough time for their runs without feeling stressed or rushed on course.

“At the end of the day we award first, second, and third but I bet you if you asked anybody who got second or third last year they wouldn’t be able to tell you,” said Thiessen.

Junior racers aged nine to 18 take on the course Saturday, March 9 before the masters’ event set for the 10th. With limited spots open for the event competitors are asked to pre-register at Guest Services.