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Ricker takes Mt. Baker Banked Slalom, again



The Mt. Baker Legendary Banked slalom is one of the few events that lives up to its name, drawing all the top names in snowboarding to the resort to race on a course that's laid out over a natural halfpipe. The course has tight turns, steep banked corners that border on vertical near the top, rollover sections where you ride out of the pipe and over knolls and other features, and a machine-built section at the bottom that pushes riders to the limit.

Local snowboardcross champion Maëlle Ricker has now won the pro women's title at the even for seven consecutive years, this time with a gap of almost three seconds over the next competitor. Although she had the title sewn up after her first trip down the course, she actually knocked seven-tenths of a second of her time in her second trip down the course.

Laura Hadar of Colorado placed second while Vancouver pro Dominique Vallée picked up the bronze. Whistler's Leanna Pelosi, better known for grinding rails in the park than racing gates, placed fifth.

On the pro men's side, Americans Seth Wescott, Graham Watanabe and Jason Robinson were first through third, while Squamish's Rob Fagan just missed the podium by a fraction of a second to place fourth. Tom Velisek was 18th, Wes Makepeace 22nd and Chris Rasman 27th.

In the Pro Masters race, Whistler's Kevin Sansalone placed ninth. Megan Pischke of Squamish was fifth in the Pro Women Masters category.

In the "Next Generation" category for kids 11 and under, Whistler's Finn Finestone, 9, placed second overall, less than half a second back of a rider two years older. Jadyn Chomlack, 10, was fifth.

A few other locals made it down for the 28th running of the event. Pemberton's Tommy Hartl was 17th in the Older Amateurs category, Caley Vanular of Whistler was eighth in Women Amateurs.

Complete results are at

Following the race, Ricker and teammates headed back to Vancouver to catch flights to Russia for Olympic test events.

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