MT. BAKER SKI AREA - There isn't much two-time boardercross Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott hasn't accomplished during his illustrious snowboarding career.
The 36-year-old from Carrabassett, Maine, has compiled seven X Games medals, five world titles and two Guinness world records to go along with his 2006 Olympic title won in Torino, Italy, and 2010 Olympic title in Vancouver, B.C.
But there's one win that's always eluded Wescott.
Since his first Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom in 1995, he's never been able to hoist the slalom's top prize - the coveted golden duct-tape trophy.
"It's always been a dream since I was a little kid to win this event," Wescott said.
His dream became reality Sunday, Feb. 10, during the 28th running of Mt. Baker's famed banked slalom race on a picturesque sunny day atop the mountain, while women's pro Maelle Ricker won her seventh straight slalom title.
Wescott placed second in both 2003 and 2004, but his blazing-fast 1 minute, 33.221 second-run finally earned him the elusive slalom title he's been chasing on and off for nearly two decades.
Graham Watanabe placed second in the pro men's race with a time of 1:33.801, Jason Robinson took third with a 1:34.045 run and local favorite Lucas DeBari, of Glacier, finished 11th with a 1:36.206 run.
Wescott topped a 45-man field jam packed with some of the best snowboarding pros the world has to offer, and he only needed one run.
"I was psyched," said Wescott after seeing a 1:33 time posted above Mt. Baker's finish-line shack after his first time down the course. "I had a huge mistake on that first (run), but I also felt like I was being more aggressive, so I don't know if that second (run) was any different, even though it was a clean run."
His first run was title worthy, sloppy or not.
The result is a welcomed one in the midst of Westcott's up-and-down 2012-13 season.
He won a world cup title in Telluride, Colo., last December, but he hasn't fared as well in other competitions.
"I tore something in my abs 10 days before the world championships a couple weeks ago, so I spent the whole week and half before worlds on my coach, so it was tough to go there and feel fresh," Wescott said.
Before he learned of his first-place finish, he said winning a golden duct tape would be a consolation to being immortalized in banked slalom lore.
"It's (about) becoming a part of the legacy of the event," he said. "From Tom Sims winning the first year, to Craig Kelly winning all those years, to when Terje (Haakonsen) has been so dominant, it's just cool to be able to get out and ride with them in an event. To be on that honor roll or whatever would be awesome."
Ricker, who, like Wescott, won an Olympic gold medal in boardercross during the 2010 Winter Olympics, has had her name on the banked slalom honor role since 2007, when she first started her string of Mt. Baker dominance.
The 34-year-old Olympic champion from Squamish, B.C., beat the women's field by nearly 3 seconds with a 1:37.065 run. Laura Hadar took second in 1:40.000 and Dominique Vallee placed third with a 1:43.508 run.
"I just try to have a smooth run, get into a rhythm and keep it all the way down the course," Ricker said. "Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I was pretty loosey-goosey, but I didn't go down. It was fun."
Ricker, Wescott and the rest of the 175 competitors Sunday benefitted from tremendous conditions.
After a foggy Saturday of qualifying, the sun was beaming down on Baker.
"This is the nicest I have ever seen it," said 31-year-old Bend, Ore., native Jack Price, who won the masters division with a ride in 1:35.167. "It's rare that you can even see the course. It's usually a blizzard out there, so to see it sunny and glorious, you can't go wrong. It's amazing."
Price kept the masters title in Bend after his friend Adam Hayes, also from Bend, won masters in 2012.
Ten other banked slalom titles were handed out Sunday.
Anthony Martinez of Salt Lake City, Utah won mid masters with a 1:39.299 run in his first year competing in the event.
"It's a big deal to me, just to be able to have a chance to come back," said Martinez of possibly winning and earning an automatic invite to the 2014 slalom.
Marni Yamada of Seattle won pro women masters in 1:40.269. It was a pleasant victory after being out of snowboarding for several years, she said.
"I've taken some time off," Yamada said. "I just had a baby and haven't been able to ride as much, so I'm coming back in a different category this year. I have gotten a few duct tapes, but I have never gotten a gold."
Luke Edgar placed first in grand masters in 1:44.240 after taking a 14-year hiatus from the competition, Tanya Simonson's 1:45.557 in women's masters provided her with her fourth straight slalom win, and Marcel Dolak posted a 1:36.678 to win his first pro masters title, though he's won masters' titles in 2008 and '09. Isabella Gomez recorded a 1:52.452 to win the next generation category. Glacier's Hank Kennedy posted a 1:46.428 to win the juniors category. Jennica Lowell won the women amateurs category in 1:49.510. Keith Dixon won younger amateurs with a 1:44.510, and Robin Foster put together a 1:38.959 run to win older amateurs.
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-756-2862.
28TH ANNUAL MT. BAKER LEGENDARY BANKED SLALOM
Top three finishers
Mid Masters (ages 40-49): Anthony Martinez 1:39.299, Mike Cummins 1:39.701, Erick Vines 1:39.914. Masters (ages 30-39): Jake Price 1:35.167, Jonathan Martens 1:35.523, Scott Reynolds 1:36.410. Grand Masters (age 50 and over): Luke Edgar 1:44.240, Randy Haugen 1:51.265, Mike Cotes 1:59.232. Women Masters (ages 30-49): Tanya Simonson 1:45.557, Jacqui Berg 1:47.617, Sarah Taylor 1:48.830). Pro Women Masters (age 32 and over): Marni Yamada 1:40.269, Marguerite Cossettini 1:45.204, Barrett Christy Cummins 1:45.331. Pro Men Masters: Marcel Dolak 1:36.678, Peter Bauer 1:37.690, Billy Anderson 1:38.628. Pro Women: Maelle Ricker 1:37.065, Laura Hadar 1:40.000, Dominique Vallee 1:43.508. Pro Men: Seth Wescott 1:33.221, Graham Watanabe 1:33.801, Jason Robinson 1:34.045. Next Generation (age 11 and under): Isabella Gomez 1:52.081, Keala Cole 1:52.452, Finn Finestone 1:53.811. Juniors ages (12-15): Hank Kennedy 1:46.428, Milo Malkoski 1:47.414, Jonas Harris 1:48.591. Women Amateurs (ages 15-29: Jennica Lowell 1:49.510, Karla Charlton 1:50.198, Sydney Bannerman 1:51.812. Younger Amateurs (ages 16-19): Keith Dixon 1:44.510, Jackson Scanlan 1:46.078, Odin Barnett 1:46.226 . Older Amateurs (ages 20-29): Robin Foster 1:38.959, Spencer Cordovano 1:39.753, Jack Freysinger 1:40.028
Reach ANDREW LANG at email@example.com or call ext. 862.